19 players you won’t believe aren’t exempt for the U.S. Open

June 4, 2018

UPDATE: Several of the players mentioned in this post advanced through sectional qualifying Monday to earn a spot in the U.S. Open. For all the qualifying results, click here.


Marathon Monday has arrived, as U.S. Open hopefuls try to advance out of their grueling sectional qualifying sites (10 in the U.S., one in England) and play in the 118th U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills on June 14-17.

But that golden ticket isn’t always easy — just ask Adam Scott. He’s among those battling through 36-hole qualifiers today. The top 60 in the World Ranking on May 21 and again on June 11 (following the FedEx St. Jude Classic) get automatic invites (players can also qualify via other criteria), but Scott currently sits 64th entering this week.

So the former World No. 1 is attempting to extend his streak of 67 straight majors. Here are a few other notable names not exempt and competing (or planning to compete) at Monday sectionals.

To follow all of the sectional qualifying action, click here.

Adam Scott (Columbus, Ohio) — Former World No. 1 and Masters champ has played in 67 straight majors.

Keegan Bradley (Columbus, Ohio) — The 2011 PGA champ has played in six U.S. Opens; best finish a T4 at Pinehurst in 2014.

Stewart Cink (Columbus, Ohio) — Has seven top 25s in 20 U.S. Open appearances.

Kevin Na (Columbus, Ohio) — Ranked 41st on the PGA Tour’s career money list ($25,954,970), he had a spot in the Columbus qualifier but opted out.

Patton Kizzire (Columbus, Ohio) — Two-time winner on Tour this season but still needs to quailify.

Vijay Singh (Columbus, Ohio) — Three-time major-winner has played in 18 U.S. Opens and cracked the top 10 seven times.

Geoff Ogilvy (Memphis, Tenn.) — The 2006 U.S. Open champion at Winged Foot is trying to get back to another Open in New York.

J.B. Holmes (Memphis, Tenn.) — Four-time Tour winner was 12th at the 2017 Open at Erin Hills, but needed to shave one more stroke for an automatic spot at Shinny. A top-10 finish would have been enough.

Steve Stricker (Memphis, Tenn.) — The 12-time PGA Tour winner has a dozen top 25s in U.S. Opens. Tied for 16th at Erin Hills to also narrowly miss a top-10 finish and automatic spot this year.

Billy Horschel (Memphis, Tenn.) — One half of this year’s Zurich Classic championship duo, Horschel has played in six Opens.

Scott Piercy (Memphis, Tenn.) — The other half of the Zurich Classic champs.

Retief Goosen (Memphis, Tenn.) — The last time the Open was at Shinnecock Hills, in 2004, Goosen won it for his second Open title in four years. Surprisingly, being the defending champ wasn’t enough for a special exemption.

Angel Cabrera (Richmond, Texas) — In his first year without the 10-year exemption he got for winning the 2007 U.S. Open, Cabrera withdrew six holes into his qualifier on Monday.

Padraig Harrington (Surrey, England) — A two-time British Open champ and 2008 PGA winner, Harrington has five top 10s in the U.S. Open.

Lee Westwood (Surrey, England) — Had been a mainstay at the Masters for years (six top 10s), but that ended earlier this year. His streak of consecutive U.S. Opens (11) might, too.

Thomas Pieters (Surrey, England) — Former NCAA cham, European Ryder Cupper and club snapper has played in one U.S. Open and missed the cut.

Andrew “Beef” Johnston (Surrey, England) — Everyone’s favorite name to scream on the golf course.

Sam Saunders (Jupiter, Fla.) — Arnold Palmer’s grandson has played in two Opens, in 2011 (MC) and 2015 (T50).

Billy Hurley III (Rockville, Md.) — The Naval Academy grad has won once on Tour, at the 2016 Quicken Loans.