Former PGA President Ted Bishop is given his rightful credit for his role in the idea to bring the PGA Championship and a Ryder Cup to Bethpage Black after the USGA had decided to pass on future U.S. Opens here. Former PGA CEO Pete Bevacqua and his team also deserve credit for getting the deal done, but as Herrmann writes, the idea started with Bishop:
Bishop was the PGA of America’s secretary, in line to be president, in September 2010 when he met at the park with state officials. The U.S. Golf Association had given up on Bethpage after two rain-drenched U.S. Opens. The PGA Tour had yet to hold its two FedEx Cup playoff events there (which turned out to be poorly attended).
“The future of championships at Bethpage, at the point we started talking, was obviously in doubt,” Bishop said from The Legends, the club in Franklin, Indiana, that he runs, serves as head pro and now is superintendent, too. “I knew about the concerns that everybody who loves Bethpage had, with funding and maintaining conditions going forward.”
Despite the USGA having pulled out, Bishop chose to dive in. His confidence was confirmed during a practice round for the 2010 Ryder Cup in Wales, when he was on the 18th fairway with Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler. “Just out of the blue,” he said, “they started talking about Ryder Cup venues and Phil says to Fowler, 'Can you imagine the home course advantage that we would have if they ever played this Ryder Cup at Bethpage.' "
The piece goes on to explain why Bishop isn’t here this week—hint, hint, the hard working PGA Board of Directors stripped him of his PGA status and celebrated the brilliant idea to return to Bethpage with some Hampton’s golf.