by: Amy Clancy Updated:
UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. - Chambers Bay golf course in University Place will host 235,000 professional golfers, spectators and volunteers during the 2015 U.S. Open golf championship.
Getting all those people to the residential site just north of Steilacoom will be a huge challenge.
On Tuesday, Championship Director Danny Sink said a deal with Sound Transit and Burlington Northern/Santa Fe to provide Sounder trains hasn't been inked yet, but is in the works. "I can tell you, we're pretty close to having a deal done," Sink told a room of media professionals at the Washington Athletic Club in Seattle. "It's nothing I'd want to give 100 percent thumbs-up to, but we've had a lot of meetings over the past eight months. It's a possibility that we're really excited about," Sink said.
Chambers Bay is located right along the railroad tracks in Pierce County, adjacent to Puget Sound. If the Sounder train option becomes a done-deal, Sink said it would be the first time a transit route was created specifically to transport U.S. Open crowds.
The U.S. Open is one of the largest sporting events in the world. Denise Dyer, Pierce County's director of economic development, expects the week-long event will bring $150 million into the region. Dyer told KIRO 7 reporter Amy Clancy on Tuesday that hotels in Pierce, Thurston, Kitsap and King counties are already taking reservations for the week of June 15, 2015.
Deputy Pierce County Executive Kevin Phelps also said it's not unusual for U.S. Open attendees to travel up to an hour to get to the course. "It's clearly going to have to be a regional event," Phelps told Clancy, "especially when it comes to hotel rooms. We certainly have our limitations in Pierce County."
One hotel option that has been ruled out, however, according to both Phelps and Dyer -- anchored cruise ships in Puget Sound. Dyer said reserving the ships and security would be too expensive.
In February 2014, the United States Golf Association will start taking applications for the 4,500 volunteers needed to work the tournament.
Ticket sales begin on June 9, 2014, and are expected to sell out.
For more information: http://www.chambersbaygolf.com/chambersbay.asp?id=232&page=7996