It will be interesting to see how the PGA of America sets up Bethpage Black, compared to the way the U.S. Golf Association and PGA Tour did it for their tournaments. The process is about to start as Kerry Haigh, the chief championships officer for the PGA, will make his first visit in a few weeks.
"We're excited about it," Haigh said of the course that will host the 2019 PGA Championship. Pete Bevacqua, chief executive officer of the PGA of America who grew up playing the Black Course, said Haigh "will be going there a lot."
Some golf people consider Haigh the best setup man in the business. He is credited with making PGA Championship courses challenging without being punishing. And if there are exciting possibilities down the stretch, so be it. This year's PGA, for instance, could be decided with an eagle on the par-5 18th hole.
All of which makes the Bethpage prospects intriguing. "We have some ideas," Haigh said.
A caddie's memories
Rob Sullivan, the fellow winter mini-tour competitor who caddied here this week for Long Island teaching pro Rob Corcoran, was a golf celebrity in 1987. A member of UCLA's golf team, Sullivan played his way into the L.A. Open. It was the highlight of his life. But he learned that Seve Ballesteros, then the world's No. 1 player, wanted to get into the tournament at the last minute.
Sullivan agreed to give up his coveted, hard-earned spot, something his roommate, Brandt Jobe, declined to do. The publicity for Sullivan was swift and positive. Ballesteros took him to lunch and gave him a 3-wood. "I got to play in the tournament the next year, and I played in the Spanish Open that year, too. It was a good deal," Sullivan said.
Corcoran, a teacher at Poxabogue Golf Center in Sagaponack, said, "I love that story."
As for his own debut in a major, Corcoran said, "It's just a week of a lifetime, just to be able to share this with my parents. There have been so many ups and downs and missed cuts and missed putts over my career; to be able to kind of reach the pinnacle of golf . . . it was just an extraordinary week."
Adam Fuchs of Bethpage, the part-time pro who works full-time for his father-in-law's New Jersey lumber company, followed his recent runnerup finish in the New York State Open by winning the first Jamaica Open at Marine Park in Brooklyn Monday. He shot 2-under-par 70 . . . Longtime Deepdale member George Zahringer was the defending champion in the British Senior Amateur at England's Ganton Golf Club this week and was in contention until the final nine, then tied for 20th.
The APS Invitational, benefiting the Wounded Warrior Project, Warrior Wellness Operation and American Legion Post 694, will be Sept. 29 at the Village Club of Sands Point. Visit www.aps4dds.com.
Fact of the week
Three of the first 10 PGA Championships were held on Long Island, all on courses that still exist. The second of the 96 PGAs was in 1919 at Engineers Country Club. Jim Barnes of England won, as the event was revived after a two-year absence for World War I. The fourth was in 1921 at Inwood Country Club, won by Walter Hagen. The ninth was in 1926 at Salisbury Country Club, now known as Eisenhower Park Red Course, also won by Hagen.