JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) The trucks loaded with materials started arriving at Liberty National Golf Club a couple of weeks ago. Preparations for the Presidents Cup in late September have started.
The flooring is down, the media center is almost finished and the scaffolds for the stands around the first tee were up on Monday.
It’s roughly 100 days and counting until the United States takes on the International Team on a course that offers tremendous views of the New York City skyline and the Statue of Liberty.
If you watched Brooks Koepka win the U.S. Open at Erin Hills in Wisconsin over the weekend, Liberty National has some similar characteristics. It’s long at 7,387 yards. The fairways are a little narrower and they are lined with that troublesome fescue. The greens are undulating and there are runoff areas to the sides of them.
Add in a wind off the harbor that blows one way in the morning and another way in the afternoon, and water that runs the length of some holes, and it should be fun to watch, especially in match play.
This will be the third major event at the course, which is now managed by the PGA. The Barclays was held there in 2009 and ’13.
”We want it to be a great challenge for the best players in the world, considering the conditions, including the wind, moisture level and the format, too,” Derek Sprague, managing director for the PGA at the site, said Monday. ”The fescue, the rough and the greens will all be the same regardless of the format. We can change the tees and the pin placements, but the conditioning will be pretty much the same.”
One thing that is going to change: how the holes are numbered on the course designed by Tom Kite and Bob Cupp.
In an attempt to bring the signature holes into play every round, No. 5 will serve as the first hole in the competition and everything will follow. No. 6 is the second hole and so on.
Matches that go 18 holes will have a somewhat odd finish because two of the final three holes will be par 3s.
With the course starting at No. 5, there will be four par 5s on the front side and only one par 3, which will play at 250 yards.
The back side will have three par 3s and no par 5s.
”Having had two FedEx playoff events here, the Barclays in 2009 and `13, it’s pretty recent. So it is fresh in our minds where we will put things and what were good holes for viewing,” Sprague said. ”We’re in good shape in that regard.”
For the next three months, workers will transform the $250 million club co-founded by Paul and Dan Fireman into a small city that will have 25,000 spectators on each of the four days of play, plus volunteers, vendors and corporate hospitality.
The United States has won the Presidents Cup six straight times, winning the last 15+ -14+ in South Korea in 2015. It was the closest competition in 10 years.