Americans Rickie Fowler and Phil Mickelson were playing a practice round at the 2010 Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor Resort when Mickelson proposed a dream scenario: “Can you imagine what a phenomenal Ryder Cup venue Bethpage Black would be?” he said.
“Can you imagine how crazy the New York fans would be?”
Fowler didn’t take long to consider. “It would be the greatest home-field advantage the U.S. team could ever hope for,” he said.
Nearly three years later, on Sept. 17, 2013, the PGA of America announced that in addition to Bethpage State Park’s Black Course hosting the 2019 PGA Championship, the course known as “the people’s country club” would also be the site of the 2024 Ryder Cup.
Mickelson praised the selection after completing his round yesterday.
“It’s the best site host site I could possibly think of,” Mickelson said.
“You look at the way it is for a PGA Championship and you can only imagine what it will be like for a Ryder Cup.”
Rowdy, raucous, and potentially discourteous, if I were to garner a guess. It wasn’t love at first sight for Englishman Eddie Pepperell this week.
Ranked No. 33 in the world, Pepperell missed the cut (76-75--151) and failed to make a single birdie in 36 holes.
“I just hope I’m not on the team,” he told Golf.com before he hit the road. “I think after this performance, I won’t be on the team. That’s certain.
"Whoever picks me must be placing a bet, a dodgy bet. I might be retired by then.”
If Pepperell manages to return to Bethpage Black as a member of the European 12 in 2024, he likely will face a completely different course setup for the biennial competition.
The set up this week for the PGA mimicked that of Le Golf National in France, where the Euros narrowed the fairways and grew the rough thick for the 2018 Ryder Cup to exploit the lack of driving accuracy by the Americans.
Expect the Black to present wide fairways and pins in the middle of the greens for more birdie opportunities at the 2024 Ryder Cup. That would be just fine with Rory McIlroy, he said.
“I think the fans would like to see a few more birdies,” McIlroy said. “I would say that for match play, it should be a little more of a generous setup, I would think.”
“There’s no way they will set it up like this for the Ryder Cup,” Graeme McDowell said.
"We’re getting to the point where it is they’ll beat us up in America and we’ll beat them up in Europe and does anyone want to see that? No. We want to see great contested golf where the best teams wins.
"It’s a fantastic event and should continue to go from strength to strength.”
The crowds that will cheer on America’s 12-man squad will certainly rival those of Hazeltine in 2016 and could be the largest ever to attend a Ryder Cup.
The combination of the importance placed on the competition and passion of the Ryder Cup, which is off the charts to begin with, and you hold it at a place like Bethpage and prepare for something bordering on controlled chaos.
They might need a warning sign on the first tee to beware of the crazies. After all, some of the Europeans complained of a few bad eggs spoiling the basket at Hazeltine National in Minnesota when the Americans last hosted the competition in 2016.
“I know it’s going to be loud, let’s put it that way,” said Ryder Cup veteran Henrik Stenson. “It could potentially be the loudest Ryder Cup in history, maybe not always in the best way.”
“It will be intimidating,” Englishman Paul Casey said. “It’s like a 13th man for the U.S.”
Mickelson called the fan support “entertaining,” and said he’d like nothing more than to be part of the spectacle.
It has been assumed to be something of a forgone conclusion that Mickelson will serve as the American Ryder Cup captain.
“I haven’t looked that far down the road,” said Mickelson downplaying such a scenario and with dreams of still playing in the competition running through his head.
The bigger question is who will be calling the shots for the European squad when they contend with America’s 13th man?
“Mickelson obviously is going to be the American captain,” McDowell said. “I’d bet a lot of dollars that Poulter will be our captain. I think he wants it here. It suits his personality.
"He loves the love-hate thing. He loves to be loved and he loves to be hated. He thrives on those conditions.”
A Ryder Cup with the likes of Mickelson and Poulter at the helm? What a time to be alive.
It can’t be 2024 soon enough.