Thursday, 23 August 2012

Bethpage Black Looms Large as Playoffs Kickoff with The Barclays

By Darren

The PGA's FedEx Cup Playoffs kick off this Thursday with the Barclays and I couldn't think of a better place than Bethpage Black to start it off.  Bethpage Black is located in Bethpage State Park in Farmingdale, New York, which is on Long Island, and saw it's first major PGA event in 2002 when the course played host to the US Open.  Bethpage Black is one of five public courses located within the State Park, along with Red, Blue, Green, and Yellow. While it is a well known fact that Bethpage Black is a public course its not as well known that a New York State resident can play 18 holes with a cart for less than $100, about $65 more for a non New York State resident.  Which considering the availability, requirement, and cost of other PGA courses Bethpage Black is practically a steal.  The Black course is well known for its difficulty, in the 2002 US Open won by Tiger Woods at 3 strokes under par, Woods was the only player in the tournament to finish under par after the four rounds of play.  Phil Mickleson finished at even par, three strokes back.  The course was again graced by the US Open in 2009, this time the field did not fair much better as Lucas Glover finished with a  four under 276.  Glover battled continuous rain and wind including several stoppages in play to eventually win the 2009 US Open at the incredibly difficult course.

              The Playoffs are a four event tournament which begins with The Barclays, it will span over the next month and will reward the champion of the tournament with a $10 million bonus.  Playing as a Par 71 this time around as opposed to a Par 70 previously, the Black course will again test the best golfers in the world this week as the first round of the Playoffs and The Barclays begin August 23rd through the 26th.  Bethpage Black has also announced the addition of the Par 3 17th, or what they are calling the “Black Hole”.  The 207 yard Par 3 will play as normal but will have stadium bleachers set up around the green that will house upwards of 4,500 people to create a setting similar to the 16th hole at the Phoenix Open.  The top 125 in the FedEx Standings qualify for the Barclays this weekend, the leader this season being Tiger Woods.  Tiger Woods was the only three time winner this season, Woods and Rory McIlroy are the current odds on favorite this week at Bethpage Black at 7/1, given Tigers steadily improving performance as of late and his track record at Bethpage Black I would not be surprised to see some fireworks this weekend between the two.  Regardless of who comes out on top the fans will be the real winners, the best golfers in the world duking it out at arguably the toughest public course around, we could see a great finish.