Bethpage black course

The Black Course at Bethpage State Park, New York

Home of the 2019 The PGA Championship

   The warning sign attached to a waist-high iron fence overlooking the first tee is there for a reason. The Black Course at Bethpage State Park is an extremely difficult course, recommended only for highly skilled golfers.

The public course is strong enough to have hosted the U.S. Open twice and now gets a PGA Championship.

A look at the four previous times Bethpage Black has held premium golf events:

TOURNAMENT: 2002 U.S. Open

WINNER: Tiger Woods

SCORE: 277

RUNNER-UP: Phil Mickelson

MARGIN: 3 shots

RECAP: The U.S. Open went to a state-run public course for the first time and Tiger Woods turned it into his private domain. Woods won his second major of the year, putting him halfway to the calendar Grand Slam, with a wire-to-wire victory at Bethpage Black. He started the final round with a four-shot lead over Sergio Garcia, who faded quickly. Phil Mickelson was five shots behind and was closing in when Woods hit 2-iron onto the green at the par-5 13th to set up a birdie, and Mickelson bogeyed two holes near the end. Woods finished with two bogeys over the last three holes for a 2-over 72, the first time he won a major with a final round over par.

NOTABLE: The victory gave Woods seven of the last 11 majors.

QUOTABLE: ''I don't think anyone realizes how tough it is to win a major championship.'' - Tiger Woods.

TOURNAMENT: 2009 U.S. Open

WINNER: Lucas Glover

SCORE: 276

RUNNER-UP: Phil Mickelson, David Duval and Ricky Barnes

MARGIN: 2 shots

RECAP: The return to Bethpage Black turned into a week of mud, muck and endless rain delays that led to a Monday finish. The course was so soft that Mike Weir opened with a 64, Glover shot 64 in the second round and three other players had rounds of 65. Barnes broke the 36-hole record at 132. But it turned tough at the end. Barnes reached double digits under par in the third round and at one point had a six-shot lead until he began to cave. Mickelson, the only player at par or better all four rounds, made a late charge until he missed a short putt on the 15th. Glover closed with a 3-over 73 and played the 18th hole with a 6-iron off the tee and a 9-iron to the green for a two-putt par. Tiger Woods, who fell 10 shots behind after opening with a 74, tied for sixth, four shots behind.

NOTABLE: Glover made only one birdie in the final round, on the 16th hole to take the lead.

QUOTABLE: ''I just looked at the scoreboard to make sure this was really happening.'' - Lucas Glover.

TOURNAMENT: 2012 Barclays

WINNER: Nick Watney

SCORE: 278

RUNNER-UP: Brandt Snedeker

MARGIN: 3 shots

RECAP: Watney turned a two-shot deficit against Sergio Garcia into a three-shot lead in a decisive four-hole stretch around the turn, and kept everyone at least two shots away the rest of the round. He closed with a 2-under 69 and a two-shot victory to capture the opening FedEx Cup playoff event. Garcia, coming off a victory the previous week in the Wyndham Champion, shot 75 in the final round. Dustin Johnson closed with a 68 and tied for third with Garcia. Tiger Woods, who led the FedEx Cup going into the postseason, shot 72-76 on the weekend and tied for 38th, 11 shots out of the lead. It was only the third time all year Woods finished over par. The other two were majors.

NOTABLE: The second round was the first time Woods showed signs of back problems. He grimaced as he walked and struggled just to retrieve the ball from the cup. Woods blamed it on a soft mattress in his hotel.

QUOTABLE: ''I made more putts than I made all year.'' - Nick Watney.

TOURNAMENT: 2016 Barclays

WINNER: Patrick Reed

SCORE: 275

RUNNER-UP: Sean O'Hair and Emiliano Grillo

MARGIN: 1 shot

RECAP: Patrick Reed won his only tournament of the year at just the right time. He rallied from an early two-shot deficit and closed with a 1-under 70 to win the FedEx Cup playoff opener. Along with having a clear shot at the $10 million FedEx Cup bonus, The Barclays was the final tournament to automatically qualify for the Ryder Cup team, and Reed's victory assured him a spot on the U.S. team for Hazeltine. Rickie Fowler had a one-shot lead going into the final round and had gone 55 straight holes without a bogey until the 11th hole, which cost him the lead. Needing a third-place finish to earn a spot on the team, Fowler missed a 4-foot par putt on the 15th and made double bogey on the 16th. He tied for seventh and wound up making the team as a captain's pick.

NOTABLE: Phil Mickelson had 72-hole scores of 280 and 278 in the U.S. Opens at Bethpage Black and both times was runner-up. He finished at 285 and 281 in the two PGA Tour events at Bethpage, never cracking the top 10.

QUOTABLE: ''Everyone's been talking about the Ryder Cup. If you go and win, it takes care of everything else.'' - Patrick Reed.


     A hole-by-hole look at the Black Course at Bethpage State Park, site of the 101st PGA Championship to be played May 16-19. Includes combined rank and scoring average of each hole from the 2002 and 2009 U.S. Opens:

No. 1

430 yards, par 4: The opening shot from an elevated tee bends to the right, with a cluster of trees on the right blocking any approach that takes on too much of the bend. The left side allows for a better angle to the green that features a bunker on the front right. The front third of the green slopes sharply, so anything short or with too much spin could roll off the green. This is the smallest green on the course.

Rank: 11.

Scoring average: 4.18

No. 2

389 yards, par 4: This is the only par 4 under 400 yards, featuring an elevated tee shot and then a short iron to an elevated green. The fairway bends to the left between trees on both sides. The left side of the green falls off sharply, while the right side is protected by deep bunkers.

