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Liberty National; Phil Loves It, Tiger Hates It

by Jeff Skinner

I was wondering, as Lady Liberty stood by and watched the PGA Tour start its third “playoff” season at The Barclays if she was thinking “Who are these guys?” Tiger and Phil were both five strokes back of the leaders at one under and the leaders were probably unfamiliar to Miss Liberty and most of the casual fans strolling around Liberty National. Paul Goydos, Steve Marino and Sergio Garcia are all tied for the lead at six under. Can you guess who has the highest FedEx Cup points ranking of the leaders? I’m sure you knew it was Steve Marino. These points are a strange thing and after day one there were plenty of golfers with low point totals near the top. Marino is 30th, Goydos 49th, Garcia 89th, tied for fourth are Webb Simpson 85th, Frederik Jacobson 107th and Heath Slocum at 124th. Oh, the joys of a day one leader board. Where are our major champions? Stewart Cink is T27, Y E Yang is T42, Angel Cabrera is T57 and Lucas Glover is T94. I know it is only day one but that a pretty poor showing for the 2009 major champs.
The reviews of the three year old Liberty National are mixed and many players refusing to discuss the course. John Hawkins exposes the player’s underlying distain for the course in Golf World.
“Even those who consider Liberty National unfit for a tour event, much less a tournament of this magnitude, are blown away by the aesthetics.”It’s like this beautiful birthday cake you bring into the room and slice into pieces, everyone takes a bite and realizes there’s [bleep] inside,” is how one player put it, a quote that earned the award for creative criticism of the day among the two dozen or so tour pros and caddies I spoke with Wednesday.”
According to Hawkins there are other reasons the Tour is playing here: “Beyond all that, however, is the issue of why the tour is playing here. The Liberty National deal was agreed upon before the Westchester fallout, the idea being that this FedEx Cup playoff event would move around the New York area. The course couldn’t have been open even for a year at that point, which suggests this deal was built on something other than the best interests of the competitive standard.”
I think it is easy to understand why the PGA Tour is at Liberty National. They want a presence in the New York Metro area and Liberty National is the closest club to Manhattan, even though it is in New Jersey. The course may well be a dog, but those views of the Statue of Liberty and the New York skyline are worth a million or two television viewers. From the looks of things on the broadcast you would think you were in New York City, not an old dumpsite in New Jersey.

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