SAN DIEGO (AP) – Even though the USGA presumably gave up on Bethpage Black after a second U.S. Open in 2009, the public course on Long Island remains very much in the picture with the 2019 PGA Championship and the 2024 Ryder Cup.
And the list keeps growing.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday two additional stops for Bethpage Black that feature the world's best players. The Barclays, the opening FedExCup playoff event with the top 125 players on the PGA Tour that year, will return in 2021 and 2027.
The Barclays first went to Bethpage Black in 2012, and it returns in 2016 as it continues to rotate with three top New Jersey courses.
DO THE MATH: The Official World Golf Ranking often gets criticized when someone rises to No. 1 without having won a major, such as Lee Westwood and Luke Donald. They played the best golf over a two-year period, consistently had top finishes and won tournaments when no one was dominating the sport.
Overlooked in the euphoria over 17-year-old Lydia Ko becoming the youngest golfer at No. 1 was how her record the last two years compared with those now chasing her. Ko turned pro 14 months ago, and in the last two years already has four victories and 15 finishes in the top 10.
Inbee Park has nine victories and four majors over the last two years and had 17 top-10s a year ago. She is now No. 2 Stacy Lewis, the world No. 3, has had six victories and one major in the last two years.
MASTERS UPDATE: Augusta National made it through one month without sending any more Masters invitations to PGA Tour players.
The Masters prefers to keep its field under 100 players, and it has done that since 1966. There already were 90 players who were eligible and expected to compete when the year ended, and Matias Dominguez of Chile made it 91 by winning the inaugural Latin American Amateur Championship.
As for PGA Tour winners?
Patrick Reed (Hyundai Tournament of Champions), Jimmy Walker (Sony Open), Bill Haas (Humana Challenge) and Brooks Koepka (Phoenix Open) already were eligible for the Masters. Nine more PGA Tour events remain before the field at the Masters is set.
Four players from the European Tour currently are in the top 50 and would be eligible if they stay there at the end of March. However, ranking points on the European Tour will drop significantly over the next two months except for the World Golf Championship at Doral.
BUBBA'S FAMILY: Bubba Watson officially has a foursome.
The two-time Masters champion said the adoption of a baby girl was completed last week. He and his wife, Angie, previously adopted a boy named Caleb shortly before he won his first Masters in 2012. They named their daughter Dakota to keep the alphabet going — A (Angie), B (Bubba), C (Caleb) and D (Dakota).
Watson said they have had the girl since birth, and his wife was at the hospital. Dakota was born two days after Watson won the HSBC Champions in Shanghai.
DIVOTS: There's a reason Lucy Li will not be returning to the Drive, Chip & Putt Championship on Sunday before the Masters. The USGA said the 11-year-old from San Francisco did not enter because of scheduling conflicts. After winning her age division at Augusta National last year, Li became the youngest qualifier for the U.S. Women's Open. She missed the cut at Pinehurst No. 2. ... Jimmy Walker received a fresh set of head covers from Titleist on Tuesday, except for his 3-wood. He got that one in 2001 when he qualified for the Byron Nelson Championship, his first PGA Tour event, and he doesn't want to replace it. ... The PGA Tour China released a 2015 schedule of 13 tournaments, up one from its inaugural year.
STAT OF THE WEEK: Rory McIlroy has not finished worse than second in his last eight official European Tour events.
FINAL WORD: "It's not like I'm out there trying to send any sort of message to people, but I guess if they are going to beat me, they are going to have to play well."– Rory McIlroy after winning in Dubai. He has four wins and four runner-up finishes in his last 12 events.
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