Rough Going for World’s Best at Bethpage Black


Jun 23, 2009

A hearty dose of congratulations is due to Lucas Glover,
your 2009 U.S. Open champion. His fourth-round score of — oy, a 3-over
73? Seriously? He won — by two strokes — after shooting 3-over in the
final round?!?!

In a U.S. Open marred by rain delays, near-impossible conditions and
mediocre scoring, it only seems right that the course, Bethpage Black,
be deemed the true winner.Rough Going for World's Best at Bethpage Black

The aptly named "Black" course — think expert black-diamond ski runs or a black flag with a skull and crossbones on it — at Bethpage State Park on Long Island was named the 26th best course in the U.S. by Golf Digest, and the sixth toughest. It's a public course.

So it's fitting that some of the world's best looked like casual weekend duffers out there.

Two-time U.S. Open champ Ernie Els was 15-over after two rounds and missed the cut.

Padraig Harrington, who won the British Open and the
PGA Championship consecutively last year, went double-bicentennial
(76-76) in Rounds 1 and 2 and wasn’t around to play during the weekend.

The winner of eight PGA Tour titles during his career, Fred Funk made the cut. But he shot 75 and 82 — yes, 82 — over the final two rounds to finish at plus-21 for the tournament.

This is the kind of course that needs a warning label.

Attempts to get out of Bethpage's thick, surly roughs went so poorly that they prompted a blogger from the BBC to joke, "David Duval can only have a whack at his ball in the trees after the mudball and it flies through the 6th green. Shame he's on the 8th."

On the par-3 third hole Monday, Duval plugged an approach shot just
beneath the back lip of a green-side bunker. After trying to chip out,
he found himself further down in the trap than before. He ended up with
a triple-bogey 6. He finished tied for second, two shots behind Glover.

Let's be fair: Glover deserved the victory. As analyst and two-time U.S. Open champ Curtis Strange said, Glover made fewer mistakes than everyone else. At a course like Bethpage Black, that's enough.

My father always says that he likes to watch the early rounds of PGA events just as much as the later rounds.

"The final rounds are obviously more exciting," he says. "But
there's something about seeing professionals do the same things that I
do on the course.

"Drive a ball 50 yards into the wrong fairway? Hey, I can do that!
Blast a sand shot into the trees behind the green? I've done it! Miss a
four-footer for par? I did that yesterday … three times."

Dad enjoyed watching this weekend's festivities at Bethpage.

It was an Open with so many great story lines: Phil Mickelson returning to the game before heading off to help his wife fight breast cancer, Tiger Woods going for his 15th major win, Ricky Barnes coming from nowhere to sit atop the leaderboard after 36 holes. But none really won out.

It was Bethpage Black that emerged from this 2009 Open victorious.

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