From the Rough

Golf without discretion

Bethpage Black a PGA Tour stop? It’s a possibility

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Bethpage Black isn’t the type of course you’d expect to see on the PGA Tour schedule. First off, the course is public, which makes it a completely different from most every tour stop. Secondly, the course is used to hosting one type of tournament, and that’s major championships.

Whether it’s the Metropolitan Golf Association or the USGA, the course just seems to be bred for a grueling test of golf. Once again, that’s not the kind of course that you tend to see on the PGA Tour; most of the courses tend to ease off the gas pedal a bit in an effort to produce lower scores and bring some general excitement to the four days of golf. For some reason, tournament directors think fans don’t enjoy watching pros suffer.

After years of being a beast, could Bethpage Black, the course that has a warning sign before golfers tee off, lose its teeth for the PGA Tour? Possibly, after the AP reported that the Barclays is courting Bethpage for its 2012 tournament.

They are also hoping Bethpage would be interested in a rotation that would include Plainfield and Ridgewood, two historic courses that seem to fit perfectly with the kind of tracks you expect to see in that area of the country. Bethpage would certainly be a different change of pace from the other two, that’s for sure.

But would Bethpage even be interested in a PGA Tour event? After the 2009 U.S. Open, the course immediately went back and started inquiring to the USGA about hosting a future U.S. Open. The only problem was the USGA wasn’t excited about the idea — especially after the way the 2009 Open went. Considered by some to be one of the soggiest Open’s in recent time, the tournament went until Monday and was a logistical nightmare the entire week.

With almost every future U.S. Open site secured through 2019 — 2018 is still out there — it would appear there’s very little chance the course will see or hear from the USGA in the next decade. That leaves them two options — assuming the course wants to host a professional event: PGA Tour and PGA Championship.

The good news for Bethpage is that hosting another major isn’t out of the question. How’s this for perfect timing? Assuming the course hosts the Barclays in August, that would give Bethpage the chance to showcase the course with hard and fast — and hopefully dry — conditions in the same month as the PGA Championship. That’s a pretty perfect situation.

At this point, I think the three-course rotation for the Barclays is a long-shot. Bethpage doesn’t want to be “just another tour stop,” so Barclays should be happy with the tournament hosting the event for one year. And even if they did host it next season, I’m almost certain you’d see a couple officials from the PGA of America milling around the course during tournament week.

While the tournament situation probably isn’t what Bethpage wants right now, a year hosting the Barclays could give them a great chance to showcase their course to the final major of the year.

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Written by Jonathan Wall

02/17/2011 at 8:02 pm

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