Who can play at the US Open? Eligibility and more explored

U.S. Open - Preview Day Three
How to qualify for the US Open

The US Open is one of the four Major Championships in golf. This year, the Pinehurst Golf Course No. 2 will host the US Open, which is the third Major Championship of the year. It is a dream of all golfers to compete in this tournament at least once.

As the name suggests, this tournament is open to all participants. Hence, even amateur golfers can compete in the US Open. However, the only condition is to have a handicap index of 0.4 or lower. Any golfer fulfiling this criterion is eligible to compete in the US Open qualifying events.

There are two types of qualifiers, the local qualifiers and the final qualifiers. The first step for amateur golfers is to advance through an 18-hole local qualifier. The total number of golfers proceeding further depends upon the number of participants and the strength of the field.

U.S. Open - Preview Day Three
U.S. Open - Preview Day Three

After local qualifiers, there is a final qualifying where golfers, who are exempt from competing in the local qualifiers, also compete. In 2024, they played the final qualifying across 10 venues in the United States, and one each in the United Kingdom and Japan.

The final qualifying is played over 36-holes on a single day, which is known as Golf's Longest Day. This year, 73 golfers made it to the 2024 US Open via final qualifying.

Apart from qualifiers, there are various exemptions awarded by the USGA to complete the field of 156 golfers in the US Open.

Various exemption categories for the US Open

  1. Winners of the U.S. Open Championship the last 10 years
  2. Top 10 finishes, including ties, from the previous U.S. Open
  3. Reigning U.S. Amateur Champion
  4. Reigning U.S. Amateur runner-up (must be an amateur)
  5. Winners of the Masters the last five years (including current year)
  6. Winners of the PGA Championship the last five years (including current year)
  7. Winners of the Open Championship the last five years
  8. Winners of the Players Championship the last three years (including current year)
  9. Winner of the most recent European Tour BMW PGA Championship
  10. Those players who qualified for the previous season-ending Tour Championship
  11. Multiple winners of PGA Tour events that award a full-point allocation for the FedEx Cup from the conclusion of the previous U.S. Open to the current year U.S. Open
  12. The top 10 aggregate point earners (who are not otherwise exempt) from the three-event U.S. Open European Tour Qualifying Series
  13. Winner of the Amateur Championship (must be an amateur)
  14. Winner of the Mark H. McCormack Medal (top-ranked in WAGR & must be an amateur)
  15. Top 60 point leaders and ties in the Official World Golf Ranking three weeks prior to the U.S. Open
  16. Top 60 point leaders and ties in the Official World Golf Ranking one week prior to the U.S. Open
  17. From the previous year's Asian Tour Final Order of Merit, the top finisher who is not otherwise exempt as of three weeks prior to the U.S. Open
  18. From the previous year's ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australasia Final Order of Merit, the top finisher who is not otherwise exempt as of three weeks prior to the U.S. Open
  19. From the current Sunshine Tour Order of Merit, the leading player who is not otherwise exempt as of three weeks prior to the U.S. Open
  20. Latin America Amateur Champion (must be an amateur)
  21. NCAA Division I men's individual champion (must be an amateur)
  22. Previous year's Korn Ferry Tour season points leader (KFT Regular Season and KFT Tour Finals)
  23. Top 5 in current season's FedExCup standings as of May 22 4 weeks prior to U.S. Open
  24. Special Exemptions selected by the USGA

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Edited by Sudeshna Banerjee
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