PGA Tour: PGA Championship @ Bethpage: Notes from the Ballwasher

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Post by kwinigolfer on Wed May 15, 2019 2:54 pm

1).Still not a fan of the compressed PGA Tour season, with Majors coming one after the other, rat-a-tat-tat, in indecent haste. And the weather will certainly not be conducive to seeing Long Island's Bethpage Black at its best.
May has been as much a disappointment in the New York area as it has been on Downing Street, with temps below normal, and rainfall above.
So much so that Doncaster's very own Kerry Haigh, the highly regarded PGA course set-up man, was questioning, "Are the trees going to bud, is the grass going to grow?". Apparently both have happened (there, not here), but not in time for the rough to grow in properly, and two inches of rain early this week will leave the course "soft", possibly a euphemism for muddy.

2).Fortunately, the PGA has caught a break in the weather and a threat of rain has diminished (somewhat), and temps approaching 20C are threatened for Thursday. Shangri-La, but the fact remains that spring weather in the North-East is notoriously fickle and one hopes that won't discourage the PGA from holding its great Championship on the great courses here in the future. Venues to come include:
2020: Harding Park, San Francisco
2021: Kiawah Island, South Carolina
2022: Drumpf National, NJ
2023: Oak Hill, Rochester, NY - All PGA Committee members have fingers crossed that there's a warm spring beside Lake Ontario for that one.
2024: Valhalla, Louisville
2026: Aronimink, Shotrockville, Philadelphia
2028: Olympic Club, San Francisco
2029: Baltusrol, NJ
2031: Congressional, Maryland
2025, 2027, still TBA, but Southern Hills in Tulsa has been promised a date.

3).The US Open came to Bethpage for the first time in 2002 (won by Woods), revisited in 2009 (Glover) and the PGA Tour's "Barclays" arrived in 2012 (Watney) and 2016 (Reed). And, as part of the PGA's customary "package deal" for course venues, the 2024 Ryder Cup will be here - imagine any candidate to be appointed the US Captain will already have stipulated the pre-condition that all rough will be mowed to fairway length.

4).Bethpage Black is famously posted as "An extremely difficult course which we recommend only for highly skilled golfers".
Formerly best known as "Plunky's" home course, the "Black" is an AW Tillinghast gem, rated in Golf Digest as his third best design, behind Winged Foot (West), site of the 2020 US Open and San Francisco Golf Club.
"Tillie" is also responsible for Baltusrol (Lower and Upper), Winged Foot (East), Somerset Hills in NJ, Quaker Ridge (NY), Ridgewood CC (NJ), and Philadelphia Cricket Club, plus San Antonio's Breckenridge Park & Oak Hill CC. He had a hand in Inverness and Sleepy Hollow and is probably comparable only to Donald Ross in terms of influence and prolific productivity of great courses in the US.    

5).2002 US Open: Was this better known for Tiger's win, Phil's customary runner-up, the barracking of Sergio's "regripping" epidemic (on his way to a 4th place finish), or Nick Price being unable to reach a fairway or two (on his way to an 8th place finish)?
Harrington finished 8th alongside Charlie Howell, while players who might fancy their chances this week such as Kuchar, Cink, Walker, Scott and Perez all missed the cut.

6).Back again in 2009 and Bethpage was a quagmire with monsoon following monsoon. Lucas Glover took the honours on the Monday, with Phil (you know where he finished), Ross Fisher (5th), Woods (6th), Stenson (9th) and Sergio & Rory (T10th) close behind.
Others with decent finishes included McDowell, Bubba, Westwood, Poults, Holmes, Molinari, Scott and DJ.
Kaymer, Fowler, Sneds, Zach, Kuchar again, Casey, Harrington and Rose missed the cut.  

7).In 2012 the Tour brought the Barclays to Bethpage and all-we-want-is Watney led the way. Too many of this week's field played to mention in detail, but "notables" include:
2nd: Snedeker
T3: DJ, Sergio (great record here, played 3, top ten finishes 3)
T5: Westwood, Harman, Louis
10: Bubba
T19: Harrington, Holmes
T24: Rory & Day
T38: Tiger, Phil, Kooch

8).And in 2016 Patrick Reed won the Barclays. Others:
T4: Day, Woodland and Scott.
T7: Fowler
T10: Spieth
T13: Phil, Bubba
T18: DJ, Louis

