The COVID-19 pandemic, which previously postponed the US Open to Winged Foot from June to September, forced the USGA to cut qualifications for the first time since 1924.
Open qualifications are the hallmark of the second oldest golf championship. The USGA often points out that half of the 156 players must go through 36-hole qualifications or 18 and 36-hole qualifications.
He even invested in a marketing campaign launched in February called “From Many, One,” to illustrate that more than 9,000 people applied to play at the US Open, which ultimately resulted in a winner.
The USGA did not announce on Monday how the other players would be exempt.
Among those who have not yet qualified is Phil Mickelson, a finalist six times in the only major tournament he has not won.
Mickelson said in February that he would not request an exemption from the USGA and that if he did not qualify or become exempt, he would not play. Winged Foot is where Mickelson double bogeyed on the last hole in 2006 to lose by one.
The field will likely be smaller due to the later date, although the USGA did not mention the size of the field in its April 6 announcement that the US Open would move from September 17 to 20 at Winged Foot, in Mamaroneck, New York.
“As you can imagine, this was an incredibly difficult decision, as qualifying is the cornerstone of the USGA championships,” said John Bodenhamer, senior general manager of the USGA championships. “We are very proud that several thousand people generally sign up to pursue their dream of qualifying for the US Open and we deeply regret that they do not have this opportunity this year. “
Bodenhamer said no qualification was “the best way to go” to host the US Open.
The USGA has said it will not qualify for three more championships it will host this year – the US Women’s Open (moved to Houston in December) and the US Amateur and USF Amateur, both still scheduled. for August.
The US Open, which dates back to 1895, had so many players eager to compete in the years following the First World War that it introduced qualifying in 1924. Then it went through two qualifying stages in 1959 – local qualification with 18 holes and 36- hole section qualification.
Ken Venturi in 1964 and Orville Moody in 1969 were the only US Open champions to have completed the two stages. Lucas Glover, in 2009, was the last champion in the United States to cross the 36 holes for qualification.
The USGA had 108 local qualifications scheduled in 45 states and one in Canada, followed by 12 section qualifications – nine in the United States, one in Canada, England and Japan.
When the US Open was postponed, 50 players were exempted in various categories, such as former champions from the past 10 years or top 10 from the US Open from last year, major champions from the past five years and 30 best players who reached the Tour Championship last. year.
The pandemic closed golf on March 13, two months before the world’s top 60 was exempted from the US Open. The world ranking is frozen since the judgment. We didn’t know when it would resume, because while the PGA Tour is scheduled to resume on June 11, the circuits in Europe, Japan and Asia did not say when they would return.
The USGA, meanwhile, lost 10 championships to the coronavirus. He said Monday that four others had been canceled – the American mid-amateur and the female mid-amateur, as well as the American senior amateur and the American female senior amateur.