Craig Currier, who became one of the most prominent figures in Long Island golf by preparing the Black Course for two U.S. Opens, apparently is preparing to leave Bethpage State Park. The celebrated course superintendent has accepted an offer from a Long Island private club, several golf industry sources said.
An official announcement is expected soon. Currier did not return phone messages, nor did officials in the office of state parks commissioner Carol Ash. Bethpage Park superintendent Dave Catalano declined to comment.
But other people who are familiar with Currier's decision said he will be going to a well-established club in Nassau after his 12 years at Bethpage. He has been considered perhaps the hottest commodity among American course superintendents for getting the Black in shape for the 2002 and 2009 Opens while maintaining all five of the park's courses for the public.
That he would leave Bethpage could mean that the U.S. Golf Association is not planning to bring the Open back to the Black any time soon, possibly not for another 10 years. People who know Currier well say he probably would not have gone if the Open were on the horizon. The Open is booked through 2016 and reportedly is headed to Wisconsin's Erin Hills in 2017.
Currier worked at Augusta National Golf Club, Piping Rock Club and Garden City Golf Club before he took the head job at Bethpage in 1997. He was disappointed in June when seven years of preparation were washed out by hard rain all week during the Open. The Black did not play the way he and his crew had set it up to play. But USGA executives lavishly praised Currier and his staff for making it playable at all.