Tiger Woods raises specter of golfers in traffic missing U.S. Open tee times

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SportsPulse: USA TODAY Sports’ Steve DiMeglio explains why frustration has not set in for Tiger as he heads into the U.S. Open and which players will pose the biggest threat. USA TODAY Sports

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. — Tiger Woods has fueled suspense at the U.S. Open that begins Thursday, and it has nothing to do with his quest to win a major championship for the first time 10 years.

Rather, Woods raised the possibility that a player might miss his tee time because of heavy traffic around Shinnecock Hills Golf Club.

A few players said it had taken them 2 1/3 to 3 hours to get from the designated players’ hotel to the golf course, according to Woods.

“…there’s a good chance that someone might miss their (tee) time,’’ Woods said Tuesday. “You get a little traffic, you get maybe a little fender bender, it’s not inconceivable someone could miss their time.’’

That possibility has not escaped the United States Golf Association (USGA), which runs the tournament. Craig Annis, head of communications for the USGA, said the organization is working with local authorities to mitigate the potential problem.

Traffic is heaviest during the so-called “Trade Parade,’’ between approximately 5:30 a.m. and 8 a.m., when a fleet of workers drive in from New York City and the surrounding area.

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Annis noted that most of the golfers are staying in private homes within the immediate vicinity of the golf course and are in regular communication with the golfers staying at the designated players’ hotel.

Woods is staying on his 155-foot yacht at Sag Harbor Yacht Club, about a 15-mile drive from the course.

Pointing out the U.S. Open has been held here before — in 2004, 1995, 1986 and 1895 — Annis said the USGA has managed traffic issues in the past and is working to do so again.

“We’ve planned for it,’’ he said. “We’re doing all that we can.’’

Fans are being encouraged to use the Long Island Rail Road, which has a temporary stop at the golf course, Annis said.

A look back at Tiger Woods’ last major win: 2008 U.S. Open

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Tiger Woods kisses his U.S. Open championship trophy

Tiger Woods kisses his U.S. Open championship trophy after winning a sudden-death playoff against Rocco Mediate following an 18-hole playoff round for the title, at Torrey Pines in San Diego on June 16, 2008.  Chris Carlson, AP

Tiger Woods holds on to his left knee after teeing

Playing on a broken left leg, Tiger withstood excruciating pain to deliver one of the greatest championship performances in sports history.  Charlie Riedel, AP

Tiger Woods celebrates after making a birdie on the

On the 18th hole, Tiger needed a birdie to tie Rocco Mediate for the lead and force an 18-hole playoff. He made the putt, setting up this memorable celebration.  Robert Benson-USA TODAY Sports

Tiger Woods reacts after sinking a birdie putt on the

Tiger reacts after sinking a birdie putt on the 18th green forcing a playoff against Rocco Mediate during the fourth round of the U.S. Open.  Lenny Ignelzi, AP

Tiger Woods celebrates after making a birdie on the

Tiger reacts after sinking a birdie putt on the 18th green forcing a playoff against Rocco Mediate during the fourth round of the U.S. Open.  Robert Benson-US PRESSWIRE

Tiger Woods celebrates with his caddie Steve Williams

Tiger celebrates with his caddie, Steve Williams,after sinking a birdie putt on the 18th green forcing a playoff against Rocco Mediate during the fourth round of the U.S. Open.  Chris O’Meara, AP

Tiger Woods reacts to missing his birdie putt on the

Tiger Woods reacts to missing his birdie putt on the 19th hole during the playoff round of the 108th U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.  Doug Pensinger, Getty Images

Tiger Woods, left, hugs Rocco Mediate following his

Tiger hugs Rocco Mediate following his U.S. Open championship victory after a sudden death hole following an 18-hole playoff round for at Torrey Pines.  Charlie Riedel, AP

Elin Nordegren Woods passes daughter, Sam, to Tiger

Elin Nordegren Woods passes daughter, Sam, to Tiger Woods after Tiger won the playoff round of the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.  Jeff Gross, Getty Images

At the 2008 U.S. Open, Tiger Woods holds his daughter

At the 2008 U.S. Open, Tiger Woods holds his daughter Sam after winning the playoff. She was nearly 1 at the time.  Travis Lindquist, Getty Images

Tiger Woods walks to the first tee during the final

Tiger Woods walks to the first tee during the final round of the 108th U.S. Open at the Torrey Pines Golf Course (South Course) on June 15, 2008.  Donald Miralle, Getty Images

Tiger Woods holds onto his knee as he comes out of

Tiger Woods holds onto his knee as he comes out of a bunker on the fourth hole during the third round of the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.  Charlie Riedel, AP

Tiger Woods celebrates after making an eagle on the

Tiger Woods celebrates after making an eagle on the 13th hole during the third round of the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.  Charlie Riedel, AP

Golf fans watch the play of the Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson

Golf fans watch the play of the Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott group during the second round of the 108th U.S. Open at the Torrey Pines Golf Course (South Course) on June 13, 2008 in San Diego.  Doug Pensinger, Getty Images

Tiger Woods hits a shot from the rough on the first

Tiger Woods hits a shot from the rough on the first hole during the second round of the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.  Donald Miralle, Getty Images

Tiger Woods surveys his put at the fifth hole green

Tiger Woods surveys his put at the fifth hole green during the first round of The U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.  Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

In this June 12, 2008, file photo, Adam Scott, Tiger

In this June 12, 2008, file photo, Adam Scott, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, from left, walk during the first round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Torrey Pines in San Diego.  Denis Poroy, AP

Tiger Woods walks with amateur Jordan Cox along the

Tiger Woods walks with amateur Jordan Cox along the cliff between the third and fourth holes at Torrey Pines during a practice round for the U.S. Open.  Chris Carlson, AP

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