Difficult to tell without a ton of research how course set-ups compare, between the USGA and PGA Tour - and now the PGA Of America. But, given wet/drying conditions (where's Derek Underwood when you need him?), one imagines that the winner will be a longer-than-average driver who can keep it straight and possibly hits a higher than average ball.
No doubt that could fit the likes of DJ & Koepka, Rory and Rosey, Scott & Sergio, Casey, Stenson & Louis Oosthuizen. Lucas Glover must be a decent e.w. pick and Tiger can't be ruled out if he's actually fit and undeterred by being sued for wrongful death. That seems like half the field,  Doh

9).The value of a good caddie is often debated on this Board, but there's no doubt that last week's Byron Nelson winner, Sung Kang, had a significant upturn in fortunes in early 2016 when Jim Furyk was sidelined and Kang hired Fluff Cowan on a tournament-by-tournament basis. After struggling through his first few events, Kang hired Cowan and immediately went on a T18, T8, T10, T22 run, including a 60 at Monterey Peninsula CC.
Disappointing weekend from Stenson and Seamus Power, Knox & Laird, but a renaissance round on Sunday from Padraig Harrington - you never know with him, and can quite imagine him plodding round Bethpage for a good result this week.

10).And, just remember, if you blink and miss this Major, there's only four weeks before we cross the country to Pebble Beach for another one, the 2019 US Open.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Wed May 15, 2019 3:22 pm

Not exactly the turn-out that The Masters Champions Dinner attracts:

https://www.golfchannel.com/news/legends-gather-koepkas-delicious-pga-champions-dinner


Weird (maybe?) that Past Champion John Daly didn't show up for a free meal - perhaps no carts were allowed in the dining room?
(No Phil either, among other absentees . . . . . . . . )

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Post by wiretapper on Wed May 15, 2019 4:07 pm

I'm guessing Augusta in April is more enticing than Long Island in May for those who's bones are too old to compete.

Pardon my ignorance but who is top row far left?

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Post by McLaren on Wed May 15, 2019 4:38 pm

Wire

It could be Jimmy Walker after being hit hard by tick bite syndrome.
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Post by Shotrock on Wed May 15, 2019 4:40 pm

Mark Brooks?

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Post by kwinigolfer on Wed May 15, 2019 4:45 pm

Shotrock wrote:Mark Brooks?

Exactly!

And: Mac, Given your inane Jimmy Walker guess, who do you think is the person standing where most people would think Jimmy Walker is? (Remember: Michael Carrick never won the PGA.)

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Post by sirbenson on Wed May 15, 2019 7:31 pm

Thanks for the thread Kwini!

Excited about the date change!!

Come on the Padraig Harrington!

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Post by super_realist on Wed May 15, 2019 7:48 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:
Shotrock wrote:Mark Brooks?

Exactly!

And: Mac, Given your inane Jimmy Walker guess, who do you think is the person standing where most people would think Jimmy Walker is? (Remember: Michael Carrick never won the PGA.)

Laugh Laugh Laugh

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Post by kwinigolfer on Wed May 15, 2019 8:49 pm

Re: Note 8). above:

This is an article by Rex Hoggard (who's usually better than this!) that attempts, somewhat unsuccessfully, to bring clarity to the question of course set-up:

https://www.golfchannel.com/news/comparing-bethpage-last-time-it-hosted-big-events

I think he's missing the point with length of holes (and rough which might be sparser than hoped for), width of fairways, speed of greens etc, being more important, surely, than "Par" for a specific hole?
Anyway, for what it's worth.

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Post by I'm never wrong on Thu May 16, 2019 7:42 am

I was just having a look at Google Maps to see where the course was, and get a look at how the holes are laid out. Not easy to tell which course is which so I looked for an alternative. Found this link to Provisualizer which gives the layout. You can switch to a 3D view which is interesting.

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Post by McLaren on Thu May 16, 2019 7:59 am

kwinigolfer wrote:who do you think is the person standing where most people would think Jimmy Walker is? (Remember: Michael Carrick never won the PGA.)

Tom Doak.
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Post by McLaren on Thu May 16, 2019 8:07 am

One of golfs premier events.  

PGA Tour: PGA Championship @ Bethpage: Notes from the Ballwasher D6otTxRW4AEGQa7
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Post by dynamark on Thu May 16, 2019 8:18 am

If its a proper municipal will someone have nicked all the bunkers rakes and set fire to a motorbike on the 5th green ?
Your clubs will get nicked if you leave them outside the clubhouse and some kids jump the fence and nick you ball from the fairway ?

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Post by wiretapper on Thu May 16, 2019 9:17 am

I was listening to The Cut last night and Shaun Micheel was on saying that a few of the past champions had decided to leave it this year due to the course toughness and location. David Toms, for example, was one he named.

