JANUARY 27, 2021 LIBERTY CORNER, N.J.BY BRIAN DEPASQUALE, USGA
he road to the 121st U.S. Open Championship at Torrey Pines Golf Course (South Course) in San Diego, Calif., will begin with 18-hole local qualifying at 109 sites in 43 U.S. states and Canada between April 26-May 18. The championship proper is set to be contested June 17-20.
“Professional and amateur golfers worldwide have a pathway to emerge from the thousands who will attempt to earn a place in this year’s U.S. Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course by competing in this two-stage qualifying process that was established in 1959,” said John Bodenhamer, USGA senior managing director, Championships. “Allied Golf Associations and Golf Canada, with the cooperation of the USGA’s five regional offices, are joined in this collaborative effort for both stages. We appreciate their diligence in overcoming the challenging times we confront each day.”
In 2020, U.S. Open qualifying was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to an all-exempt field at Winged Foot Golf Club. The USGA accepted 9,125 entries for the 2019 championship at Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links. The record of 10,127 entries was established for the 2014 championship on Pinehurst Resort & Country Club’s Course No. 2, in the Village of Pinehurst, N.C.
Those players who advance out of local qualifying will join a group of locally exempt players in final qualifying, which will be conducted over 36 holes. Dates and courses will be announced in February
Several courses have long histories as local qualifying hosts. Illini Country Club, in Springfield, Ill., will conduct a U.S. Open qualifier for the 42nd consecutive year in which qualifying has been conducted. Maketewah Country Club, in Cincinnati, Ohio, will be a local site for the 44th time in the last 46 years. Additionally, Riverton (Wyo.) Country Club has hosted local qualifying since 1998, while Collindale Golf Course, in Fort Collins, Colo., has been a host site since 2003. Ironwood Country Club, in Palm Desert, Calif., will hold a local qualifier for the 22nd time in the last 24 years.
Five clubs will extend their years of hosting U.S. Open local qualifying well past a decade. They are: River Landing Golf Club, in Wallace, N.C.; The Club at Ruby Hill, in Pleasanton, Calif.; Indian Ridge Country Club, in Palm Desert, Calif.; La Purisima Golf Course, in Lompoc, Calif.; and Pinewild Country Club (Magnolia Course), in Pinehurst, N.C.
Orange Tree Golf Club, in Orlando, Fla., has served as a local site since 2012. In four of the last six years at least one player has advanced from Orange Tree through final qualifying and to the U.S. Open, including Luis Gagne, of Costa Rica, who shared low-amateur honors in 2018 at Shinnecock Hills.
In 2019, 17 players advanced through local and final qualifying to the 156-player U.S. Open Championship field at Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links. Of those 17, four players made the 36-hole cut. Ken Venturi (1964) and Orville Moody (1969) are the only players to win the U.S. Open after qualifying through both local and final play.
Several U.S. Open champions have advanced to the championship through both local and final qualifying at some point in their careers, including Lucas Glover, David Graham, Lou Graham, Hale Irwin, Tony Jacklin, Lee Janzen, Tom Kite, Johnny Miller, Corey Pavin, Curtis Strange, Lee Trevino, Gary Woodland and Fuzzy Zoeller.
To be eligible, a player must have a Handicap Index® not exceeding 1.4, or be a professional.
There are 14 local qualifying sites in California, the most of any state. Florida will host 13 local qualifiers, while Texas has six sites and New York and Pennsylvania have five.
Online player registration for the 2021 U.S. Open will begin in the fourth week of February (https://champs.usga.org/index.html).