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Jun 11, 2018 12:09 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

UPDATE: Liang Eagles One As Second Round Gets Underway With Unexpected Light Rain

Phil Mickelson during the 2018 U.S. Open Championship at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club on Thursday morning.   DANA SHAW
Jun 16, 2018 5:49 PM


Fans continue to pour in to Shinnecock Hills with the first round of the 118th U.S. Open in its early stages.

After a rainy Wednesday, the tournament has opened up to beautiful conditions with temperatures in the mid-70s and winds running about 15 miles per hour, which is presumably making the playing conditions tough for the players. Charley Hoffman, Russell Knox, Matt Kuchar and Ian Poulter are all tied for the very early lead with all four golfers 2-under par.


The talk at Shinnecock Hills on Wednesday was not about Tiger's chances. It was not about the rain and whether it would soften the greens for the first day of competition at the 118th U.S. Open Championship, or whether an unexpected wind would pop over the weekend. Nope. It was about the traffic.

From USGA officials, to the volunteers working the fairways to the spectators in the gallery, to the concessions stand employees to the players themselves, the long times it is taking people to get to the course each day, and the myriad strategies for dodging the snarl it is spawning, has been on the lips of almost everyone on the course on Monday.

The struggle for those who have to be on the property at a given time has been timing their departure from lodging to the west.

"I was supposed to be here at 8, so I left at 6, and I got here at 8:30," said a shuttle bus driver, who gave only his first name, Ken. "Two and a half hours. Google Maps said it should only have been 48 minutes."

While many regular East End commuters are used to the long backups on Sunrise Highway, those visiting just for this week's tournament have been aghast at the lineups of traffic, posting photos of the bumper-to-bumper traffic on social media in wonderment.

"83 minutes into our 6 a.m. shuttle ride from [Jakes 58 hotel in Bohemia]...and an hour to go," Geoff Shackelford, a golf correspondent for Golf Week magazine, Tweeted this morning, along with a photo of cars lined up on Sunrise Highway.

Indeed, tales were that the earlier someone left the up-island and Westhampton shuttle locations, the longer it took to get in. Those riding shuttles that departed after 8 a.m. reported much shorter trips.

"We are told the early buses are the ones that are really getting tied up....so sleep in," Gary VanSickle, the president of the Golf Writers Association of America, told a group on Wednesday. Discussing the situation at this and other major golf tournaments later, Mr. VanSickle, who wrote for Sports Illustrated for years, said the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island in South Carolina, when spectators had been allowed to park on the narrow barrier island, had been even worse. "It was taking three to three-and-a-half hours to get to the course from the mainland. For what should have only taken 30 minutes."

Even those in the lofty worlds of Tiger Woods and Rickie Fowler were we"ll aware of the traffic complaints. Woods, who is staying on his yacht in Sag Harbor told reporters on Tuesday that he worried some player coming from the west could miss their tee-time.

"You get a little traffic, you get maybe a little fender bender, it's not inconceivable someone could miss their time," he told reporters in a press confernce.


Rory McIlroy, the 2011 U.S. Open champion at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland, winning with the lowest score in that championship's 115-year history, 16-under par, just finished his initial press conference at the U.S. Open here at Shinnecock Hills. The Northern Ireland native spoke about a number of things, in particular playing on the course at Shinnecock Hills over the past couple of days

"I love the golf course, especially the way the conditions have been, especially yesterday with a bit of wind and the dryness. It reminds me of back home a little bit, the way the golf course has been playing.

"There's been great championships here—'95, '04. Great winners. I've been looking forward to it," McIlroy continued. "I've spent quite a bit of time here."

McIlroy said that he came to the East End directly after finishing up the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio. The day after Memorial finished up on June 2, McIlroy was playing at Shinnecock Hills, then he tried out a couple of other local golf clubs—National Golf Links of America in Southampton, which is right in Shinnecock's backyard, and Friar's Head in Riverhead.

"It's definitely one of the best areas in the world in terms of golf courses," he said. "I had never played National or Friar's Head before. I was looking froward to playing Friar's head—and National as well, obviously with the history and the architecture—but I'm a big fan of what Coore Crenshaw has tried to do with their golf courses, and Friar's Head is one of the best I've played. Not just for its design but just the setting and scenery. I think 14 and 15 are two of the prettiest golf holes I've ever seen. It sort of reminds you of Cypress Point."

After playing some "fun golf," as McIlroy put it, he's ready to get things underway. McIlroy, along with Jordan Spieth and Phil Mickelson, will tee off from hole No. 10 tomorrow morning at 8:02 a.m.

"I'm happy I've got an early tee time because I have been here for a while so I'm anxious to get started," he said.


The 118th U.S. Open Championship officially kicked off at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club on Monday morning, with some of the world's top golfers hitting the links for their first practice rounds at 7 a.m.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, Legislator Bridget Fleming, Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman, Southampton Village Mayor Michael Irving and other local officials joined United States Golf Association heads and amateur champions Matt Parziale, Sean Knapp and Kelsey Chugg in officially opening the tournament. The Eastern Long Island Pipes and Drums played "God Bless America" and the National Anthem as members of the U.S. Coast Guard raised the American flag.

Concerns about traffic backups swooned after a minor accident on County Road 39, east of the golf course, early on Monday morning caused long delays on Sunrise Highway, but Southampton Town Police Chief Steven Skyrnecki said at 9 a.m. that traffic on Sunrise and CR 39 was actually moving faster than on a normal morning rush hour—though Montauk Highway was still seeing long delays.

