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Jun 4, 2018 5:08 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

USGA To Provide Shuttle To U.S. Open From Village; Big-Screen TV Will Be Set Up In Park

The USGA will provide a 12’x7’ big screen TV, set up at Agawam Park, showing live championship coverage from June 14-17.
Jun 6, 2018 11:39 AM

The U.S. Golf Association announced a pair of initiatives this week aimed at enhancing the experience of the 118th U.S. Open Championship next week for residents and fans in Southampton Village in particular.

The USGA has decided to add a free shuttle bus service from the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club to Southampton Village during the week of the U.S. Open Championship, set for June 11 to 17. A shuttle had been offered in 2004, the last time the Open was at Shinnecock Hills, but originally had not been included in plans this year.

For local golf enthusiasts who don’t have tickets but want to experience the championship with fellow fans in a unique setting, the USGA announced there will be a 12-foot-by-7-foot outdoor television screen set up at Agawam Park, showing live championship coverage during tournament play, Thursday, June 14, through Sunday, June 17. The screen will be provided by Shinnecock Hills Golf Club.

The shuttle buses will loop between Agawam Park and Admission Gate 2, on the campus of Stony Brook Southampton. Riders then will cross the pedestrian bridge over County Road 39 to gain entrance to the course. The shuttles will run continuously from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m., for the entire week of the championship, which starts with practice rounds on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and continues during the four days of competition.

The service was welcome news to Karen Connolly, the executive director of the Southampton Chamber of Commerce. Prior to the announcement, the only free shuttle service offered for fans were buses from Gabreski Airport in Westhampton, which is providing parking for the week-long championship. A shuttle also is offered from the Hampton Classic grounds in Bridgehampton, which is being used as a paid parking lot.

“For our restaurants and merchants, the shuttle will entice additional foot traffic, which will be a benefit to all,” Ms. Connolly said. “Additionally, this will provide an efficient way for our village bed-and-breakfast and hotel and motel guests to commute.”

The Southampton Chamber of Commerce will have a temporary location set up at Agawam Park to distribute information to visitors there.

Southampton Village Mayor Michael Irving said on Tuesday that the shuttle and TV screen are a great addition. “Southampton Village is looking forward to welcoming the players and fans of the 118th U.S. Open, and is delighted that the USGA is providing a complimentary shuttle from Agawam Park to the Open,” he said. “We hope that visitors will take the opportunity to experience our downtown, with its unique shops, wonderful restaurants and world-class beaches, and catch some of the excitement of the U.S. Open while watching live coverage from Agawam Park.”

Local business owners in the village said they were thrilled with the news.

Roy Stevenson is the owner of Stevenson’s Toys and Games, which has a location on Jobs Lane in Southampton, as well as in East Hampton, and he’s also a member at Shinnecock Hills. He said he’s excited about the opportunities the shuttle and big-screen TV will bring to the village.

“As a village merchant, I’m excited that these initiatives will bring people to the village in order to both watch the broadcast in a fun setting and to get a ride out to the club,” he said. “This is definitely good news for all the stores and restaurants in the village, as there will be more people looking to shop and dine both during and after the championship hours.”

“I personally think it will help the local businesses drive up sales in general, including our store,” said Elishia Mendez, the manager of Egg by Susan Lazar, a children’s clothing boutique on Main Street. “Business is generally slow during the week, especially with school still being in session. We will, as well as will other businesses, only profit more than usual during this time.”

Amy Yarborough, the manager of Sugarfina, a candy store on Main Street, agreed. “It will definitely impact my business, as well as the other stores here on Main Street. We don’t see much traffic here during the week as it is.”

For its part, USGA officials say they were happy to provide both the village shuttle service and to work with the club to bring the big-screen TV to the park.

“Since opening our U.S. Open Championship office on Main Street in the fall of 2016, we’ve seen firsthand how welcoming the local community has been to the USGA,” said Charlie Howe, the 2018 U.S. Open championship director. “Through our relationship with Southampton Village and the Chamber of Commerce, it was an easy decision to provide a convenient shuttle for our U.S. Open fans to visit, shop, dine and enjoy the village as an extension of their championship experience.

