And it’s ok! Really.
For three simple reasons: spring conditions, simple greens and huge changes in the game.
As Jim Nantz and Nick Faldo noted in this week’s CBS call to promote the new May date for the PGA Championship, the combination of spring conditions and more rain the weekend before means rough is likely to be inconsistent. While long and playing long due to cool conditions, the course should be soft.
But as Tom Dunne notes for Golfweek, Bethpage Black was meant to be a beast from the start and has largely maintained that reputation. (I’m sure it’ll still give players some fits but do remember that the 265-yard carry off the 10th tee in 2002 was understandably controversial. Today, it would take a major wind to restore that fear factor. )
Another factor worth watching: the relatively simple greens. In recent years hole locations have been in some astounding places to protect scoring but a soft Bethpage hasn’t many places to hide the holes. So even if the greens are slower than players like and maybe a little bumpy by day’s end, the lack of complexity in the green complexes makes the place more vulnerable.
So it will be interesting to see how the place’s reputation is viewed if the players score well in this PGA. It shouldn’t matter one bit. Because we all know the place has taken on a lot of water and will do so again all day Monday (100% chance of rain). But this is The Black and the good people of Long Island want their course to extract pain!
Oh and here is how things looked Sunday out there: