Phil Mickelson qualifies for the US Open. USA As the exemption criteria are expanded

Having had to rule out the local and sectional qualification for the United States Open amid the coronavirus pandemic, the United States Golf Association announced exemption criteria for the 120th edition of the main championship on Thursday, which was rescheduled for the September 17-20 at the Winged Foot Golf Club. in Mamaroneck, New York.

An expansion of the Official Golf World Ranking to the Top 70 starting March 15, granting high-finishing venues among six PGA Tour events, a point system for determining tickets to five European Tour events and places for players and Korn Ferry Tour fans. part of the exemption criteria for the tournament.

There are currently 84 players eligible for the championship, including six-time runner-up Phil Mickelson, who will make it through to his No. 61 world ranking starting March 15. That means 60 places can still be earned through one of the exemption categories.

“It was uncharted territory for us,” said John Bodenhamer, director general of USGA championships. “It’s something we’ve never done before, at least in modern history. Qualification is a big part of what we do. It’s ingrained in our DNA and it’s the cornerstone of what we do. It’s the ultimate meritocracy. It doesn’t Your background matters. If you put the ball in the hole, you’re in. So this wasn’t easy.

“But we feel good about it. It’s a representative field for the US Open. Of what could come about through qualification and exemptions in a normal year … It took a bit of creative thinking on our part, and there are some things here that will surprise. “

In addition to the usual exemptions, such as the winners of the US Open. USA Over the past 10 years, the current amateur champion and runner-up in the USA. In the U.S., the top 30 in the 2019 FedEx Cup final standings and the winners of the other majors in the past five years, there are new qualifying criteria including the following:

• The 70 best in the Official World Golf Ranking when the system was locked on March 15 at the beginning of the world golf closing will be eligible for the US Open. The USGA considered it important, in the name of a level playing field, to go with the ratings at that time rather than the current ratings at a time when not all players in the world can compete. 70 is above 60 that would have been in place at two different times before the tournament that was supposed to take place from June 18-21.

Mickelson, 50, who had not yet met any of the qualifying criteria, is now exempt. One of its six finalists was in Winged Foot in 2006.

• Make your way. Starting with the Memorial Tournament, players will have the opportunity to play in the US Open in six tournaments, with the top two players being in the top 10, but not exempt from earning a spot on the field. The events are the Memorial, the 3M Championship, WGC-FedEx St. Jude, the Barracuda Championship and the Wyndham Championship, with three places coming from the PGA Championship.

• Final list of FedEx Cup points. At the conclusion of the Tour Championship on September 7, the top five players who would not otherwise be exempt will reach the US Open.

• European rating. Top 10 added point winners, otherwise not exempt, for five events that start with the Betfred British Masters and run through the Welsh Open.

• Korn Ferry Tour. The first five leading points, otherwise not exempt, from the regular season list through the WinCo Foods Portland Open.

• Korn Ferry Tour Series. Starting with the Albertsons Boise Open and ending with the Korn Ferry Tour Championship, the top five leaders are not exempt.

• PGA professional championship. The top three finishers are not exempt.

• August 19 World Amateur Golf Ranking. The first seven are not otherwise exempt. Six fans have already earned a spot on the US Open field.

• International tours. The top two finishers on the Japan Tour plus the top finisher on the Sunshine Tour, Australasia Tour, and Asia Tour who are not otherwise exempt.

• OWGR. As of August 23, the top ranked players to complete the field of 144 players. An alternative list will be compiled using the OWGR on that date.

Bodenhamer said the goal was to get as close as possible to the number of players in the different categories. For example, the US Open has had around 13 to 15 fans on the field in the past 10 years. Therefore, 13 will be included this year.

“What this has done for us is reinforce our thinking about the importance of rating and how we normally do it,” said Bodenhamer. “The US Open and any of our championships are truly open. We have over 40,000 players trying to qualify for our 14 championships, including over 10,000 trying to qualify for the US Open. We believe that makes us unique. This has reinforced the importance is say. But this is for the best. It’s not perfect. It’s not a silver bullet. “

Next up for the USGA: Decide if there are viewers on Winged Foot.

“We have lived at the epicenter of the pandemic,” said Bodenhamer of the USGA, which is located in New Jersey. “We have been very patient and the trends are very positive. We are cautiously optimistic. Things continue to improve. It is premature to say what will happen. Time is on our side. We think we have a chance to have some fans on Winged Foot from in a socially distanced way.

“We are optimistic about it. In March and April, we wondered if we could play Winged Foot. Our medical advisers then said that time is on our side. There may not be many hot spots. Months. And that is the case. Think about what it would mean if we could crown a United States Open champion in Westchester County when he was the epicenter of the virus. It would be inspiring. “