124th U.S. Open: All 23 ways to be exempt for the third major

Here is a look a all 23 ways to be exempt for the 124th U.S. Open starting on Thursday.

U.S. Open, Pinehurst
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Every player who competes in the U.S. Open earns an exemption to compete in the 156-man field for the third major championship of the year in men’s professional golf.

Whether is through success in a previous U.S. Open or winning throughout the year, players have earned their way to compete in one of the toughest weeks during the year.

Here is a look at all 23 exemptions established by the United States Golf Association for the 124th U.S. Open in 2024.

F-1 Winner of the U.S. Open Championship the last 10 years (2014-23)

This part of the exemptions rewards winning, obviously as it gives a player that opportunity to come back to a U.S. Open and remember the great moments it took for them to hoist the U.S. Open trophy. Some of the players that qualify under this category include Matt Fitzpatrick, Wyndham Clark, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm, Martin Kaymer and Gary Woodland.  

Also read: The list of every U.S. Open Champion from 1895 to the present

F-2 From the 2023 U.S. Open Championship, the 10 lowest scorers and anyone tying for 10th place

U.S. Open
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Getting a top 10 at any tournament is no easy feat because there is so much a player goes through during that week to be in contention. Placing in the top 10 can also gives motivation to that player to wanting to reach the top in their next go around, especially at a major tournament like the U.S. Open. Some players that qualify for the first time here are Rory McIlroy, Cameron Smith, Tommy Fleetwood, Min Woo Lee, Tom Kim, Scottie Scheffler and Xander Schauffele.

F-3 Winner of the 2023 U.S. Senior Open Championship

One thing about the U.S. Open is that this is a tournament that is involves all generations of the game. For the veterans, this includes winning the previous year’s U.S. Senior Open Championship, which belongs to Bernhard Langer, who has competed in more than 100 major championships, highlighted by two Masters victories in 1985 and 1993. Langer’s best finishes at a U.S. Open came in back-to-back years when he tied for eighth in 1986 and tied for fourth in 1987.

F-4 Winner of the 2023 U.S. Amateur Championship

The future of men’s professional golf relies in the next generations and there are multiple ways amateurs can compete in the U.S. Open through their success. One of those ways is by winning the U.S. Amateur. The most recent U.S. Amateur Champion was Nick Dunlap, who won last year’s event. Dunlap has already made strides following in victory last year after winning on the PGA Tour at The American Express in January. He became the first amateur to win a PGA Tour event since Phil Mickelson in 1991.  

F-5 Winners of the 2023 U.S. Junior Amateur and U.S. Mid-Amateur Championships, and the 2023 U.S. Amateur runner-up (must be an amateur)

Because of USGA focusing on the next generation, they also tap into other amateur levels, as well as rewarding the runner-up of the U.S. Amateur, who was Neal Shipley. The 2023 U.S. Junior Amateur was Bryan Kim and the 2023 U.S. Mid-Amateur Champion was Stewart Hagestad.  

F-6 Winners of the Masters Tournament from 2020-24

In keeping in line with success, this time at the professional level, those who win major championships besides the U.S. Open, each get a five-year exemption. As a result, players like Dustin Johnson and Hideki Matsuyama, who won the Masters in 2020 and 2021, respectively, both received exemption into the 2024 U.S. Open.

F-7 Winners of the PGA of America Championship from 2019-24

Like the Masters, the PGA Championship follows suit. Some of the players who first earn their way to the U.S. Open on this specific exemption include Justin Thomas and Phil Mickelson, who hoisted the Wanamaker Trophy in 2022 and 2021, respectively.

F-8 Winners of The Open Championship from 2019-23

The Open Championship is the same way, garnering a five-year exemption. Despite the Open Championship not taking place in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, two players that come up in the exemptions list for the first time are Brian Harman, who won last year’s event and Shane Lowry, who won the 2019 Open Championship.

F-9 Winners of The Players Championship from 2022-24

Some call The Players Championship the “fifth major.” As a result, the USGA rewards the Players Champion a three-year exemption. This year, it does not apply because over the last three years, Scheffler and Smith have already punched their ticket by winning the Masters (twice) and the Open Championship while both placing in the top 10 of last year’s U.S. Open.

F-10 Winner of the 2023 European BMW PGA Championship

Growing the game also includes winning of the some of the big events outside of the United States, including winning the European BMW PGA Championship on the DP World Tour. The 2023 Champion was Ryan Fox. In 2024 Fox has earned his way to the PGA Tour and has three top 10s in his last six starts heading into the U.S. Open.

F-11 Those players who qualified and were eligible for the season-ending 2023 Tour Championship

To add the depth behind the talent into the U.S. Open, the 30 players who made the 2023 Tour Championship receive an exemption into the third major tournament of 2024. Some of those players whose names first pop up on the U.S. Open exemption list include Keegan Bradley, Sam Burns, Patrick Cantlay, Jason Day, Tony Finau, Max Homa, Viktor Hovland and 2009 U.S. Open Champion Lucas Glover.

F-12 Multiple winners of PGA Tour events that award full-point allocation for the FedEx Cup, from the conclusion of the 2023 U.S. Open to the initiation of the 2024 U.S. Open

Because of how good the PGA Tour has become with players getting better, faster and stronger, one of the toughest things to do is to win in back-to-back fashion. As a result, that feat also earns a tee time into the U.S. Open. The four players who have done that in the last 12 months, dating back to the 2023 U.S. Open are Glover, Hovland, Scheffler and McIlroy.

