Here’s a click of the entire article, have your say in the comments.
As long as they keep having big pro tournaments at Bethpage Black, which they will do with the 2019 PGA Championship and 2024 Ryder Cup, some people are going to say, “Great course, didn’t like the ending.”
Depending on your perspective, No. 18 is either a fine finishing hole, with daunting fairway bunkers and a classic walk uphill to the clubhouse, or a short, unworthy close to a massive, classic layout.
There was some talk before the U.S. Opens on the Black about reconfiguring it, somehow rerouting it to No. 18 on the Red Course. There was plenty of talk after the 2009 Open, when the U.S. Golf Association moved the tees forward because of a damp landing area, allowing champion Lucas Glover to finish the major by hitting a 6-iron off the tee and a 9-iron into the green.
“Eighteen is a very good golf hole. I didn”t like the way they set it up on the last day, when they put it all the way up,” said Rees Jones, who redesigned the course for the 2002 Open. “It has never been tested because Tiger was so far ahead and Glover just had to hold on.
“It has different shot options,” Jones said, noting that he brought the big fairway bunkers toward the fairway more. He did acknowledge that current golfers can hit over them, but that presents risks because of the rough. “And we made the green one-third smaller and put it on a diagonal. I understand, if you’re protecting a lead, you’re going to hit an iron off the tee. But for match play, it’s going to be phenomenal because you’ll have to choose.”
Peter Bevacqua, the CEO of the PGA of America who grew up in Westchester and played the Black once a week as a teenager, is not worried. He said course setup guru Kerry Haigh will focus on it in a few years. “The good news,” Bevacqua said at the news conference to announce the 2019 and 2024 events, “is that it’s one of the best layouts in the country.”