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Long Island golf fans have something pretty amazing to look forward to in 2019: The Professional Golfer’s Association (PGA) Championship will be returning (finally!) to Long Island. One of four major PGA championships, this is the big finale of the professional golf season, which is what makes its return to our neck of the woods here in New York so exciting. The last PGA Championship to be held in New York was in Rochester in 2013, and this means that avid fans of the sport in the state (particularly in Long Island) have been patiently waiting for years for its return.
If this big news is as exciting to you as it is to the team here at Westbury Toyota, then join us as we unleash our inner golf fanatics and break down all of the implications of the PGA Championship's triumphant return to Long Island. After you've done this, you'll have all the insight and info you need to not only be abreast of the finer points of this announcement, but to also have a complete understanding of how important having this event back in Long Island is to our local community.
A surprising turn of events with the return of the PGA Championship to New York is the fact that the 2019 competition will be taking place in May for the first time in 70 years. This change in the tournament calendar places it near the beginning of the professional season, as opposed to the end as has been the norm for years.
Going a step further, the altered schedule coincides with the reintroduction of golf into the Olympics. In fact, it's probably safe to say that golf becoming an Olympic sport (again) created an opportunity that the PGA was more than eager to seize – and that paved the way for the decision to bring the PGA Championship back to our local area.
"The landscape of golf is changing and it’s changing because of the Olympics."– Pete Bavacqua, CEO of PGA America
According to Reuter's Andrew Both, May provides a more powerful date for the Championship, which the PGA feels is in the best interests of the sport. As an added bonus, moving this event from August to May and returning it to Long Island has also created a ripple effect throughout the PGA calendar, providing more convenient timelines for the other major championships.
The switch from the end of summer to the beginning is a move that’s not just popular among the PGA's upper management and avid fans, it's also being praised by the sport’s professionals. Those that have weighed in have emphasized that they approve of the change. Among the reasons cited, as reported by Both, are cooler weather and the fact that the PGA can now consider venues in the southern United States (U.S.) that were previously off the table. Players are also applauding the Championship’s rescheduling because it means that there's now one major event per month starting from March until the end of the season.
"It's going to kind of space everything out a little bit more instead of it all being kind of crammed together. So it gives you a little bit more time to prepare."– Dustin Johnson, American professional golfer
Diehard Long Island golfers will be familiar with all five courses within Bethpage State Park, including the most difficult: Bethpage Black. The PGA Championship in 2019 will be held at the Bethpage Black Course, which was rated by Golf Digest in 2008 as the sixth most difficult course in the United States. Bethpage Black is no stranger to major PGA tournaments – it hosted the U.S. Open in both 2002 and 2009, as well as The Barclays (the first of the FedEx Cup competitions) in 2012 and 2016.
The Bethpage State Park Golf Courses are frequently hailed as being among the most beautiful golf courses in the U.S. – and for good reason! Bethpage Black in particular showcases some of the outdoor aesthetics that Long Island is famous for, including scenic tree lines. Whereas Long Island’s terrain is typically flat, the Bethpage Black course introduces golfers to gently rolling hills augmented by the immaculate grass of the fairways and greens.
Bethpage Black isn’t just a course that’s visually stunning to look at – it’s also a very challenging one to play. As Newsday's Mark Herrmann points out, golf professionals have praised the course’s difficulty and design because it offers them a true challenge. There’s no question that this course will fulfill its end of the bargain when it comes to the 2019 Championship; long, demanding, and cleverly designed, Bethpage Black is going to give the best golfers the PGA has to offer all that they can handle when they arrive here in Long Island.
Obviously, an event like the PGA Championship doesn’t come along to our area every year. In 2019, Long Island will have the privilege and opportunity to witness one of the biggest professional golfing events while showcasing its own brand of picturesque scenery and famed hospitality. We at Westbury Toyota are thrilled at the prospect of the PGA Championship returning to our area, and we’ll be excited to watch along with our friends and family here in the greater Long Island area in May of 2019 when the PGA’s crown jewel tournament finally returns to Bethpage Black.