F-13 The Top 5 players in the 2024 FedEx Cup standings as of May 20, 2024 who are not otherwise exempt

PGA: U.S. Open - Second Round
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Continuing with having success on the PGA Tour, this category regards players that have not already qualified for the U.S. Open, but have well really well through the PGA Championship, which is a little than five months into the PGA Tour season. The five players who qualify here are Billy Horschel, Mackenzie Hughes, Peter Malnati, Taylor Pendrith and Erik Van Rooyen.

F-14 The points leader from the 2023 Korn Ferry Tour season using combined points earned on the Official Korn Ferry Tour regular Season Points Standings and points earned in the Korn Ferry Tour Finals

Combining the youth and the next generation of stars in men’s professional include having success on the Korn Ferry Tour, golf’s version of Major League Baseball’s Triple-A. The Korn Ferry Tour is the traditional final step before earning a PGA Tour card. As a result, the USGA rewards the season-long success on the Korn Ferry Tour, which belongs to Ben Kohles, who had eight top 10s, highlighted by two wins at the Astara Chile Classic and the HomeTown Lenders Championship, which both came in playoff victory fashion.

F-15 The top two players from the final 2023 Race to Dubai Rankings who are not otherwise exempt as of May 20, 2024

In addition to winning the BMW PGA Championship on the DP World Tour, the USGA also gives an exemption the two players who have the best season on the DP World Tour in the Race to Dubai Rankings, like the Korn Ferry Tour and the PGA Tour, who have not already received another exemption. Those two players are Adrian Meronk and Victor Perez.

F-16 The top player on the 2024 Race to Dubai Rankings as of May 20, 2024 who is not otherwise exempt

Like F-13 where the USGA awards current season success on the PGA Tour, the same follows in the Race to Dubai Rankings. Since November of 2023, players on the DP World have been competing and the top player not already exempt as of May 20 was Rikuya Hoshino, who jumped out the gates with two second place finishes early before winning the Commercial bank  Qatar Masters in February to maintain his ranking.

F-17 Winner of the 2023 The Amateur Championship conducted by The R&A (must be an amateur)

Like the U.S. Amateur, which is hosted by the USGA, the USGA also looks at amateur events around the world, including The Amateur Championship, which is hosted by the R&A. The R&A which hosts The Open Championship, Christo Lamprecht won the 2023 The Amateur Championship. The Georgia Tech alum, who stands at 6-foot-8, competed at the Masters in April and missed the cut by a couple of strokes.

F-18 Winner of the 2023 Mark H. McCormack Medal (Men’s World Amateur Golf Ranking; must be an amateur)

The Mark H. McCormack Medal is awarded the golfer in the Men’s World Amateur Golf Rankings and like the other amateur exemption this player has to be an amateur at the time they compete for the U.S. Open. The 2023 recipient was Gordon Sargent, who played college golf at Vanderbilt and was also the low amateur at the 2023 U.S. Open.

F-19 Winner of the 2024 NCAA Division I Men’s Individual Golf Championship (must be amateur)

Part of amateur golf is also diving into the college game to be able to discover future stars like Lamprecht and Sargent. Winning the NCAA Div. I Men’s Individual Golf National Championship also awards exemption, which was won the Hiroshi Tai of Georgia Tech on May 27, who defeated six players by one stroke at 3-under par, including Sargent in Carlsbad, Calif.

F-20 Winner of the 2024 Latin America Amateur Championship (must be amateur)

The Amateur game goes beyond the United States and in Europe, going into Latin America. Santiago De La Fuente won the 2024 Latin America Amateur Championship to earn his spot into the U.S. Open back in January. De La Fuente, who was a senior in 2024 at the University of Houston and helped the Cougars reach the NCAA Regionals, shot 10-under par and won by two strokes at Santa Maria Golf Club in Panama City.

F-21 From the current Official World Golf Ranking, the top 60 points leaders and ties as of May 20, 2024. Players must select a qualifying site at the time of entry (Note: Blank entries will be filed by the USGA for players who become exempt after the close of entries)

In addition to having the top 30 players who made the PGA Tour’s Tour Championship, utilizing the Official World Golf Rankings fully encapsulate the depth to bringing the best players in the world. The top 60 earn their way to the U.S. Open. Some of those players who are exempt through this category are Ludvig Aberg, Sahith Theegala, Cameron Young, Will Zalatoris and Kurt Kitayama.

Also read: World Golf Rankings: Breaking down this week’s top 15

F-22 From the current Official World Golf Ranking, the top 60 points leaders and ties as of June 10, 2024 (if not previously exempt). Players must select a qualifying site at the time of entry. (Note: Blank entries will be filed by the USGA for players who become exempt after the close of entries)

Furthermore, the USGA also recognizes if a player gets going and gets them inside the top 60 after the May 20 deadline. It gives them that late fire to push themselves into getting into the U.S. Open as the deadline is set on June 10, the Monday before the tournament.

F-23 Special exemptions as selected by the USGA. (Deadline for submission of request: May 15, 2024

The USGA committee also has the opportunity to select players if they feel a player is deserving but is unable to qualify through the other 22 exemptions. In 2024, the USGA accepted the request for three-time U.S. Open Champion Tiger Woods to compete in the U.S. Open. After winning the 2019 Masters, his exemption time had already run up, meaning he would have needed to go through the qualifying process. But the USGA gave him that exemption to play.  

Related: What Tiger Woods playing the 2024 U.S. Open means

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