Fans prep for travel odyssey ahead of U.S. Open

Thu Jun 11, 2015 3:49pm EDT
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By Eric M. Johnson

UNIVERSITY PLACE, Washington (Reuters) - Fans hoping to watch next week's U.S. Open at Chambers Bay must get there first, completing a daily odyssey of lengthy bus rides or carefully researched alternatives to find a course nestled between a leafy suburb's tiny streets and the Puget Sound.

Nearly a quarter million people are expected to descend on Pierce County's public golf course from June 18-21 in University Place, about an hour's drive south of Seattle, creating logistical hurdles for the Pacific Northwest's first Open.

"We've spent the better part of two years creating a transportation and security plan -- and it's rock solid," Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy told Reuters.

"It doesn't mean you won't be in congested traffic. People know this is a major event."

The time it takes to reach Chambers Bay depends, among other things, on who you are.

Golf's top professionals, like world number one Rory McIlroy and Masters champion Jordan Spieth, as well as select officials and dignitaries, will drive right up to the links-style course, waving coveted credentials as they cross security checkpoints.

Roughly 30,000 fans will journey to Chambers Bay each day next week and the majority of those will be directed to free parking in two massive holding lots in neighboring cities Puyallup and Lakewood.

From there, they will board many of the nearly 300 shuttle buses -- from the stylish coach to the yellow school varieties -- for 30-minute-plus rides along thoroughfares and meandering two-lane streets that lead, eventually, to the course's freshly built Spectator Square.   Continued...