>April 25, 2008
At a New Barclays Venue, Hoping for More Exposure
By BILL FINLEY
PARAMUS, N.J. — This northern New Jersey city is more than shopping malls. Paramus will host its first PGA Tour event in August when The Barclays comes to the Ridgewood Country Club.
Ridgewood is nestled among the town’s many malls and is just off the Garden State Parkway and Route 17, but it is an oasis in an otherwise bustling borough. Founded in 1890, it has hosted a number of major golf events, including the 2001 Senior P.G.A. Championship, the 1935 Ryder Cup and the 1974 United States Amateur. The list will officially grow Aug. 18 when The Barclays, the first of four events in the 2008 PGA Tour playoffs for the FedEx Cup, begins.
The Barclays had been played at the Westchester Country Club in Harrison, N.Y., since its inception in 1967. According to Rick George, the chief of operations for the PGA Tour, it was decided the event would benefit from a change of scenery.
“Moving an event around to different clubs in a market can be very beneficial and that was kind of the thought process when we were looking at sites to host the event,” George said. “In Ridgewood Country Club, we felt this area would embrace this event as far as the crowd, the gallery and the corporate response. We made a decision that we thought would give this tournament a chance to be even more successful.”
Ridgewood is a 27-hole course that is divided into three nine-hole courses. The Barclays will be contested on what is called the Championship Course, a hybrid consisting of holes from each of the three courses.
“I look forward to the best players in the world playing one of the best golf courses in the world,” David Reasoner, Ridgewood’s head golf professional, said.
The 2009 Barclays will be played at Liberty National in Jersey City. The PGA Tour has not determined where it will be afterward. There have been discussions about the event eventually returning to Westchester.
Tiger Woods did not play at the 2007 Barclays, saying at the time that he was physically and mentally drained. When Woods made the announcement, there was some speculation that he opted out of the tournament because he did not like the course at the Westchester Country Club. It is unclear whether he will compete this year, but Tour officials are optimistic that he will.
“We hope all the players will play all four of the FedEx Cup events,” George said. “The way it is scheduled this year, you don’t have to play four in a row with the way the Ryder Cup is scheduled. That will be beneficial to our players and their schedule. I think our players will be enthusiastic about playing at the Ridgewood Country Club.”