"We are prepared for accidents and we're set up to get the road cleared out quicker than it would usually take," the chief said.

Attendance for the week is expected to exceed 200,000 spectators with more than 40,000 per day on Saturday and Sunday.

Fans can follow the tournament on the US Open mobile app as well as usopen.com/fan-info.html.

Players that went out early on Monday morning for their first practice rounds included Adam Scott, who has hired longtime Shinnecock Hills caddy Lenny Bummolo to carry his bag for him this week, 2015 U.S. Open champ Jordan Speith, who has been feverishly signing autographs for young fans and amateur golfer Theo Humphrey who drained his approach shot on the 16th from 150 yards out, as well as Masters champion Patrick Reed and 2011 U.S. Open champ Rory McIlroy.

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By deepchanel (89), Hampton Bays on Jun 11, 18 1:04 PM
2 members liked this comment
Thanks deep. It works better here lol
By foodwhiner (148), Southampton on Jun 11, 18 1:06 PM
How did Chief Skyrnecki handle the afternoon traffic?
By AndersEn (174), Southampton on Jun 11, 18 9:57 PM
Not too well. And it’s going to get worse.
By Draggerman (955), Southampton on Jun 13, 18 7:06 AM
1 member liked this comment
LIRR’s first train from the West arrives at 8:20 am. Useless! The volunteers with early shifts have to be on-site by 6:45 am. This, they are forced to be on the road. Should be at least one train that arrives from the West at 6:30 am!
By Mouthampton (439), Southampton on Jun 13, 18 4:34 PM
3 members liked this comment
your comment is common sense, BUT common sense isn't that common!!!
By coxie1 (37), southampton on Jun 13, 18 6:34 PM
1 member liked this comment
Same thing during the regular work week. The train schedule isn't convenient for workers. The Open train schedule was arranged with spectators in mind, no one else probably though about volunteers of workers.
On a side note, the train is turning out to be the best way to get there. No traffic and not shuttle buses. Get off the train and walk across the bridge. The problem with the shuttle busses is that they are stuck in traffic too.
By deelove (152), Bridgehampton on Jun 14, 18 9:17 AM
How about a ballot measure next general election to inform our elected representatives whether we want any more opens to come to town?!
By Duckbornandraised (184), Eastport on Jun 13, 18 7:01 PM
1 member liked this comment
Sounds good to me!
By Draggerman (955), Southampton on Jun 13, 18 8:11 PM
Me too!
By MrsD (53), Hampton Bays on Jun 14, 18 10:53 AM
FYI, they have announced that the 2026 US OPEN is returning to Shinnecock.
By Non-Political (125), Hampton Bays on Jun 13, 18 8:14 PM
1 member liked this comment
2026? That's good to know. I'll hit Sunrise Highway now, maybe I'll be on time for the 2026 Open.
By deelove (152), Bridgehampton on Jun 14, 18 9:11 AM
2 members liked this comment
"Call someplace paradise, kiss it goodbye."

~ The Eagles, "The Last Resort" (Hotel California 1976)
Jun 13, 18 9:03 PM appended by Mr. Z
"Some rich men came and raped the land, nobody caught 'em. Put up a bunch of ugly boxes, and Jesus people bought 'em."
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jun 13, 18 9:03 PM
"While many regular East End commuters are used to the long backups ..." NO, this is not the traffic us "regular...commuters" are used to. We are NOT used to 2-3 hours in traffic to get to work. We are NOT used to 2-3 hours to get home from work. We are NOT used to having to leave our homes hours and hours earlier than necessary just to TRY to be on time for work. Our employers are NOT used to us being hours and hours LATE. There is a huge difference between the trade parade traffic we ARE ...more
By MrsD (53), Hampton Bays on Jun 14, 18 9:40 AM
1 member liked this comment
Boo-hoo. It's one week. Get over it.
By johnj (1024), Westhampton on Jun 14, 18 9:44 AM
1 member liked this comment
Amateurs trying to figure out traffic. The so called traffic engineers just guess and when it doesn't work, make a change, and on and on.
You can not fit that many cars on these roads. Just a lot of OVERTIME...
By knitter (1941), Southampton on Jun 14, 18 11:07 AM
Why do people who sell real estate make up the vast majority of the anonymous commenters? Selling real estate doesn’t make one a genius of everything. It just makes you guilty ruining the area and causing the traffic. We used to have a lot more seashells and much less real estate agents. Those were the good old days.
By even flow (1023), East Hampton on Jun 15, 18 8:05 AM
You mean "fewer."

Fewer real estate agents.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Jun 15, 18 8:11 AM
We need fewer know-it-alls on 27 east. You make it less enjoyable. But since I couldn't possibly care less, I won't lose even a few winks.
By even flow (1023), East Hampton on Jun 15, 18 8:36 AM
"... a few winks" of sleep. Complete sentences please. :)
By Toma Noku (616), Southampton on Jun 15, 18 10:08 AM
1 member liked this comment
I too miss the good ol' days. Maybe the town should use the Community Preservation Fund to help bring back the seashells.
By Pacman (273), Southampton on Jun 15, 18 10:08 AM
Even flow, you can bow out. You’d be sorely missed.
By Fred s (3321), Southampton on Jun 15, 18 11:53 AM