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U.S. Open: Tiger Woods staying on his yacht, but he knows perils of East End traffic

The traffic that chokes out the East End could prove intensely problematic to some of the golfers staying at the Riverhead host hotel.

Tiger Woods says he's missed playing the U.S. Open, and some fans out at Shinnecock Hills are hoping he plays well through the weekend. (Newsday / Arnold Miller, Raychel Brightman, Jeffrey Basinger)

If you want to get to your U.S. Open tee time, it might help to have a little Privacy.

Tiger Woods said Tuesday that the traffic that chokes out the East End could prove intensely problematic to some of the golfers staying at the Riverhead host hotel, and it’s entirely possible someone might miss his tee time when it counts the most. Woods, no stranger to the Hamptons, said “staying on the dinghy” — a joking term for his 155-foot yacht, named “Privacy” — certainly has eradicated the issue. Others are less fortunate, with at least one — amateur Noah Goodwin — missing his practice tee time on Monday. Play officially begins on Thursday.

“There are a few guys so far this week that said that it’s taken them from the hotel, 2 1/2 to three hours,” Woods said. “There’s a good chance someone might miss their time. You get traffic, you get maybe a little fender bender, it’s not inconceivable that someone might miss their time.”

The host hotel — the Hyatt Place Long Island — is only 14 miles from Shinnecock Hills, and in a mythical world without June traffic, it would take less than 20 minutes. On Monday, it took Goodwin more than 1 hour, 40 minutes. A 6:15 departure turned into a Sunrise Highway-sponsored missed 8:02 a.m. tee time.

Dustin Johnson, the 2016 U.S. Open winner, is avoiding the headache by staying at a “nice house” east of the course, he said. “I’ve heard nightmare stories already,” he said. “Fortunately, I’m staying where we don’t have a lot of traffic.”

Woods, who descended on Shinnecock Hills for the first time in his career in 1995, indicated that he always had been wary of the traffic. It moved far better Tuesday morning than it did Monday, but in the end, it’s still a legion of cars, construction trucks and charter buses bottlenecking into one or two lanes. In some cases Tuesday, the media hotel shuttle — which takes off from Jake’s 58 Hotel & Casino, off Exit 58 on the Long Island Expressway, took more than two hours.

“My dad and I were fortunate enough to stay with one of the members close by in ’95 so it wasn’t that bad,” Woods said. “In 2004, again, I stayed not too far away from here — probably a few miles, but I was a little bit north as well, so it makes traffic easier.”

And in 2018, he’s gotten even savvier. Woods’ boat is docked in Sag Harbor, to the north and the east of the course. According to photos published by the Daily Mail, “Privacy” is docked at Sag Harbor Yacht Club.

Said Woods: “The dinghy helped.”

New York Sports