Herrmann has covered the Mets and Yankees since 1988, and has been Newsday’s national golf writer since 2002.
In its own way, the Met Open always has been way out in front because it was an important championship before professional golf was fashionable or the PGA Tour even existed. Now it is a forerunner yet again.
The Metropolitan Golf Association’s premier event, still going strong at 101, will be held this season at the Glen Oaks Club in Old Westbury, a year before the Tour brings its FedEx Cup Playoff opener to the same course.
Glen Oaks was formally introduced Tuesday as this August’s Met Open site during MGA Media Day, giving visitors their first glimpse at a layout that will make PGA Tour pros think about a stop they make every April.
“I think the players are going to love it. There are few places like it in the Met Area,” MGA Executive Director Jay Mottola said, looking out over Glen Oaks. “There are obviously great courses that have different features, but here, it’s the elevation changes and, the big, open, manicured look. It is Augusta-like, it really is. I was down there a few weeks ago and this is very reminiscent of that.”
That look is the result of a redesign by architect Joel Weiman and the work of superintendent Craig Currier, who was on staff at Augusta National before he gained acclaim for preparing Bethpage Black for the 2002 and 2009 U.S. Opens. They acknowledged that the trend in area courses is toward rustic, but they chose to go with a vibrant, clean, elegant appearance. It drew the attention of the Tour, which last year was seeking a new home for its 2017 FedEx opener because Liberty National, the original site, was named to host the Presidents Cup.
So MGA Media Day this week did have the usual agenda: honoring last year’s champions and previewing this year’s tournament schedule, which starts with the Senior Amateur at Huntington Country Club the week after next. But there was also a certain excited anticipation about 2017, when the tournament now known as The Barclays will debut as The Northern Trust at Glen Oaks.
The Met Open — an event that Byron Nelson said launched his career and that has attracted Ben Hogan and Sam Snead — had been scheduled at the site several years before the Tour signed on, which the MGA and the club took as a compliment. “To have the PGA Tour knock on your door, it shows that Glen Oaks has been a great club for a long time,” club pro Tim Shifflett said.
Currier said, “I think we’re probably spoiled around the Met Area now, between the U.S. Open, the PGA, the Ryder Cup, the Barclays every year. We’re lucky.”
The superintendent added that 12 new tees have been built, as was a new driving range big enough to accommodate tour pros’ driving distances. For the PGA Tour, he and Shifflett devised a composite course, made up of 18 of the club’s 27 holes. That routing will be used for the 101st Met Open, Aug. 22-24, the three days before this year’s Barclays at Bethpage — the exact same time of the year as the 2017 Northern Trust is scheduled.
“It’s perfect that it’s the same week, so we can get a test run,” Shifflett said. “Not that the Met Open is a test run for anything.”
The 21st Annual New Ground Golf Outing, benefiting homeless families and veterans, will be May 16 at Cherry Valley Club, Garden City. Call (516) 564-4764 ext. 14 . . . The 47th Annual Long Island Charities Golf Outing will be May 16 at Huntington Crescent Club. Visit licharitiesfoundation.com . . . St. Joseph’s Church, Babylon, will hold its 11th Annual Outing for the parish’s Outreach Ministry May 16 at Southward Ho Country Club, Bay Shore. Call (631) 669-0068.