Bethpage Black will look pretty much the same for the Barclays next week as it did for the two U.S. Opens, with the same fairway widths and contours. It is the numbers on the scoreboard that are likely to be different. Expect to see many more birdies.
Aside from the fact that the course will not be set up to be Open tough, everyone will be better in relation to par before they start. The seventh hole will play as a par 5 for the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup playoff event, not an extremely long par 4, as it did for each Open. Barclays tournament officials want the Black to play as it does daily for the public.
Phil Mickelson endorses the idea, saying, "I've always been a fan of the original designer's interest in how a golf hole is designed to play from its inception, as opposed to somebody else who comes in and tries to alter it for their own benefit or ego." That comment drew laughter because his audience knew that Mickelson is no fan of golf architect Rees Jones, who redesigned the Black.
McDaid wins Met
Becky McDaid does not get a chance to play much golf. As an assistant pro at Friar's Head in Riverhead, she helps her husband, Adam, the head pro, run the shop. Plus, she spends most of her time with their 16-month-old daughter, Maggie. McDaid, who was a star at USC, the 2002 U.S. Women's Amateur champion and an LPGA Tour player, figures she has played maybe eight rounds all season.
So it took a while for her to settle in at the Women's Metropolitan Open at North Shore Country Club this week. "I was nervous for the first four or five holes on Wednesday. But the last three or four holes [Thursday] those old feelings came back," she said, after shooting a 2-under-par 69 to win the event for the second time in three years.
It was an eventful golf week overall, given that they just ordered a set of Starting New At Golf clubs for Maggie.
Two aces for new-timer
Bob Pappas, 68, has become a golf fanatic in the 10 years he has been playing. He is the starter at Calverton Links and plays in a traveling men's club. It was a huge thrill for him when, accompanied by Calverton ranger Kevin Fitzgerald, he made a hole-in-one on the eighth hole at Indian Island, 140 yards with an 8-iron. Although a bunker kept him from seeing it go in the hole, it was a once-in-a-lifetime feat for a 26-handicapper. So he thought.
Less than a month later, playing with Fitzgerald and two other golfers at Calverton, he aced the 16th hole, 130 yards with a 7-iron. This one he saw, as did ranger Rusty Burgess, who watched the ball in the air and said, "Holy smoke, he's going to do it again!"
Coaches got game
Farmingdale State's golfers should know that when their coaches give advice, they know what they're talking about. Head coach Tom Azzara made a hole-in-one last Wednesday on Bethpage Green's sixth hole, 170 yards with a 6-iron. A week later, assistant coach Ryan Williams shot 1-under par at Whippoorwill Golf Club in Armonk and qualified for the U.S. Mid-Amateur, to be held next month in Illinois.