Long Island will host some major sports events over the course of 2019, but none bigger than the PGA Championship at Bethpage State Park. Since it was announced that the Farmingdale golf course would be hosting the major, the PGA and Long Island volunteers have been working tirelessly to get the location ready before the tournament tees off on May 16. Scott Reid, the director of the PGA Championship, has been leading the effort to make sure everything is set for a wonderful event.
“I’ve ran a few different PGA Tour tournaments before,” said Reid. “A lot of the important facets of this event are the same but they are on a much grander scale. It’s kind of like a four or five time multiple with a major championship verses a regular tour event.”
Preparation for the event began with the PGA office headquarters opening up in a parking lot outside the clubhouse in July. They held a ceremony that brought Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor Joseph Saladino out to cut the ribbon to the facility. Since then, Reid has been working with Bethpage Black to set up other facilities for the tournament while putting the word out for people to buy tickets to the event.
“We had an advertising campaign all summer as we had our preregistration for tickets,” said Reid. “That really started to garner a lot of attention. We had multiple promos air during this past year’s PGA Championship. Places like Citi Field showed our advertisements during that time. As soon as that championship was over, all eyes turned to us, so the word is spreading pretty organically. People think it’s a ways away but it’s coming quickly.”
As for the work at Bethpage Black, Reid and his team have been working on the grounds for the last six months getting everything prepared. In October, the organizers for the tournament hosted an event at the course called “Taste of the PGA Championship,” a cocktail party to show off the corporate hospitality accommodations. Attendees included Rep. Peter King and New York State Senator John Flanagan.
“We built two hospitality tents on site for those who bought these packages,” said Reid. “At the party, they met with some of vendors that help make it come together, like the decor vendor or the catering company. They got to try the food and order merchandise.”
Reid and his team have spent the last few months figuring out where vendors and seating areas would go for the general public. These locations would be approved by the PGA and construction will begin sometime in February after the harshness of the winter passes by.
“The weather is going to be on our mind when we start that process,” said Reid. “Last year, we had those random spurts of snow in March and that’s around when we are going to be in the middle of our build. It’s not an obstacle yet, but it’s certainly on our mind.”
As for prep ahead of time, gravel will be laid out at certain compounds in the park for vendors to set up their stations. They will also be creating a bus terminal on one of the holes of the other golf courses at Bethpage State Park to store all the buses that come from around the Island picking people up for the tournament. While parking has been determined for the event, the PGA will be encouraging those to take the LIRR, which has partnered with them to bring patrons to the event.
“It’s going to be extremely important for the area,” said Reid. “We’ve proven over the years that the PGA Championship has brought $100 million plus to the local communities that hosted the event. We fully anticipate continuing that tradition. It’s huge for Nassau County, Long Island and the state of New York. The people of Bethpage Black have been great. They’ve been really, really good to work with. They’re all excited to bring the PGA Championship to Long Island. ”
For more information and to purchase tickets to the 101st PGA Championship, which includes practice and ground packages, visit www.pga.com/events/pgachampionship.com.