Crafty course set-up


FARMINGDALE, N.Y. – One of the goals the USGA had in setting up the Black Course at Bethpage State Park for this week's U.S. Open was to introduce more risk-reward. Two prime examples of this are the par-3 8th and par-3 14th holes. The green on the 8th hole was brought down to the pond's edge, and the bank in front of the green shaved down so that anyone who flirts with the front-pin location and errors slightly risks going in the water. 'You would have to hit a horrendous shot in '02 to hit it in the pond,' said Mike Davis, the USGA's director of rules and competition, referring to the 2002 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black. 'It's in play now.'
The hole will play anywhere from 135 yards to 230 yards, depending on whether they use the back tee location or not. Davis said you can expect the tees to be up when they're using the front hole location so players will challenge the pin.
The green on the 158-yard 14th hole was enlarged to create three new hole locations that they didn't have in '02. Two will be on the back tier, which is where the pin was during Monday's practice round, and one in the new front left tongue which players will likely fire at with a pitching wedge.
'Where we can do it, we want to give players a choice,' said Davis. 'Do you want to play conservative, or do you want to play more aggressive? And, if you go for the latter and pull it off, we want you to be rewarded with a birdie, perhaps even an eagle. But if you do try it, and you don't pull it off, we want to see you penalized.'