Last week, after five rain-soaked golf-crazed days at Bethpage Black, Lucas Glover emerged as the 109th U.S. Open champion. This is noteworthy for a number of reasons: Glover had missed his three previous Open cuts, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson -- for different reasons, the two most popular guys on tour -- didn't add to their major totals, and, finally, the fans.
It wasn't your typical outside-the-ropes golf experience, even by U.S. Open standards. But that's what made it different, special (for the most part, anyway). And after the tournament, it prompted Mickelson to suggest that Bethpage would be a perfect venue for a future Ryder Cup.
"The people here are incredible ... the course is terrific, because 16, 17 and 18 are so close together. And the way the fans are, I think we would have a big advantage."
As Bacon pointed out, the Ryder Cup sites are set until 2024, when Lefty will be 54 and Tiger will be 49, so even if Bethpage Black lands the event, the only way Phil will get to participate is if he's the captain. But according to Newsday's Mark Herrmann, that's not the only obstacle to bringing the Ryder Cup to Farmingdale.
... [T]here are other huge hurdles, such as navigating the sensitive terrain between the U.S. Golf Association, which holds the U.S. Open, and the PGA of America (not to be confused with the PGA Tour). ...
Because the process of negotiating for major championships is so intense and time-consuming, courses usually choose to get comfortable with only one of the two big American organizations. The USGA and PGA were in a tug of war over Whistling Straits in Wisconsin. The PGA won. Baltusrol, Hazeltine (site of the PGA Championship this year) and Medinah all are former U.S. Open sites that now are in the PGA fold. Pebble Beach, Oakmont and Shinnecock Hills are USGA stalwarts.
Jumping back and forth across the line is not easy, albeit not impossible. Winged Foot hosted several U.S. Opens, then the 1997 PGA, then the 2006 Open. Whether it would be worth it for Bethpage to try to walk both sides of the street is something for the state to answer.
So while there are political complications, Bethpage isn't an impossibility. It's just that the faces representing the sport will have changed a lot in 15 years. Still, Julius Mason, senior director of communications for the PGA of America, joked to Herrmann that it would be such an advantage for the United States, it almost wouldn't be fair to Europeans. It's just too bad Colin Montgomerie won't be a part of the proceedings to fully appreciate the spectacle.