Bethpage Black was the real winner of the Barclays

Crowds follow the paths along the second fairway

Crowds follow the paths along the second fairway during The Barclays at Bethpage Black. (Aug. 23, 2012) (Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan)

One final thought about the Barclays is not really final at all. The reputation of Bethpage Black is ongoing, and just as strong as ever following the FedEx Cup playoff event. The PGA Tour deserves a tip of the cap. That was the consensus this week of local pros, caddies, spectators, golf insiders and industry representatives.

Officials from the PGA Tour easily could have kept the Black's greens nice and soft all weekend, which would have been fine with the golfers. And generally, it is good business for the tour to keep players happy. But softness would have turned the Black into a pin cushion -- like Congressional at the 2011 U.S. Open.

Considering Padraig Harrington's 64 on Thursday, the winning score could have approached 20 under par. So the tour let the ground dry out naturally Saturday, risking criticism from its own stars.

It was still fair enough (especially after extra watering Sunday) and tough enough for runner-up Brandt Snedeker (7 under par) to say that the Black was the week's huge winner. As it always is.

 

A family of aces

A hole-in-one for Debbie Schwartz at Pine Hills Country Club in Manorville on Aug. 9 was a proud day for the family, said her husband, Stu, a 5-handicap who was not there when she aced the 14th hole from 131 yards with her rescue club. It was still on everyone's mind two days later when Stu and his son Howard were playing Pine Hills. On the third hole, Howard hit an 8-iron from the tee on the 161-yard third hole and watched as it touched down 6 feet past the hole and rolled back into the cup. "We called his mom right away," Stu said, "but she did not believe it at first. But I confirmed it."

 

Patriot Golf DayMany Long Island courses are participating in Patriot Golf Day this weekend, with proceeds of all rounds going to families of wounded military personnel. Check www.playgolfamerica.com to see if your club is listed . . . Good chance to see top amateur international golf, and to check out a great course: the French-American Challenge will be Oct. 16-17 at Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton, site of the 2013 U.S. Women's Open.

 

Sunday tip

"The three keys to achieving and maintaining your distance are turn, turn and turn. One consistent thing you saw last week at Bethpage by the world's greatest players is their upper body turn. The backswing is really the turning of the back away from the target. The upper body turning against a stable lower body will create the fluidity and freedom that allow the arms to swing the club at maximum speed. An important thing to remember is that the backswing is a gathering, unhurried motion." -- Bob Joyce, PGA head pro emeritus,

Southampton Golf Club