He also spoke about his chances and how unlike Rich Been (his words not mine), he wouldn't be there if he didn't think he had a chance of competing. Fair enough, sportsmen live on confidence but still...

They also had a lot to say about John Daly and to be honest I hadn't given it any thought until then. Now Daly isn't going to be competing this week but their point was imagine Justin Thomas said his knee wasn't up to the walk but could handle the swing and therefore wanted a cart, he would have to get one, yeah?

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Post by wiretapper on Thu May 16, 2019 9:18 am

dynamark wrote:If its a proper municipal will someone have nicked all the bunkers rakes and set fire to a motorbike on the 5th green ?
Your clubs will get nicked if you leave them outside the clubhouse and some kids jump the fence and nick you ball from the fairway ?

Laugh

I once played a municipal where someone had carved 10 foot initials on the third green

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Post by Eyetoldyouso on Thu May 16, 2019 10:37 am

I first played this great game at Linn Park Municipal with my grandfather - I was about 11. It was actually quite good until you got near the Castlemilk end of the course.

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Post by dynamark on Thu May 16, 2019 10:42 am

Joking apart the munis are where most of us got the golf disease.We only have one left from 3 in this area.Qften well designed and built courses(Hawtree etc) in a different age.However now you can join a club no problem and not too much cash and play very reasonable green fees just about anywhere.Our course has a deal through a tee booking website at just £13 a round which is good value.

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Post by 1GrumpyGolfer on Thu May 16, 2019 10:57 am

kwinigolfer wrote:Not exactly the turn-out that The Masters Champions Dinner attracts:

https://www.golfchannel.com/news/legends-gather-koepkas-delicious-pga-champions-dinner


Weird (maybe?) that Past Champion John Daly didn't show up for a free meal - perhaps no carts were allowed in the dining room?
(No Phil either, among other absentees . . . . . . . . )

Seems like it was lazy journalism to not name all the guests that showed up. How difficult would it have been to add the remaining three names. I understand that those three might not have the same recognition as the more recent winners listed but couldn’t they have been described as veteran, or something similar, winners?

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu May 16, 2019 11:35 am

wiretapper wrote:I was listening to The Cut last night and Shaun Micheel was on saying that a few of the past champions had decided to leave it this year due to the course toughness and location. David Toms, for example, was one he named.

He also spoke about his chances and how unlike Rich Been (his words not mine), he wouldn't be there if he didn't think he had a chance of competing. Fair enough, sportsmen live on confidence but still...

They also had a lot to say about John Daly and to be honest I hadn't given it any thought until then. Now Daly isn't going to be competing this week but their point was imagine Justin Thomas said his knee wasn't up to the walk but could handle the swing and therefore wanted a cart, he would have to get one, yeah?


wire:
Daly's certainly not competing but where did you see that he's not in the field? #sideshow

Shaun Micheel's a bit silly there - he hasn't made the PGA cut since 2011. At least Beemer's played the weekend twice since then.

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Post by sirbenson on Thu May 16, 2019 12:13 pm

Pieters starts with a triple bogey!

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Post by Roller_Coaster on Thu May 16, 2019 12:26 pm

sirbenson wrote:Pieters starts with a triple bogey!

That's great nose picking on the first tee right there!

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Post by sirbenson on Thu May 16, 2019 12:35 pm

Is there anyway to get rid of the ad that takes up half the leaderboard? It's kind of annoying

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Post by Be_the_ball on Thu May 16, 2019 12:54 pm

sirbenson wrote:Is there anyway to get rid of the ad that takes up half the leaderboard? It's kind of annoying

Use an Adblocker, there are a number of free ones. Adblocker and Adblocker Plus.

it certainly works on pgatour.com

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Post by Plunky on Thu May 16, 2019 1:07 pm

Bethpage really is a great public course.  It's far enough away from bigger towns so that it doesn't seem to suffer vandalism etc. There are 5 courses there and for several years we paid attention to the famous sign and kept to the blue or yellow courses (the red and green courses don't come back to the clubhouse after 9 holes so are tough to play at twilight unless you remember to pack a flashlight for coming in).   Then one day our friend at the check-in said that there was nobody on the black course and why didn't we go out there for a change for just a few dollars more, so off we went.  It was $45 each to play the black at twilight and we would generally get in 13 or 14 holes.  We were often the only people out there at that time of day.  Although carts are available on the other bethpage courses, you can't take one on the black, so that helps to keep the beer-swilling foursomes away.  

