NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The PGA Championship is coming to Long Island, and that means major preparations are needed to handle the big crowds.
A week from Monday, practice rounds begin and Bethpage Black will be jumping with more than 200,000 patrons expected, reports CBSN New York’s Jennifer McLogan.
On the heels of Tiger Woods’ Masters victory, anticipation for the tournament starting on May 16 is at an all-time high.
The weekend is officially sold out. The majestic course that straddles both Nassau and Suffolk counties is revered and respected by the best in golf.
Crowds are expected to be massive and road closures surrounding the course will be in effect. Free shuttle services provided, and patrons have to leave their cars at Jones Beach or take the LIRR to Bethpage.
For almost two years, 400 state and local police forces joined federal agents to work on safety and security.
“I think this is going to be one of the most crowded championships we’ve seen,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. “We’ve hosted championships before, last year we did as well with the U.S. Open. This is going to be huge. The excitement around it, the fact that it’s at Bethpage, a public course, it just ads to the excitement.
“People want to know, is Tiger Woods going to follow up?” he said. “He won here in 2002, can he do it again?”
The fact that a public course is hosting the championship is also a big draw for people.
“They love playing the same course that professional golfers play at a reasonable rate,” said George Gorman of the New York State parks. “It’s a state park, a state rate, that is phenomenal We hear it all the time from golfers here at Bethpage, ‘Wow, this is the course that Tiger Woods played.’”
Several items will be banned from being carried in, including selfie sticks, big chairs, booze, food and cameras. Cell phones must be in golf mode setting, meaning on silent or vibrate. One unopened bottle of water per person will be allowed.