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Bubba Watson reflects on West Virginia flooding and recovery

The 2017 Greenbrier Classic begins Thursday


WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, WV. – One year after a devastating flood caused the cancelation of the PGA tour stop at the Greenbrier, and cost 23 lives, hundreds of homes, and millions of dollars in damages, the group "Neighbors Loving Neighbors" had its charity work honored.

The many hardworking individuals from the organizers to the first responders, to the aid workers were recognized after their efforts to recover from the West Virginia flood of June 23, 2016.  

They have all been crucial in helping the state of West Virginia -- and Greenbrier County in particular -- rebound from the flood. The work continues, which was highlighted when the PGA Wives Association and Wendy's both awarded more checks to the charity so that the recovery can continue.  

Broadcaster Jim Nance was the emcee at the Greenbrier Resort's Colonial Room.

"There's this confluence, of a great sporting event merging with a wonderful story. A great event and a great story coming together. That story this week, no matter the winner, is going to be--a dynamic great moment," says CBS golf announcer Jim Nance.

Two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson stands as an ambassador for the Greenbrier. The PGA star owns a house and 11 acres in the Allegheny Mountains as part of the resort's sporting club of the Greenbrier.

Watson was at the Greenbrier the night of the flood, when 11 inches of rain fell in just 5.5 hours and the devastation that followed. But through great loss of lives and property Watson was there to help spearhead relief efforts, including a $250,000 donation.  

The generous donation started a stream of money coming from the tour and its players, which eventually eclipsed $4 million.

While Watson continued to play on the tour last summer, his wife, Angie, and their 4-year-old son helped in the relief efforts. The action was all part of Watson's family, becoming a permanent part of the West Virginia community.

"There are so many things our family does here and we love it so much. How could you not help? How could you not be a part of this? I shed many, many a tear in my life, and not as much as I have for West Virginia and White Sulphur Springs and Jim Justice and Habibi and all the people that helped out, all the communities that came together, all the volunteers that came together.  What an inspirational story for me and my family." says Bubba Watson.

"You know sometimes in the midst of tragedy, in the midst of bad things, that's what pulls it out of us the most, that good spirit and we a definitely witnessed it tremendously through the few weeks we were here helping and volunteering," says Angie Watson.

It was also Greenbrier Classic youth day on Tuesday. The First Tee of the Roanoke Valley and the First Tee of West Virginia were beneficiaries with a luncheon and also junior clinic.  

They also hosted a First Tee scramble three hole charity match later Tuesday afternoon. The annual pro-am is scheduled for Wednesday and the 2017 Greenbrier Classic begins Thursday on the Old White TPC course.