Bethpage Black will host Barclays again in 2016
Bethpage Black is guaranteed to have at least one more pro tournament after the Barclays this week, given the state's contract with the PGA Tour to host the Barclays again in 2016. Park officials are willing to listen to offers about other big events on the Black because they believe it is worth putting up with the intense preparations and disruptions. The benefits keep rolling long after the pros are gone.
"It keeps Bethpage out there as a premier golf facility," said Betsy Wintenberger, the Bethpage park director, "and as a result it allows us to continue to maintain the facility in the condition that people expect it to be in. It also allows us to recruit a great staff because they want to be associated with it."
The Black Course is part of a rotation for the Barclays, which used to be known as the Westchester Classic at Westchester Country Club. Bethpage also is in talks with the PGA of America to host the PGA Championship and the Ryder Cup sometime after 2018.
Rough will be softer
Andy Wilson, the Bethpage course superintendent, said recently that the PGA Tour wants the rough to be between 3-3½ inches, and not with U.S. Open-caliber density. "Their philosophy is that they don't want it to be so penal that your only option is to chip back in the fairway," Wilson said, adding that the minimum goal for green speeds will be 11 on the Stimpmeter. That could be pushed higher (meaning faster) if it does not get too hot.
You can phone home
In a sign of the times, cellphones and other mobile device are no longer banned from the course during the tournament. It has been a controversial topic among pros, but the devices are allowed. Their use will be limited to designated areas, which will be marked. No photos will be allowed during the actual tournament rounds, Thursday through Sunday.
A primer for those who might be wondering: The PGA Tour, which is putting on the Barclays and runs tournaments throughout the year, is different from the PGA of America, which runs the PGA Championship and Ryder Cup. They once were under one umbrella, but the former is the tour players' association and the latter is the club pros' group.
Ken and William Bakst of Friars Head won the Metropolitan Golf Association's Father-Son Championship Monday at Woodmere Country Club. It was the second consecutive win in the event for the team that this year shot 3-under-par 67. The elder Bakst has long been an elite amateur golfer who has played in the Masters. He is the founder and owner of Friars Head . . . Willis Huynh of Syosset defeated Vincent Palazzolo of Colt's Neck, N.J., 3-and-2, in the final of the Met Boys Championship last week at Gardiner's Bay Country Club on Shelter Island.
Here is hope for Long Island and anyplace else that might find itself short of land: The Maldives government this week announced plans for a floating golf course on the Indian Ocean. The estimated cost will be $520 million, which includes an underwater clubhouse and a series of tunnels to allow access from shore. Naturally, there will be an ocean view from every hole.