Bethpage Black is back on golf’s landscape, this time as the first FedExCup playoff event.
The PGA Tour announced Wednesday that Barclays has signed a four-year extension as title sponsor through 2016, and that its tournament would be played at Bethpage Black in 2012 and 2016.
2011 AT&T NATIONAL
AT&T National host venue Aronimink was the second most difficult non-major course on the 2010 PGA Tour, with a scoring average 1.21 strokes over par. Only Honda Classic host PGA National was tougher.
The Associated Press first reported in February that the Barclays was planning to go to Bethpage Black, a state-owned golf course on Long Island that hosted the 2002 and 2009 U.S. Open.
The Barclays is the first of four playoff events during the chase for the $10 million FedExCup prize, featuring a 125-man field.
The tour also said that Liberty National, panned by several players when it held the tournament in 2009, would be back in the rotation for 2013. The courses to be used are Ridgewood (2014) and Plainfield (2015), both in New Jersey.
“We’re excited about that rotation,” PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said. “Obviously, playing at Bethpage Black is in and of itself special. But also the concept over the last years was to try to move The Barclays around the metropolitan area … and a rotation that moves us over from New Jersey to Long Island for these next few years will work nicely.”
Tiger Woods won the U.S. Open at Bethpage Black in 2002, and Lucas Glover won his U.S. Open in 2009 during a tournament that lasted five days because of the rain.
Taking a PGA Tour event likely means the end -- at least for some time -- on the U.S. Open returning to Bethpage.
Ridgewood was a popular spot in 2008 and last year, while the Barclays goes to Plainfield in August for the first time. Almost as curious as Bethpage Black was the return to Liberty National, which offers spectacular views of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty. Few players had great things to say publicly, and jokes were running rampant in private.
Finchem said the course was going through some changes.
“I think that over my years here, there have been very few times where we’ve played a golf course for the first time that we don’t get a lot of input on what it ought be, particularly when you play a new course,” Finchem said. “Liberty was obviously brand new when we played it. We got a lot of suggestions.”
He said the course has made “a few adjustments” that he referred to as subtle.
“We wanted to get to back to Liberty,” he said. “I think it’s one of the most stunning settings for professional golf there is on the planet, and we want to take advantage of that. And we’re delighted that the club assisted us with making some positive changes.”