At the 2018 US Open at Shinnecock Hills in the Hamptons, Long Island traffic is a story. It's constant in the morning and afternoon rush, in both directions, leaving fans, players and media frustrated. The final 10 miles or so along the Long Island Expressway or Montauk Highway is brutal, meaning travel times of 2 hours or even more.
Tiger Woods, who is docking his $20 million yacht in nearby Sag Harbor to avoid a lengthy commute this week, said he thinks a player could miss their tee time one day by getting stuck in traffic.
But what happens under the Rules of Golf when a player misses their tee time?
Regardless of the reason why a player might miss their tee time, the USGA and the Rules of Golf are crystal clear about the penalty for missing a tee time. If a golfer misses their tee time at the US Open or any other tournament, they're disqualified. That's it.
As of 2012, Rule 6-3, which covers showing up on time, was slightly amended to give a golfer a five-minute grace period to get on the tee and play. If they get going within the five-minute grace period, a player gets a two-stroke penalty but they can at least continue.
However, the USGA will probably go out of its way to afford alternates a chance to compete if it appears a player is going to miss their tee time by a wide margin. This would allow the player stuck in traffic to withdraw from the event and then insert an alternate at the last possible second.
The USGA has said it will go out of its way to make sure players are aware of traffic concerns, reminding them by text message of getting to the property well ahead of their tee times. Expect to see players trying to show up more than 2 hours ahead of the tee time -- you know, just in case.