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    Long shuttle rides test fans' patience

    Congressional Country Club may be a golfer's dream, but it's a commuting nightmare for the more than 45,000 daily visitors to the course this week for the U.S. Open Championship.

    On the first day of the highly anticipated tournament, the U.S. Golf Association's transit plan of shuttling most visitors from remote lots in Maryland and Virginia was put to the test as the two-lane roads around Congressional and the distance from public transit tested golf fans' patience.

    The system, which shuttles fans at no charge from two lots in Gaithersburg and a third parking lot at Washington Dulles International Airport, barely received a passing grade from attendees who have been to other golf championships. A fourth shuttle costs riders $8 per day and runs from the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro station, but has sold out its available seats.

    "I've been to five Opens, and this is the slowest of them all," said John Bush, of Toronto, as he waited on the shuttle at Grosvenor for 20 minutes Thursday.

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    Golf spending in region rises as U.S. Open begins

    Bryn Briscuso and her daughter Nicole, 10, run a parking area for a friend nearly half a mile from the entrance to the U.S. Open in Potomac, Md., on Wednesday.-Andrew Harnik/Examiner
    The U.S. Open Championship is expected to bring in $140 million this weekend for the Washington region -- an area where golf-related spending is increasing and bucking a national trend.

    Spending in Maryland, home of host golf course Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, increased by 8 percent in 2010 compared with the prior year, a new American Express Business Insights report shows.

    Spending, which includes retail and at golf courses, rose in Virginia by 5 percent and in Delaware by 12 percent. Data was not available for the District of Columbia.

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    U.S. Open set to bring $140m to area 

    The U.S. Open in Bethesda this week is expected to bring in$140 million in spending and an onslaught of visitors.-Andrew Harnik/Examiner
    The U.S. Open Championship is expected to bring in $140 million in spending when the world's top

    golfers tee off in Bethesda this week, but local residents and commuters are bracing for the onslaught of visitors that will descend on the Washington region's roads and rails for the blockbuster tournament.

    The tournament, played at the prestigious Congressional Country Club, is expected to sell out with a total of 250,000 spectators through next Sunday -- even without Tiger Woods playing. And Montgomery County's 10,000 hotel rooms are sold out for the entire week, although the tournament itself doesn't kick off until Thursday and Monday marks just the beginning of practice rounds.

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    The fall of horse racing: is more really, well, more?


    It's a tough question for horse racing enthusiasts: is subsidizing Maryland racing just ignoring the real issue? Sure we all love those iconic images from horse racing's heyday when tracks were the hot place to be and the clubhouse at Pimlico in Baltimore was teeming with society's elites.

    But those days are long gone. Like decades ago long gone. Yet the fight to preserve the sport is still strong — in today's Washington Examiner story about Maryland racing's increasing reliance on other gambling, breeders say the sport needs a full season to keep horse farms here.

    Horse farms are also good for tourism and a part of Maryland's proud history. Heck, the Maryland Jockey Club (founded in 1743) is older than the state itself. But even people who slept most of their way through Economics 101 can tell you that without demand, supply should dwindle.

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