PGA considering Bethpage Black

The fourth fairway during the New York State

The fourth fairway during the New York State Open Championship at Bethpage Black. (July 20, 2011) (Credit: Ed Betz)

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. -- The head of the PGA of America visited Bethpage recently and intensified talks with state officials about bringing the PGA Championship and/or the Ryder Cup to the Black Course.

"There are a number of other sites we're doing the same thing with, but I was impressed," said Joe Sterenka, chief operating officer of the association.

He said Wednesday that he had breakfast at the park with Ron Foley, director of the Long Island state parks region, and Dave Catalano, the outgoing Bethpage Park director. Sterenka also played the Black with Pete Bevacqua, the former chief business officer of the U.S. Golf Association who oversaw two U.S. Opens on the Black.

Sterenka said the PGA of America is approaching the state with a plan for long-range community involvement. "We would extend the value from just one big economic impact to maybe eight sustained years," he said, adding that the emphasis would be on education, fighting childhood obesity and creating jobs through tourism.

 

Dustin bunkers down

Dustin Johnson likes Atlanta Athletic Club for many reasons, notably this one: "You can tell if you're in a bunker here."

In one of the most bizarre finishes in major championship history, Johnson last year missed being in a playoff at Whistling Straits because he was penalized for grounding his club in a bunker. He had not known that the sandy spot, pockmarked with footprints, actually was a bunker.

"It was my fault," he said. "Rules are rules, and I broke one and I got a penalty."

He smiled when he spoke of it Wednesday. "It seems like all the pictures that people want me to sign are of me hitting that shot," he said.

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