LIRR: Nearly 1 out of 3 fans took train to U.S. Open

BY ALFONSO A. CASTILLO (from Newsday)

Nearly one out of every three fans who attended the U.S. Open at Bethpage State Park took the Long Island Rail Road on their way in or out of the golf tournament, according to figures released this week by the LIRR.

In total, 174,169 people rode a train to or from the Farmingdale station from June 15 through Monday, according to the LIRR. Those numbers account for 29 percent of the U.S. Open’s attendance.

Robbie Zalznek, spokesman for the United States Golf Association, said Friday that about as many people traveled to the tournament on shuttle buses from Jones Beach, while another third got there by other means.

Zalznek called the LIRR “a wonderful partner in moving people to the U.S. Open.”

The LIRR carried the most golf fans on June 20, when 36,516 people rode the train to or from Farmingdale, accounting for 34 percent of the attendance.

The ridership topped that of 2002, when the U.S. Open also was held at Bethpage and the LIRR carried 168,724 people to and from Farmingdale during that week. This year’s tournament, however, was extended for a day because of rain.

MTA board member Mitchell Pally praised as “extraordinary” the efforts of the LIRR and Long Island Bus, which provided buses to shuttle fans from the Farmingdale station to the Bethpage Black course.

“Without them, the U.S. Open is probably not possible in Bethpage, because you can’t bring everybody in by car or bus,” said Pally, of Stony Brook. “I think what they did gives us the ability to ask the USGA to come back.”

http://www.newsday.com/news/local/nassau/ny-liopen2612919256jun26,0,543912.story

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