US Open a ‘closed’ affair this year; dreamers out, Qualifiers cancelled

V Krishnaswamy

The Major, that is considered as the ultimate and as the ‘People’s Major’ will not be the same this year. And we don’t know of the future.

The US Open, which attracts as many as 10,000 participants from across the world in qualifiers made up of Local qualifiers, Sectionals and the Final qualifiers, including three outside the US, will all be scrapped this year. Instead, those spots will be given as ‘exemptions’. So, in essence, it would not be wrong to say it becomes a kind of an ‘Invitational Major’ – but these are strange times.

So, the US Open will not be ‘open’ to dreamers this year. The U.S. Open had earlier been postponed from June to September. 17-20.

The USGA has not made final decisions on whether or not to allow spectators.

The USGA also released an additional statement regarding fans at this year’s U.S. Open, noting “we have not made a final determination” about whether spectators will be allowed at Winged Foot in a regular or limited capacity.

Ken Venturi (1964) and Orville Moody (1969) are the only US Open winners, who came through both stages of the qualifiers – locals and sectionals.

Steve Jones (1996), Michael Campbell (2005) and Lucas Glover (2009) have been among players emerging as champions after coming through the Final 36-hole qualifying.

In what has always been the ‘unique’ aspect of the US Open, the USGA had planned 108 local qualifiers – in 45 different states of the US and one in Canada. Thereafter of the 12 sectional qualifiers nine were to be in U.S. and one each in Canada, England and Japan.

“As you can imagine, this was an incredibly difficult decision, as qualifying is a cornerstone of USGA championships,” said USGA senior managing director of championships John Bodenhamer. “We take great pride in the fact that many thousands typically enter to pursue their dream of qualifying for a USGA championship and we deeply regret that they will not have that opportunity this year. But this structure provides the best path forward for us to conduct these championships in 2020.”

“We have not taken these decisions lightly and wish we had more options,” Bodenhamer said. “But with a continued, keen interest in doing what is best for all involved, although we are extremely disappointed, this is the right decision.”

When the USGA first announced cancellation of the qualifiers for players with a handicap of 1.4 or lower, in March, it has hoped to create another ‘system of qualifiers’. However, that has all been cancelled and it will only be exemptions.

The United States Golf Association *USGA), which had already cancelled six tournaments this year because of Covid-19, added four more, the U.S. Mid-Amateur, Women’s Mid-Amateur, Senior Amateur and Senior Women’s Amateur to the list of ‘cancelled’ list.

The only USGA championships staying on – as of now – are the U.S. Open at Winged Foot, the U.S. Women’s Open, U.S. Amateur and U.S. Women’s Amateur. They will all have fields that will have exempt players and those who have been granted exemptions.

The 2020 U.S. Women’s Amateur and U.S. Amateur will retain their August dates. The four remaining 2020 USGA amateur championships will be cancelled. No qualifying to be conducted for any 2020 championships.

The U.S. Women’s Open had been postponed until Dec. 10-13. Both the U.S. Amateur (Aug. 10-16) and U.S. Women’s Amateur (Aug. 3-9) are still on schedule.

 

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