Bethpage Seen As Inspired Ryder Cup Venue; Bishop Addresses Timing Of Fox-USGA News
The idea of Bethpage Black hosting the Ryder Cup in '24 is "a stroke of genius," according to John Paul Newport of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Unlike at "more staid PGA Tour events, it's not considered poor form at Ryder Cup matches for fans to wave flags, don costumes and actively root for one side and against the other." However, PGA of America CEO Pete Bevacqua yesterday said that a report the course would host the '19 PGA Championship as well as the '24 Ryder Cup was "premature." Bevacqua said, "Nothing to this point has been finalized." But he "didn't deny the report, either." Bevacqua: "I don't think it's any secret that the PGA of America is a big fan of Bethpage. It's obviously a facility we've had our eye on." Newport notes the USGA staged both the '02 and the '09 U.S. Opens at Bethpage Black, and those events were "so popular and successful ... that one wonders how or why the PGA snatched Bethpage away from the USGA." Golf historian Philip Young believes that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who was state attorney general in '09, "may have played a role." After several rain delays, Cuomo "demanded, both behind the scenes and in the media, that the USGA offer fans refunds for their tickets or free admission on Monday, when most of the final round was played." The USGA did, but Young said that the incident "damaged relations between Bethpage and the USGA" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 8/14). In N.Y., Brett Cyrgalis notes Bethpage Black will host the '16 Barclays, one of the PGA Tour FedExCup events, but "once the deal with the PGA goes through" for the PGA and Ryder Cup, "the state won't pursue the Barclays" in '20 (N.Y. POST, 8/14).
GENTLEMEN'S GAME? The USGA announced its new 12-year deal with Fox the night before the PGA Championship began last week, but PGA of America President Ted Bishop said there was nothing outside of the tournament "that disrupted what we felt like was an important week in major golf." Bishop, appearing on the Back9Network, said, "We survived something there in the middle of the week that had no impact on our championship whatsoever." With the USGA holding the U.S. Amateur Championship this week, Bishop refuted the reports about Bethpage, saying, "There's no way the PGA of America would make an announcement on where a future Ryder Cup and PGA Championship site would be. ... We wouldn't want to be a distraction to any of our ally associations." Bishop said he was "absolutely insulted" at the suggestion that his organization would leak the Bethpage news during the U.S. Amateur. Back9Network's Matt Adams asked, "Is there an unspoken rule among golf governing bodies that when they have an event going on that's so important that you kind of leave it alone?" Bishop replied, "Well, obviously there's not. There's not at least within the circle of one of golf's governing bodies. But I don't think anybody would have made that announcement during The Masters. I don't think that the USGA would have that announcement during the Open Championship and I can unequivocally tell you that the PGA of America would not make any kind of major announcement that would upstage any one of our major championship partners nor the PGA Tour" ("Fairways of Life," Back9Network, 8/13).