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Best Barclays strategy: Avoid driving

Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy drove for hundreds of yards off the tee Thursday at the Barclays tournament in Farmingdale, but many golf fans who came to see them opted out of driving entirely.

"Where would you park?" asked Rick Morales, 54, of Smithtown, who took the Long Island Rail Road to Farmingdale, where buses shuttled spectators free of charge the mile to Bethpage State Park.

Farmingdale authorities posted signs forbidding on-street parking -- and warning of a $250 fine -- on most roads near the Black Course; and parking in the village's municipal lots was limited to three hours. Perhaps making driving even less appealing, parts of Round Swamp Road, Quaker Meeting House Road and nearby residential side streets were closed to traffic.

The LIRR prepared for increased demand by running trains every half hour to Farmingdale. Taxicab companies added drivers.

Long Island Checker Cab dispatcher Patrick Cavaliere said he increased staffing and vehicles, expecting a big uptick in business. Some attendees wouldn't want to wait for shuttle buses and others may go out to post-golf dinner or drinks and prefer a cab to take them to hotels or the city, he said.

Some locals chose to take advantage of those who drove but could not find public parking.

A Merritts Road resident offered spots in his private lot for $30 each, resurrecting a sign he had used in 2009 when another large golf tournament was in town. "Parking for US Open," it read.

Eddie Romano, 33, of Farmingdale, ushered vehicles into a private lot on Elizabeth Street that he said could hold as many as 50 cars, in addition to adjoining warehouse space for 50 cars. He charged $20 for all-day parking and estimated he could make up to $6,000 in the four days.

"The town lets you park for three hours," Romano said. "If you're going to follow Tiger Woods around, that's four or five hours and you're going to get a ticket."

The Barclays arranged for general parking at Jones Beach State Park, where tournament spectators could take shuttle buses to Bethpage State Park.

Daniel Marro and his brother traveled that route for the practice round on Wednesday but used the LIRR Thursday.

Asked whether he would take public transportation again Saturday when he planned to return for more golf, Marro, 17, of Smithtown, said, "No question. It's so much easier."

With Patricia Kitchen

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