McIlroy confident of taming the Bethpage beast

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Irishman targets fifth Major Championship
Posted on
May 14, 2019
The Editorial Team in
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Rory McIlroy feels that the famous length and difficulty of Bethpage's Black Course could play into his hands this week as the Northern Irishman targets a fifth Major Championship at the US PGA Championship.

McIlroy confident of taming the Bethpage beast, © Getty Images
© Getty Images

“I think with the rain we've had the last couple of days, the length will definitely help. I'm just looking at the scorecard here, I actually wasn't sure whether we were playing it as a par 70 or 71, so par-70, the seventh hole can obviously go from a par five to a par four.

“The two times we played the PGA TOUR event here it was a par five, and then the U.S. Open it was a par four. I mean, 7,500 yards, par 70, it's a long golf course, and it plays even longer with the cold and wet conditions. Length is definitely going to be a big factor this week.”

The 30 year old has been on superb form in 2019, with a win in the Players Championship on the US PGA Tour supplemented by a runner-up finish at the WGC-Mexico Championship and six further top tens in the States.

Having claimed a top ten when the U.S. Open was played at Bethpage back in 2009, the two-time US PGA Championship winner will be on confident mood when the event – taking place in May for the first time since 1949 – gets underway at the beastly 7,459-yard par 70 course on Thursday.

"I've had a pretty good record in May. I've won a few tournaments, and I was a pretty big fan of this date change, moving this tournament back to May. I feel like going forward it'll definitely lend itself to going to some new venues. It got a little hot in August in places like Southern Hills.

“Saying that, obviously we've got to deal with a little bit of chilliness up here, but at the same time, I think it gives the PGA of America more of a variety of courses to go to, which I think is a good thing.

Francesco Molinari is also feeling fresh having played just once since missing out on a second Major title at the Masters Tournament last month, while Shane Lowry – the only Rolex Series winner of the 2019 campaign following January's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship victory – is hoping to impress having claimed his best result in golf's big four in 2018 at this event.

“I had a chunk of time off after the Masters so I've been at home practicing and trying to get ready for this week. I feel good, rested and ready to go.

“It's different playing this event in May but obviously we'll get used to it. It's the same tournament, just a different date. Condition wise it might be a little bit different, especially judging by how it's been the last few days in New York but it's still a great event just as it has been in the past.

“I think I got my first top ten in a Major in this event and obviously I've had a second place so it's been a good Major for me compared to the other three. I guess the setup of the course is pretty typical – thick rough and you need to hit fairways and greens.

“I've enjoyed the courses that we've played in the past. I played my first U.S. Open here at Bethpage in 2009 so I've been trying to work off those memories as well. It's a tough course, especially with the cold weather, it's going to play very long. But it's a great test of golf.”

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