Vijay Singh accepted a special exemption to the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf links, according to the United States Golf Association. Singh, a three-time major winner and former No. 1 player in the world, has struggled with back injuries the last two years and has fallen out of the world top 50, which means he would have had to qualify for a spot in the tournament. The top 50 players in the Official World Golf Ranking get automatic spots in the U.S. Open field. “There were many compelling reasons for us to invite Vijay Singh into the field of this year’s U.S. Open, particularly his three wins in Majors in the last 12 years,” said Thomas J. O’Toole Jr., chairman of the USGA’s championship committee. “He has played through injuries, which caused him to drop, quite quickly this year, in the World Rankings. He’s always been competitive at the U.S. Open and he is healthy and playing well again.” The special exemption means that Singh can continue his streak of playing in 63 consecutive majors--the longest active run in the game. Singh was hoping for this special exemption and previously told Golfweek that he was not sure if he would play in a U.S. Open qualifier. “I’m finally back to good health and really looking forward to competing at Pebble Beach,” Singh said in a statement. “It’s a fantastic event at a legendary venue. I appreciate the invitation from the USGA and can’t wait to tee it up.” Singh has competed in 16 U.S. Open Championships, including the last 15 consecutively. His best finish was a tie for third in 1999, and he has finished in the top 10 on seven occasions. In 2003 at Olympia Fields (Ill.) Country Club, he tied a pair of U.S. Open scoring records with a second-round 63 that included a 29 on the second nine.
In his last start in the U.S. Open in 2009, he tied for 27th. His first start at the U.S. Open came in 1993 at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, N.J., and that was the only time he failed to make the cut in his U.S. Open appearances.
The USGA also offered a special exemption for the 2010 U.S. Open to Tom Watson, who won the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.Related: Complete U.S. Open preview