Glover thinks Bethpage Black will be a great test for The Barclays

Lucas Glover won the U.S. Open at Bethpage Black in 2009.
June 29, 2011
Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM Chief of Correspondents

Lucas Glover has a standing invitation to play Bethpage Black whenever he wants. And he won't have to sleep in his car to get a tee time, either.

The man who won the 2009 U.S. Open on the A.W. Tillinghast masterpiece might want to get in a practice round or two at the public gem before next August, too. That's when the Black Course becomes part of the rotation for The Barclays, which annually kicks off the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup.

Bethpage Black joins Liberty National, Ridgewood Country Club and Plainfield Country Club in the tournament's rota. When Plainfield welcomes the PGA TOUR Aug. 25-28 for this year's Barclays, it will become the third of the four venues to host the event.

The Black Course, which was home to the 2002 and '09 U.S. Opens, will make its Barclays debut next year.

"I think it's great, obviously," Glover said. "If it's good enough to host a major championship, it should be good enough for a TOUR event. It's got everything you could ever want in a golf course.

"It's got character. It's tough. And having it be a public course is very good -- for it to be that good and that difficult, and for the public to have access is great."

The Black is the showcase of the five courses at Bethpage State Park on Long Island. In 2002, when Tiger Woods beat Phil Mickelson by three strokes, it was the first public course to ever host a U.S. Open.

Tee times are so sought-after that golfers queue up in their cars in the wee hours of the morning in hopes of getting one of the coveted spots later that day. No carts are permitted and there is an onimous warning sign on the first tee.

"The Black Course Is An Extremely Difficult Course Which We Recommend Only For Highly Skilled Golfers."

Glover was just such a golfer that rainy week in June in 2009. He opened with rounds of 69 and 64 and was one stroke off the lead at the halfway point of the tournament. After a third-round 70, Glover still trailed Ricky Barnes by the same margin.

Mother Nature had been cranky all week, and the final round was carried over until Monday. Glover lost three strokes to par in the first nine holes but clawed his way back into the championship with a stretch of solid pars on the inward nine. He eventually made birdie on the 16th to beat Barnes, Mickelson and David Duval by two strokes.

"Every hole represents a different test," Glover recalled. "It's long and hard. ... It tests every part of your game. For an Open, or the Playoffs, it's a great venue."

Glover said the key to prospering at the Black Course is getting off to a good start. Nos. 1 and 2 are two of the shorter par 4s on the course, and the fourth is a 517-yard par 5. "If you hit good tee balls, there are opportunities," Glover said.

The 10th and 12th, conversely, are two extremely stout par 4s which played to 508 and 504 yards, respectively, during the Open. "They are very pivotal," Glover noted. "They are extremely long and difficult.

"And then once you get across the street, 15, 16, 17 and 18 are as much as you want. It's going to be a great test for us,"

Glover hasn't been back to Bethpage Black since he won the U.S. Open, which was the second of his three TOUR victories, the last coming earlier this year at the Wells Fargo Championship. His defense of his first major championship actually came at Pebble Beach.

"Other than the Masters, you don't get that opportunity the next year," Glover said. "So it will be cool to go back there. I had heard through the grapevine that it was gong to be in the rotation so I am looking forward to it."