The U.S. Open’s postponed championship event will forgo the sectional and local qualifiers, a cherished tradition among its fans due to the staging difficulties.
Instead, the United States Golf Association (USGA) will be going with an all-exempt field for the championship, although the criteria to be used for selections have yet to be released.
In normal times, a little more than half of the U.S. Open’s field will be comprised of winners of sectional qualifiers held roughly one week before the championship.
A medley of players including amateurs, nonexempt tour pros, club pros, and mini-tour players regularly make their way to these 36-hole events to gain their entry into the U.S. Open.
Typically, the U.S. Open features 108 local qualifying events with 18 holes, and 12 sectional qualifying tournaments with 36 holes—final qualifiers take place in a number of different states, as well as in Canada, England, and Japan.
The tournament was originally set to take place from June 18 to 21, but has since been rescheduled to September 17 to 20. It will be held at Winged Foot, located in Mamaroneck, New York. The USGA has said it will prepare for spectators, but will play on without a crowd.
USGA Unable to Guarantee Safe Qualifiers
The U.S Open championship senior managing director John Bodenhamer said the qualifiers are seen by many in the golfing world as a cornerstone of USGA. The USGA has been forced to make a tough decision and cancel qualifiers in order to get the 2020 U.S. Open off the ground.
Bodehamer said that the USGA tried to come up with a way to retain the qualifiers, but found it impossible to ensure the safety of the players and the staff if they pushed through. The USGA’s chief brand officer Craig Annis concurred, saying that their office in New Jersey—one of the worst-hit states in the U.S. has made it difficult to coordinate qualifying events across different states. Last week we reported that the PGA Tour is set to also resume with the Charles Schwab Challenge to be the first tournment to be held post COVID-19.
USGA Remains with Four Championships
The USGA also announced that four of their championships will be canceled outright: the Women’s Mid-Amateur, the Senior Women’s Amateur, the Mid-Amateur and the Senior Amateur.
The USGA now has four remaining championships. Two will be played on new schedules: the U.S. Open and the U.S. Women’s Open (December 10 to 13 at the Champions Golf Club in Houston). Two will be keeping to their original schedules: the U.S. Women’s Amateur (August 3 to 9) and the U.S. Amateur (August 10 to 16).