On many holes on all 5 courses there's one large tee box with the reds at the front so with my 22/23 handicap I found all of them a bit long, particularly the black.   The first hole for example is a short  par 4 for the pros but my red tees would be just a few yards in front of where DJ etc are teeing off.  I did once par that hole (driver, 3 wood, 5 wood, chip-in) then miraculously parred 2 and 3 but then went 8,8,8, and gave up counting my score !

Bethpage always had a friendly feel to it late afternoon, we'd see the same regulars on the blue and yellow courses and often pair up with them. Occasionally you'd hear about the odd fight  (usually a little earlier in the day and due  to slow play, alcohol, and short short tempers ) but not very often.  All 5 courses really well maintained.

By the way, I mentioned that carts are not normally allowed on the black course.  I do recall Tiger riding in one once.  Don't remember whether it was US open or Barclays but he'd come out unannounced midweek a couple of weeks beforehand to practice.  By the time he started the 18th word had got around and  a small group of golfers gathered to watch.  When he saw them he stopped, his people made a call and a cart appeared to take him out the back way.  Locals were not impressed !

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Post by sirbenson on Thu May 16, 2019 1:08 pm

Thanks!

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Post by I'm never wrong on Thu May 16, 2019 1:12 pm

I predict Daly will withdraw before he gets cut.

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Post by BlueCoverman on Thu May 16, 2019 2:45 pm

I'm never wrong wrote:I predict Daly will withdraw before he gets cut.

Don't you mean Half-cut?

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Post by Shotrock on Thu May 16, 2019 3:00 pm

Plunky - I've played BPB a couple of times (along with the Red and Green). It looks to me like the fairways have been narrowed on the black. Do you know if that's the case?

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Post by sirbenson on Thu May 16, 2019 3:13 pm

Be_the_ball wrote:
sirbenson wrote:Is there anyway to get rid of the ad that takes up half the leaderboard? It's kind of annoying

Use an Adblocker, there are a number of free ones. Adblocker and Adblocker Plus.

it certainly works on pgatour.com

Sadly it didn't work! But thanks for the advice

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Post by I'm never wrong on Thu May 16, 2019 3:36 pm

Anyone watching the Tiger featured groups? Check out Brooks footwear.

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Post by Plunky on Thu May 16, 2019 3:49 pm

Shotrock wrote:Plunky - I've played BPB a couple of times (along with the Red and Green). It looks to me like the fairways have been narrowed on the black. Do you know if that's the case?

Sorry, no idea.   We moved to Cape Cod a couple of years ago ago and haven't visited bethpage since.  We played the green course  there a few times and really liked it -- not quite as popular as the red, so a bit easier to get on.

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Post by Shotrock on Thu May 16, 2019 5:10 pm

Thanks Plunky. On LI, I've played NGLA and Shinnecock, but there are MANY fine courses out there. That said, I can certainly see why one might prefer Cape Cod over LI. (Just had a pretty good parking spot on the Belt Parkway this past weekend. Ugh.)


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Post by I'm never wrong on Thu May 16, 2019 5:17 pm

Glad we all picked Koepka in Sportform’s competition

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Post by Shotrock on Thu May 16, 2019 5:32 pm

Koepka does look impressive and once again may be the one to beat. But John Daly hasn't put his first 18 in so I'll reserve judgement.

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Post by dynamark on Thu May 16, 2019 5:37 pm

Thanks Plunky for adding some serious local knowledge .Cape Cod sounds pretty good too for a brit who has only seen Florida

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu May 16, 2019 6:44 pm

Can't exactly say I saw a 63 out there . . . . . . .
Good to see Tommy Fleet among the best of the rest.
And another good start for Matt Wallace.

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Post by beninho on Thu May 16, 2019 6:46 pm

Do you Bruce the trophy now?

He wins majors, its what he does.

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Post by pedro on Thu May 16, 2019 9:10 pm

Shotrock wrote:But John Daly hasn't put his first 18 in.
You mean beers?

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Post by Nathaniel Jacobs on Thu May 16, 2019 9:11 pm

Koepka a bit of a freak in the majors. Like he flicks the switch and he goes into full on beast mode. Good to see a player thriving in the big events.

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Post by super_realist on Fri May 17, 2019 7:56 am

I used to think that if McIlroy fancied it, no one in golf could beat him. Now it's Koepka who that applies too.
Quite different to the usual boring Yank too.

