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|The deep bunkers at Westchester Country Club will challenge players at The Barclays, the first event of the FedEx Cup. (Chris Baldwin/WorldGolf.com)|
The PGA Tour is unveiling its FedEx Cup playoffs at The Barclays Thursday, meaning Westchester Country Club in Harrison, N.Y., is the place to be for the top PGA Tour pros. Of course, that's long been the case at Westchester CC, which has been hosting a tour event since 1963.
In 2007, however, this legendary upstate New York golf course is where the PGA Tour's biggest gamble begins: the FedEx Cup playoffs. While the playoff system has had its share of detractors, don't mention that to New York golf fans, who have been watching the best the PGA has to offer take swings at Westchester.
Here's a quick look at Westchester Country Club, which is celebrating its 40th consecutive year as the host of a PGA Tour event.
Originally founded by John McEntee Bowman as a luxury resort hotel, golf was almost an afterthought, but quickly became the driving purpose for this stellar private club to the north of New York City. Bowman hired Walter Travis to design two championship courses, which opened in 1922. The result was the West Course, which is the host of the PGA Tour events, and the South Course, which was built with the recreational player in mind. The South Course was reworked in 1997 to add some heft to it.
The West Course is an imposing beast, especially for players without a PGA Tour pedigree. Even for the professional elite, it can make for a rough day. Indeed, it may play to less than 7,000 yards, but it carries with it an imposing slope rating of 140. The fun starts on the first hole, a 190-yard par 3 to a tricky green that can have the careless starting off their day with a three-putt.
Hole No. 8 at the West Course is one of the more challenging holes the pros will play on tour, a 471-yard par 4 that requires a precise drive followed by an even more precise approach. As the players continue through their 18, they'll be met with a mixture of risk-reward opportunities, holes where deft drives are necessary (like on No. 12) and tricky greens are the norm. All and all, with humidity nearly always a factor during the August tournament, the West Course at Westchester is one of the more interesting runs the PGA Tour presents its players, and with par stuck at 71, low scores will be earned as the FedEx Cup takes its first steps at The Barclays.
The name of the tournament has changed over the years, but The Barclays at Westchester Country Club has accumulated some of the greatest names in golf in its list of champions. The great Jack Nicklaus, a two-time winner of the event, beat the field at the original Westchester Classic in 1967.
Other great champions have made their mark. Arnold Palmer, Julius Boros, Johnny Miller, Seve Ballesteros (twice) and Hale Irwin all held the winner's trophy at Westchester, while current stars like Vijay Singh - a three-time winner - Ernie Els, Sergio Garcia (twice) and British Open champion Padraig Harrington have collected wins.
Aside from the golf greats, Westchester has been home to some illustrious members over the years, including Johnny Carson, Ed Sullivan and Howard Hughes.
Westchester Country Club
99 Biltmore Ave.
Rye, New York 10580
Phone: (914) 967-6000
Click here for more information on a New York golf package.
August 23, 2007
William K. Wolfrum keeps one eye on the PGA Tour and another watching golf vacation hotspots and letting travelers in on the best place to vacation. You can follow him on Twitter @Wolfrum.
Finding a golf course to play in the Sarasota/Bradenton area 45 miles south of Tampa is easy. World-ranked beaches, European-style boutique shopping and al fresco dining, and a fantastic circus museum are just a few of the choices available for off-course entertainment.
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