Playoffs? Did you say playoffs? Yes, folks, we did. Believe it or not, that time of year is upon us as the PGA Tour is in Farmingdale, N.Y., this week at the world-famous Bethpage Black for the Barclays -- the first leg of the PGA Tour Playoffs for the FedExCup.
All the world's best players are there and there even playing together for the first two rounds. Tiger Woods is paired with Rory McIlroy and Zach Johnson at 8:16 a.m. on Thursday and the threesome goes off at 1:06 p.m. on Friday.
Bethpage Black is arguably the most famous public golf course there is. It's played host to two U.S. Opens (2002 and 2009) and can be played by you or me for as little as $75.
Before the tournament teed off, we caught up with Bethpage Black PGA Head Professional Joe Rehor for a little Q&A.
PGA.com: Thanks for joining us, Joe. It's hard to believe, but the first leg of the PGA Tour Playoffs for the FedExCup is upon us this week for The Barclays at Bethpage Black. How differently -- if at all -- will conditions be for the players this week compared to when the course has hosted the U.S. Open?
Rehor: For the most part, the course will be very similar to what it was in 2009 for the U.S. Open. We're hoping for better weather, of course, so that it will play a little harder and faster, making it more imperative to drive the ball straight and keep it out of that juicy rough.
PGA.com: What do you think will be the most pivotal series of holes during The Barclays and why?
Rehor: As is the case with every event we have on the Black, the most pivotal series of holes will be Nos. 15, 16, 17 and 18. Those will pose the biggest challenges to the players. If we get some wind, these four holes will be very difficult to complete without being over par.
PGA.com: I don't know about you, but I can't think of a season in recent memory where all of the game's top players were playing at their best at pretty much the same time. How much more exciting does that make things for you and the people involved in The Barclays?
Rehor: As I look at the Tour this year, there is never a person that I would consider a lock to win any tournament. This is what can potentially make this FedExCup more exciting than any of the others in the past.
PGA.com: The only thing scoring-wise that we have to compare results with at Bethpage Black are the 2002 and 2009 U.S. Opens, where Tiger Woods won at 3 under and Lucas Glover won at 4 under, respectively. What do you envision for a winning score at The Barclays?
Rehor: I think the winning score will be quite similar to those U.S. Opens, but if it plays hard and fast rather than soft and wet, scores will probably be even higher than that.
PGA.com: Final question for you, Joe. Bethpage Black has become arguably the most famous public course in the country. What is it that makes Bethpage so special?
Rehor: The golf course is a picturesque Tillinghast design surrounded by four other beautiful courses. New York State Parks -- which operates these golf beauties -- allow people to play at very reasonable rates. Where else can a golfer say that he can play a course that held two U.S. Opens, a Barclays and who knows what else in the future for $75? That's quite amazing!