A week before the tournament starts and four days before the practice rounds formally begin, the U.S. Open officially will open for business Thursday. The merchandise pavilion will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Bethpage State Park and, for the first time, Open tickets will be on sale during the pre-championship pavilion hours.
Tickets are not required to get into the massive tent Thursday through Sunday. Tickets are needed to get on the grounds beginning Monday for the Open, which will be on the Black Course on June 18-21.
The regular parking lot near the clubhouse will not be open to shoppers. Anyone who wants to buy merchandise or tickets must follow the signs to the park's polo fields and take shuttles to the pavilion. Shuttles will begin running at 7 a.m. and continue throughout the day, said Mary Lopuszynski, director of U.S. Open merchandising for the U.S. Golf Association.
"It's a good time to get out there; you can beat the rush," she said. "Also, for people who don't have tickets, this is a chance to come over and check it out."
The USGA announced last month that additional tickets are being made available because tickets that had been set aside for corporations had gone unused because of the economic downturn.
When the practice rounds begin Monday, spectators will be asked to park at Jones Beach, in Fields 3, 4 and 5. A USGA spokesman said there will be 125 shuttle buses running to and from Bethpage between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. Monday through Sunday. Buses also will be provided for Long Island Rail Road passengers from Farmingdale station.
Local residents who wish to be dropped off at the Open should use the taxi/limo drop-off area at Nassau County Fire Service Academy on Winding Road.
Round Swamp Road, which runs through the Black Course, will be closed 24 hours a day during Open week between Quaker Meeting House Road and Winding Road.