Tour Report: Sandy damage far and wide in golf

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Evan Mitchell/Liberty NationalLiberty National in Jersey City, N.J., site of the 2013 Barclays, was under water after being hit by Hurricane Sandy.

By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM

Bob Cupp was watching from his Atlanta, Ga., home as Hurricane Sandy unleashed its fury on the east coast earlier this week. His in-laws had just left their house in the Mooriches on the southern side of Long Island for their winter home in Florida three days earlier. The migration south, of course, turned out to come at a good time.

Days after the storm, Cupp, who designed Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, N.J., with Tom Kite, was still getting damage reports from up north, which included news that a loose ferry boat ended up about 10 feet from the cart path on the 10th hole.

There was also water in the lower parts of the clubhouse and several trees down on the course, which will host The Barlcays next year.

“The storm surge in Jersey City on the wind side of the bay was 12-15 feet, but the water was not salty because most of the water at that point is from the Hudson River,” Cupp said Thursday via text message. “I’d say they dodged a bullet.”

Other courses, as pictures across the internet have shown, weren’t as fortunate. Countless trees down, flooded out fairways. Oak Hill in Rochester, N.Y., site of next year’s PGA Championship, also posted this photo gallery.

Congressional Country Club in suburban Washington D.C., and TPC Boston, however, were mostly spared — this time.

When a derecho — the Spanish word for a widespread, long-lived, straight-line windstorm that is associated with a fast-moving band of severe thunderstorms — swept through suburban Washington D.C. this summer, it wreaked havoc on Congressional and the AT&T National.

Hurricane Sandy, though, missed the 88-year-old venue to the north, making landfall in Atlantic City, N.J.

“This was nothing like the derecho; we were very fortunate,” said Congressional’s Director of Golf John Lyberger, who added the course received about 6 inches of rain with some 19 trees lost to high winds. “Unlike the derecho, which hit hard and fast, the winds here were more sustained.”

By mid-week, Congressional was fully operational.

Likewise, TPC Boston, which lost 60-70 trees to Hurricane Irene the week before the 2011 Deutsche Bank Championship, got through this storm largely unscathed. The Norton, Mass., course received 5 inches of rain and only lost four trees, none of which were in the line of play.

“We certainly had some high winds and big gusts on Monday,” TPC Boston head pro Dave Corrado said. “From a damage perspective, though, I didn’t see much. Hurricane Irene and the blizzard on Halloween the year before that picked off most of our weaker trees.”

Meanwhile, cleanup was still taking place Thursday at most New York-area courses, including Bethpage State Park’s Black Course, which hosted The Barclays this year.

“Atlantic City and the New Jersey beaches got the worst of it,” Cupp said. “Combined with the cold front and the snow (to the west of the hurricane), it was indeed close to the perfect storm.”