FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Thousands of fans are flocking to Bethpage State Park this week for a glimpse of the best golfers in the world.
On Wednesday, many of those top players held their final practice rounds before the PGA Championship tees off Thursday morning, CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported.
Fan favorite Phil Mickelson is ready for the second major of the season. He greeted adoring crowds on Wednesday during a practice round.
“The most fun is, say they come over, you can always get autographs from them,” 9-year-old fan Michael Michel said.
The sun came out and Bethpage Black recovered just in time for Thursday’s opening round.
“It has been raining, but course looks to be in unbelievable shape,” a fan said.
The Wanamaker Trophy is ready for the winner.
“It’s a great day for golf. It’s a great day for the state of New York,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
That couldn’t be said during the first few days of practice rounds, thanks to heavy rains and bitter temperatures.
“I’m a marshal on the first hole. The first couple of days hasn’t been pretty,” one volunteer said.
Hundreds of volunteers from all over the globe are here this week helping make the PGA Championship shine.
“They come from Canada, Mexico, everywhere, and I am from Scotland,” a volunteer said.
Most volunteers pay their own travel expenses, but the state provides lodging for many here at nearby Farmingdale State College, McLogan reported.
They are on the course and ready with answers.
“How do you get to the 4th hole or the 5th hole, but generally the bathroom question is number one,” one volunteer said.
In all, 200,000 patrons will invade Bethpage State Park this week to watch in person. Millions more around the globe will tune in on TV with admired CBS Sports reporters describing the action.
“Passion is the key word, the operative word. And there is no fear of expression in New York,” Jim Nantz said.
Fans got an up-close-and-person look at PGA stars Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth on Wednesday.
“To get so close to the players, they are all so gracious with their time,” one fan said.
And the time has come for the PGA Championship at Long Island’s premier public course, Bethpage Black.
New York youths 18 and younger will be able to play a free round of golf one day this summer at any of the 28 state run public courses, including Bethpage Black.