For most Long Islanders, East Hampton Town lies on the other side of the U.S. Open, which begins Thursday at the Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton.
But while most of the traffic gridlock is caused by spectators who come from the west to Shinnecock and then return when the golf day is done, that doesn’t mean East Hampton isn’t feeling the buzz and a bit of the congestion.
“There are people here to take in the Open, renting homes, it does impact us from an economic standpoint,” East Hampton Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc told The Point. “We’ll get people visiting, coming out for dinner.”
The Open was last played at Shinnecock Hills in 2004, and Van Scoyoc said the tony town already is seeing activity: “There are a number of large boats that have come in, the airport has been busy, [with] both players and spectators.”
Even Tiger Woods decided on a reverse commute. The title contender docked his enormous yacht, Privacy, in Montauk before moving it to Sag Harbor, which will be his base for the tournament.
East Hampton officials always worry about having too many tourists in the summer, but that’s not a problem with the Open. “The weather is not beach weather, per se,” Van Scoyoc said, so visitors provide welcome additions to the bottom lines of businesses.
“We’ll get some of the residual traffic and inconvenience,” he said, “but because it’s something that might happen once every 10 years or so, people are somewhat tolerant of it and even a little excited about it.”
That’s more than what can be said right now for motorists in Southhampton.