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PGA Tour: PGA Championship @ Bethpage: Notes from the Ballwasher Empty Re: PGA Tour: PGA Championship @ Bethpage: Notes from the Ballwasher

Post by wiretapper on Fri May 17, 2019 10:30 am

kwinigolfer wrote:
wiretapper wrote:I was listening to The Cut last night and Shaun Micheel was on saying that a few of the past champions had decided to leave it this year due to the course toughness and location. David Toms, for example, was one he named.

He also spoke about his chances and how unlike Rich Been (his words not mine), he wouldn't be there if he didn't think he had a chance of competing. Fair enough, sportsmen live on confidence but still...

They also had a lot to say about John Daly and to be honest I hadn't given it any thought until then. Now Daly isn't going to be competing this week but their point was imagine Justin Thomas said his knee wasn't up to the walk but could handle the swing and therefore wanted a cart, he would have to get one, yeah?


wire:
Daly's certainly not competing but where did you see that he's not in the field? #sideshow

Shaun Micheel's a bit silly there - he hasn't made the PGA cut since 2011. At least Beemer's played the weekend twice since then.

Just my poorly structured sentence Kwini. I meant not going to challenge rather than not taking part OK

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PGA Tour: PGA Championship @ Bethpage: Notes from the Ballwasher Empty Re: PGA Tour: PGA Championship @ Bethpage: Notes from the Ballwasher

Post by navyblueshorts on Fri May 17, 2019 11:08 am

kwinigolfer wrote:Can't exactly say I saw a 63 out there . . . . . . .
Good to see Tommy Fleet among the best of the rest.
And another good start for Matt Wallace.
Pretty amazing golf, wasn't it? Effortless and didn't birdie the par 5s. Wonder how Brandel is feeling just now? Hope Koepka keeps it up and murders the rest of the field.

That said, what's the point of holding a main event at a venue that appears to absolutely require major tee shot bombing potential? There's more to golf than that.
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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri May 17, 2019 11:40 am

A little bit of rain yesterday, but Bethpage temps warming up. Just a chance of thundershowers but the PGA has mostly dodged a bullet.

Daly's cart still running, unfortunately.


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Post by wiretapper on Fri May 17, 2019 12:43 pm

I like Brooks but he got a bit tetchy with Sarah Stirk at the Sky-cart last night and amazingly it wasn't due to her unnecessarily long, five part questions but because she claimed that despite being a three time major winner he still operates a bit under the radar.

When I say tetchy I mean in a Brooks Koepka calm and measured way but noticeable no doubt.

Jeez Sarah, he posed naked, what more does he have to do? Laugh

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Post by wiretapper on Fri May 17, 2019 12:56 pm

2 bogeys for Danny L already.

Is it already shaping up to be a best of the rest behind Koepka?

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Post by navyblueshorts on Fri May 17, 2019 1:01 pm

wiretapper wrote:I like Brooks but he got a bit tetchy with Sarah Stirk at the Sky-cart last night and amazingly it wasn't due to her unnecessarily long, five part questions but because she claimed that despite being a three time major winner he still operates a bit under the radar.

When I say tetchy I mean in a Brooks Koepka calm and measured way but noticeable no doubt.

Jeez Sarah, he posed naked, what more does he have to do? Laugh
I get his tetchiness. Despite the recent Woods/Augusta hoopla, Koepka's much more the current man, but he's essentially ignored. His round yesterday was stellar - I wonder how it sits statistically cf. the rest of the field, given the venue? I bet he's pissed at Rorymania as well - the man's been nowhere near a Major win for ages (despite consistently talking himself up), but the media still wet themselves over him. Guess Brooks will have to channel it into his golf...
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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri May 17, 2019 1:45 pm

I seriously doubt Brooks cares - he does nothing (much) to draw attention to himself and doesn't go out of his way to seek headlines or commercial deals.
Seems much more comfortable under the radar, with that little chip on his shoulder.
But he'll be tough to ignore if he pulls this week off.

Danny update:
Lee looks like a goner.
Willett climbing the leaderboard.

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Post by McLaren on Fri May 17, 2019 1:56 pm

We can't always put our finger on why some people are more interesting than others and the same goes for why some people just aren't interesting. And Brooks falls into the seriously uninteresting category. I guess he is just lacking in the charisma and personality stakes.


To Rorymania, GIR of 15 and leading strokes gained driving. Still manages to shoot +2.
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Post by McLaren on Fri May 17, 2019 1:58 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:
Willett climbing the leaderboard.

Didn't realise you were following the Lindrick alternative May medal.
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Post by Nathaniel Jacobs on Fri May 17, 2019 2:05 pm

Amazing to think Rory hasn’t won a major since 2014, thought his drought would end at the USPGA but it’s slipping away again

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