Here’s how to qualify for the U.S. Open

June 8, 2018

Curious about qualifying for the U.S. Open? Interested in entering a qualifier yourself? Here’s everything you need to know about qualifying for the U.S. Open.

Open Qualifying

U.S. Open Qualifying is open to any professional golfer as well as any amateur with a USGA Handicap Index not exceeding 1.4. There are two steps: First is local qualifying, which consists of 18 holes at each of 112 host sites across the country. Five hundred players advanced through local qualifying in 2018 out of close to 9,000 competitors. Those 500 were joined by another 360 players who were exempt to sectional qualifying, which took place at 13 sites across the country (and two internationally).

In this year’s field, 74 of the 156 competitors emerged from sectional qualifying.

How to sign up

Interested in playing in local qualifying for the 2019 U.S. Open? In 2018, the USGA announced its host sites and began accepting applications in late February.

Exempt list

Alongside the qualifiers, the rest of the field is comprised of players fully exempt through qualifying under the USGA’s current categories:

1. Winners of the U.S. Open for the last ten years

2. Winner and runner-up from the previous year’s U.S. Amateur

3. Winner of the previous year’s Amateur Championship

4. The previous year’s Mark H. McCormack Medal winner for the top-ranked amateur golfer in the world

5. Winners of the previous year’s U.S. Mid-Amateur and U.S. Junior Amateur

6. Winners of each of Masters Tournament, Open Championship and PGA Championship for the last five years

7. Winners of the last three Players Championships

8. Winner of the current year’s BMW PGA Championship

9. Winner of the last U.S. Senior Open

10. In the year after the Olympic golf tournament, the reigning men’s gold medalist

11. Top 10 finishers and ties from the previous year’s U.S. Open

12. Players who qualified for the previous year’s Tour Championship

13. The top 60 in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) as of two weeks before the start of the tournament

14. The top 60 in the OWGR as of the tournament date

15. Special exemptions selected by the USGA

After the second top 60 cutoff date, the tournament fills its remaining spots with alternates from qualifying sites.

The amateurs apply only if the players remain amateurs as of the tournament date.