Rank: 14.

Scoring average: 4.14.

No. 3

230 yards, par 3: The shallow green is angled from back left to front right, with bunkers on the left side so deep that players will only be able to see the top part of the flag stick. Anything long will drop off severely behind the green.

Rank: 9.

Scoring average: 3.20

No. 4

517 yards, par 5: A tiny, sloping green awaits you. While short by par 5 standards, it features a green some 50 feet above the landing zone for tee shots. The fairway bends to the left around a cluster of bunkers. The cross bunkers only come into play if someone misses the fairway into thick rough. The elevated green is protected by a series of bunkers. The safe play for those going for the green in two will be to the right, setting up an easy pitch.

Rank: 18.

Scoring average: 4.88.

No. 5

478 yards, par 4: Massive cross bunkers hug the right side of the hole, though they can be carried by the longest hitters. The ideal play is down the right side because trees cover a ridge along the left side. The green is small and well-bunkered.

Rank: 5.

Scoring average: 4.41.

No. 6

408 yards, par 4: A straightforward hole, with large bunkers making the fairway appear even more narrow. The fairway drops some 20 feet. Driver is a bold play to get down to the lower portion and leave a wedge to a small green surrounded by bunkers.

Rank: 13.

Scoring average: 4.15.

No. 7

524 yards, par 4: This plays as a par 5 during public play. The tee shot is fairly straight before it turns to the right, with tall trees down the right preventing players from taking off too much of the dogleg. The approach is a long iron to a green that is not elevated and will allow the ball to run onto the green. A large bunker guards the right side, with a small one to the left.

Rank: 4.

Scoring average: 4.42.

No. 8

210 yards, par 3: From an elevated tee, the green is guarded in the front by a pond, with large bunkers on the left that really only come into play for back pin positions. A tall oak and a steep dune are to the right of the hole. The bank in front of the green is shaved, meaning anything short is likely to roll into the water. The green has a ridge that could serve as a backboard.

Rank: 8.

Scoring average: 3.23.

No. 9

460 yards, par 4: The hole bends to the left with a large bunker complex on the left side of the landing area. Playing short of the bunkers leaves a longer shot from a contoured fairway with a limited view of the green. Two deep bunkers protect the front of a relatively flat green.

Rank: 15.

Scoring average: 4.10.

No. 10

502 yards, par 4: A far tougher start for those teeing off on the back nine during the opening two rounds. It's a straightaway hole that requires a strong tee shot to get to fairway. Anything left will find tall fescue, bunkers or hollows. The elevated green is guarded by bunkers.

Rank: 3.

Scoring average: 4.43.

No. 11

435 yards, par 4: A blind tee shot to a fairway tucked between dunes should favor the right side for a better angle into the most severe green on the course. The putting surface has a false front, causing problems for any putt or chip from beyond the hole. Bunkers protect the front part of the green.

Rank: 7.

Scoring average: 4.26.

No. 12

515 yards, par 4: Arguably the toughest tee shot on the Black Course, players can hit driver over cross bunkers to shorten the hole, or play safely out to the right of the bunkers. Any drive hit too straight could run through the fairway into the rough. The second shot is straightforward to a large green with severe undulations.

Rank: 2.

Scoring average: 4.48.

No. 13

608 yards, par 5: The longest hole is made slightly easier because it is straight and reachable in two by long hitters on firm turf. A large bunker on the left is in play off the tee, while cross bunkers some 30 yards short of the green will be a problem for anything that comes up short. The green slopes slightly from back to front, with a bunker to the right among the deepest on the course.

Rank: 16.

Scoring average: 4.96

No. 14

161 yards, par 3: The shortest hole on the course is the only par 3 that played under par in the two U.S. Opens. The short iron is over a valley to a green that slopes from back to front and from right to left, with a shelf on the top. Gaping bunkers will grab any shot that comes up slightly short. This is the second straight birdie chance before the tough finish on the other side of the road.

Rank: 17.

Scoring average: 2.94.

No. 15

484 yards, par 4: The hole bends to the left and climbs up a steep hill over the final 180 yards to an elevated green that is protected in front by deep bunkers. Anyone missing the fairway likely won't reach the green from the rough, or be able to hold the green. The green is 50 feet above the fairway with two tiers that slope from the back left to the front right.

Rank: 1.

Scoring average: 4.54.

No. 16

490 yards, par 4: The tee shot drops some 60 feet down to a narrow fairway that angles from left to right and can be tough to hit because of the elevated tee. The hole bends gently to the left. A sprawling bunker is short and right of the green, with another bunker to the left. This is one of the few holes where the green can be seen from the tee box.

Rank: 6.

Scoring average: 4.29

No. 17

207 yards, par 3: The slightly elevated green is 43 yards wide and is divided by a spine through the middle, effectively making two greens. A deep bunker guards the front of the green, with other bunkers catching shots that are right, long and left.

Rank: 10.

Scoring average: 3.18.

No. 18

411 yards, par 4: Among major championship venues in the U.S. over the last two decades, only Olympic Club has a shorter closing hole. The tee shot is downhill to a narrow fairway that threads a large cluster of bunkers and fescue on both sides. Players can stay short of the bunkers and only have 160 yards to an elevated green that slopes severely from back to front. Lucas Glover hit 6-iron off the tee and had 9-iron to the green when he won the 2009 U.S. Open.

Rank: 12.

Scoring average: 4.17


Staff - All Access Sporting News

 Source: PGA; BethPageStatePark; AASNSports

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