I had the chance to check out a PGA event on Saturday, heading out to The Barclays at Bethpage Black in Farmingdale, NY. This is the second event I’ve attended here, plus I’ve played the course before (and got manhandled), so it was nice to have a decent lay of the land as my Dad and I walked the course. Here are some thoughts:
- The big story on Saturday was how super fast the greens were and I can certainly attest. It was remarkable how many putts were going 5-10 feet by the cup. Kinda made me feel good as a hacker, but the pros were certainly struggling.
- Couldn’t believe my eyes, but we saw Lee Westwood shank a shot. On 13, he was maybe 260 out and was going for the green in two. Waited for the green to clear, hit a 3 wood, and topped it as it went 100 yards. Only a dozen people saw it, but they won’t forget it
- Gary Christian is now a cult hero on Long Island. Using a yellow ball, he was paired with Tiger and got off to an atrocious start by going out in 42. But he steadied himself on the back and the crowd kept yelling for Gary. He felt like a rock star, high-fiving folks and even pumping his fists on his way to the tees. Good for the Englishman to soak up the moment
- Good Guys:
- Jason Day…pleasantly acknowledged the young volunteers on the 1st tee and chatted a little while with them
- Ernie Els…Couldn’t help to smile and laugh with the crazy crowd when they were yelling variations of his name
- Phil Mickelson…It’s been said many times, but he genuiely acknowledges everyone
- Bad Guys:
- Tiger Woods…Everything you see on TV comes out in person. He really acts like a douche on the course compared to everyone else. And he seems truly annoyed by the crowd
- Henrik Stenson…Crabby and gave his caddy a hard time as he played poorly
- The crowd is crazy. Beer is flowing freely and so is the word f***. There’s a lot drunk morons shouting non-sense at shots, but if you take that away, the overall atmosphere is fun and loud. They are extremely knowledgable too and not only about the course. You know that you are dealing with a savvy crowd when they know who Bud Cauley is. They supported everyone very well too (even Sergio)
- Peter Kostis is very short and David Feherty looks frightening
- Kevin Stadler (called the little Walrus several times) arrived on the tee two minutes before he was to tee off and brushed it off to shoot a solid 65
- The tournament was really well run and the shuttles to the Farmingdale train station were excellent with no wait. Food was what you would expect. $5 for a drink, over $7 for a beer and a $5 hot dog
- To watch several players and watch them interact a bit, head to the putting green as it was a good 20 minutes that we enjoyed here.
- If I was Davis Love III and had to make the two Captain’s Picks for the Ryder Cup, my first pick would be Ricky Fowler. Remember, he was amazingly clutch in 2010. Nick Watney who won the tournament. Third, I would take Brandt Snedeker, who would be a great team guy and is also a clutch putter. Fourth, I reluctantly take Furyk, primarily for his service the last Ryder Cups, but his falling apart at the end in the last few tournaments would worry me. Regardless who is taken, can’t wait for Medinah as the Ryder Cup is awesome.