“We hope the energy that only a U.S. Open could bring is felt throughout the village, and Agawam Park becomes a place where the golf community gathers to celebrate an incredible week of golf, thanks to the generosity of Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in providing live coverage for everyone to share. It’s our way of saying thanks for inviting us back—and making golf history again.”

Staff writer Julia Halsey contributed to this story.

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Why would we need a big screen??? Most of the village Citizens have TV???
Shuttle a good idea....
By knitter (1941), Southampton on Jun 4, 18 6:38 PM
1 member liked this comment
It’s the most boring, ridiculous hobby. Nobody wants to watch paint dry on a big screen tv in Agawam Park. Get over yourselves.
By SlimeAlive (1181), Southampton on Jun 4, 18 8:40 PM
1 member liked this comment
AMEN BROTHER!!! Golfers are on the wrong side of history. Children born today are less likely to become golfers than ever before. Eventually, there will come a day when the last person who does golf passes away. And that day - the day we achieve 100% eradication of golf, the day where everyone can live in a peaceful golf-free world - is the day we can rest.
By Pacman (273), Southampton on Jun 4, 18 11:14 PM
Nothing personal. You’re free to wear pastels and spend 5 hours putting a small white ball in a little cup that has a colorful flag. But if you can drink beer and smoke pot while doing it, it ain’t a sport-it’s a hobby.
By SlimeAlive (1181), Southampton on Jun 5, 18 1:59 AM
Glad to see a shuttle bus service for local citizens to use to get to pedestrian bridge .... would also have liked to have seen the Shinnecock Reservation property used as an additional parking area ....... couldn't get any closer to the Stony Brook Southampton Campus pedestrian bridge and would have been a monetary benefit to the Shinnecocks.
By leo (19), hampton Bays on Jun 4, 18 9:31 PM
1 member liked this comment
> "would also have liked to have seen the Shinnecock
> Reservation property used as an additional parking area"

Really? Why do you think that didn't happen this time around?

Do you think previous experience might've had something to do with the decision to not renew the relationship with the Shinnecock people?

By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Jun 4, 18 11:11 PM
Very cool. A lot of jealous people in this thread already.
By johnj (1024), Westhampton on Jun 5, 18 9:11 AM
Sorry, I think a big screen tv in the park is a waste of money, especially with so many bars/restaurants you can sit in comfortably.
By LovedHerTown (132), southampton on Jun 5, 18 2:33 PM
Please contact the USGA and tell them they are wasting their money on this nonsense.
By Pacman (273), Southampton on Jun 5, 18 3:17 PM
LOL. Seriously, why do you care how they spend their money?
By johnj (1024), Westhampton on Jun 5, 18 4:44 PM
Stating my opinion. I don't care either way. Freedom of speech is marvelous, eh!
By LovedHerTown (132), southampton on Jun 11, 18 2:19 PM
1 member liked this comment
There is barely enough parking for everyday businesses so where are all these people going to park to take the shuttle to the US Open???
By SH11968 (1), Southampton on Jun 6, 18 1:09 PM
Southampton college parking lot?
By btdt (449), water mill on Jun 6, 18 1:31 PM
I say we just pave the whole golf course and make tons of parking.
By Pacman (273), Southampton on Jun 7, 18 12:12 PM
1 member liked this comment
Somebody remind me again why we need this. It costs millions in lost productivity for businesses not involved with golf or hospitality. My biggest gripe is how there is NO benefit to Tuckahoe itself. School district in dire need of money gets no help. Remember this is a golf course that pays very little in taxes because its a golf course( like the 3 others we have in our district) and using a college for parking , merchandise tents, etc that pays NO taxes because its a SUNY school. This isn't some ...more
By sentinel (8), southampton on Jun 11, 18 8:22 AM
1 member liked this comment