David Fay is a former Executive Director of the USGA and is credited with bringing the U.S. Open to the Black Course at Bethpage State Park. Fay dreamed that Bethpage Black, a municipal course on Long Island in New York, could one day become a venue for the U.S. Open. Fay lived in the New York area when he was growing up and he had played Bethpage Black a number of times so he knew how great the course was.
The USGA does a lot of important things but one of the most important ones is hosting the U.S. Open. At the request of a close friend who asked him to consider Bethpage Black as a future U.S. Open venue, he went to Bethpage and walked the course. By the 4th hole he knew that the potential existed and he began to work on bringing the U.S. Open to Bethpage by lobbying USGA officials as well as New York state officials. The fact that the 2002 U.S. Open came on the heels of 9/11 made it even more poignant.
Initially, many people thought that it was ridiculous idea to bring a U.S. Open to Bethpage Black in large part because of the bad condition of the course and the lack of infrastructure. However, many people with the USGA knew that the course had a lot of strengths including a great design and once it was determined that the course could be brought up to a U.S. Open standard, Fay began to make progress with his dream which would eventually come true.
It was very important to Fay that New York State freeze the greens fees for in-state residents because a danger of bringing a U.S. Open to a municipal course is the temptation to double or even triple greens fees in order to make more money. Such a decision would alienate the golfers that made Bethpage such a great course in the first place.
Fay feels that Bethpage Black is too special of a golf course not to host more Major Championships and while he could see a U.S. Open returning there in the 2020’s, he does not see it returning there before then because the USGA has been playing and will play in the near future a lot of U.S. Opens in the New York and New Jersey area. It would certainly be an ideal situation to have Bethpage Black host a Ryder Cup one day but he does feel that Bethpage Black will host a third U.S. Open. He added that he hoped that Shinnecock Hills and Bethpage Black would be part of a U.S. Open rotation as they are perfect great representatives of both private and public golf courses in the New York/New Jersey area.
His position on long putters has not changed that much over the years. A Golf Digest article in 1966 featured Paul Runyan talking about using the long putter back in 1930’s and there were pictures showing how Runyan used the putters. He does not feel that long putters or even anchoring the putter is a great threat to the game of golf but he does agree with the idea that there should be some nerves involved in the putting stroke which anchoring significantly impacts.
Golf courses in the northeast play differently in August than they do in June due to the differences in weather so he is really looking forward to seeing how Bethpage Black plays this week in The Barclays. Fay anticipates a lot of great storylines this week and he is happy to see Bethpage Black hosting championship golf at the highest level.
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