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Next year will look different. The Barclays goes back to refurbished Liberty National, where Heath Slocum won in 2009, and the BMW Championship returns to the Chicago area, this time at Conway Farms. The following year, Ridgewood (where Matt Kuchar won in 2010) and Cherry Hills are part of the rotation.

To say this is a long year takes on new meaning in these playoffs.

“Probably by coincidence that it’s happened that way,” said Steve Stricker, whose two FedEx Cup playoff wins came at Westchester and the TPC Boston. “I hadn’t really thought about it, but that’s the nature of our game. That’s where it’s going _ big courses. Everybody hits it far. I’m even hitting it out there further than I used to.”

Earlier this year, Mark Wilson tried to drive home the point that there are no short hitters in golf. Everyone is long, or long enough. There’s just another class of players who are ridiculously long, and each year there are more of them. Wilson is not one to make excuses, and neither is someone like Greg Chalmers of Australia.

Chalmers finished ninth at The Barclays, moving up 40 spots in the FedEx Cup to No. 38. He is a lock to advance to the third playoff event, and has a reasonable chance to get to the Tour Championship, which would put the little Lefty into all four majors next year.

“There’s never going to be a time when hitting it long is not an advantage,” Chalmers said. “Power is an advantage in most sports. So what I have to do is hope guys that are really long are not as strong in areas that I am, like putting and chipping.”

Brandt Snedeker is not one of the bashers, though he holed enough putts last week to be a runner-up at Bethpage Black.

Still, the leaderboard showed plenty of strength behind winner Nick Watney, Sergio Garcia, Johnson, Louis Oosthuizen and Lee Westwood. If those of medium length struggled to find fairways, Bethpage took a toll. It was tough on anyone who played out of the long grass or wound up on the wrong side of the hole, or on Saturday, if they were off their game and wound up on the wrong side of the draw.

Woods, for example, found himself in the rough too often on the weekend, and it required sheer muscle to get it on or around the green. One of those shots was left of the 15th fairway, in shin-high grass that had been trampled by the gallery. Only a sliver of the ball, about the width of a pencil, could be seen. Woods grunted on contact, louder than anything that will be heard at Flushing Meadow this week at the U.S. Open tennis.

Is this a fair rotation of courses for those who don’t smash it?

“It’s harder, isn’t it?” Geoff Ogilvy said as he cleaned out his locker at Bethpage. “I think it’s difficult _ and I can only speak for this course _ because it’s not only how long this is, but hitting out of heavy rough is a big part of playing this golf course. And generally, the longer you are, the stronger you are, so the long hitters will have an advantage. It’s hard from the rough because they’re all forced carries onto the green.”

This is not a problem for a guy named Els, though he was intrigued by the lineup of Bethpage, Boston, Crooked Stick and East Lake.

“It’s a good question, because this was a big golf course,” he said. “They should think about getting the right golf courses for the whole field to balance it a little bit.”

There will be years when it will be like that, but not this one.