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Ryder Cup appears headed to Bethpage Black

Tuesday - 8/13/2013, 2:09pm  ET

Phil Mickelson smiles his he walks to the 10th green during the third round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at Oak Hill Country Club, Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013, in Pittsford, N.Y. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

DOUG FERGUSON
AP Golf Writer

PITTSFORD, N.Y. (AP) -- PGA of America president Ted Bishop recalls a Ryder Cup practice round with Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler three years ago when the conversation turned to the best courses for the matches in America.

It wasn't long before Bethpage Black was mentioned.

"Phil said, 'Would that not be the best to have the Ryder Cup at Bethpage Black?'" Bishop said last week at the PGA Championship.

Turns out the PGA was way ahead of him.

"Bethpage Black is very much on our radar screen," Bishop said. "The PGA is highly interested in having a Ryder Cup and a PGA Championship there. We feel it's a golf course that's worthy of both. We've been interested in Bethpage going back to 2009."

Two of Mickelson's record six runner-up finishes in the U.S. Open were at the public course on Long Island, but it wasn't just about him. The 2002 U.S. Open, in which Tiger Woods outlasted Mickelson on the back nine, was among the most raucous. The rain at the 2009 U.S. Open only slightly dampened the volume.

New York is the biggest market in the U.S. and has plenty of connections with Europe. From an operations standpoint, there is ample space in the state park for hospitality and other structures that have turned the Ryder Cup into the biggest show in golf.

The PGA of America was founded in New York in 1916 and has an office there. It last year hired Pete Bevacqua as its chief executive. Bevacqua not only has strong New York ties, he was the USGA's chief business officer when the U.S. Open was last held at Bethpage Black.

"We've had a great relationship with the state of New York, and it's escalated this week," Bishop said at Oak Hill. "New York is the greatest sports city in America, and the Ryder Cup is the greatest event in golf."

Bethpage Black most recently hosted The Barclays last year, and it is scheduled to return in 2016.

The Ryder Cup is going to Scotland in 2014, Hazeltine in 2016, France in 2018 and Whistling Straits in 2020. The next available date for Bethpage Black would be 2024. The next open venue for the PGA Championship is 2019.

Asked if the PGA of America was close to a deal with Bethpage Black, Bishop smiled and said, "Very close."

___

END OF THE LINE: The Wyndham Championship is not just a last chance to get into the FedEx Cup playoffs.

It's a last chance to keep a PGA Tour card.

Because of the short year ahead of the wraparound 2013-14 season that starts in October, the top 125 in the FedEx Cup and the top 125 on the PGA Tour money list will keep their cards of the new season.

That's good news for Nicolas Colsaerts and Padraig Harrington. Both are outside the top 125 in the FedEx Cup (Colsaerts at No. 127, Harrington at No. 129) but are well within 125 on the money list. Harrington's exempt status from winning two majors in 2008 runs out this year.

Steve Bowditch is No. 125 in the FedEx Cup. Even if he gets bumped, at No. 114 his playing card is set for the 2013-14 season.

Peter Hanson of Sweden, who withdrew from the British Open with a back injury, returned to have two important weeks. He tied for 33rd and earned $68,000 at Firestone, and then closed with a 68 at Oak Hill and tied for 33rd at the PGA Championship to earn just over $38,000. He now is at No. 121 on the money list, and should at least keep his card for next season.

___

HERE'S GREG?: Johnny Miller has one more year to call the U.S. Open before the USGA starts its new 12-year television contract with Fox Sports.

Golf Digest says the man replacing him could be another two-time major champion -- Greg Norman.

Norman told the magazine's website that he already has been offered the lead analyst job when Fox broadcasts the U.S. Open in 2015 at Chambers Bay. The Shark said in an email to golfdigest.com that Hill "has reached out to me, we have spoken and yes, they have offered me the job."

He said he looked forward to having discussions with Hill, whom he described as a good friend. Hill, senior vice president for News Corp., ran Fox Sports Media Group before managing "American Idol" and "X Factor."

Norman and Fox were involved in an attempt 20 years ago to start a world tour. The PGA Tour fought it and rallied players to its side, and the World Golf Championships series began about five years later.

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