How to Qualify for the US Open Golf

The U.S. Open Golf Championship is one of the most prestigious and challenging golf tournaments in the world. It is open to professional and amateur golfers who meet certain qualifying criteria. Here are the ways to qualify for the U.S. Open Golf:

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  1. Exemption Categories: The United States Golf Association (USGA) offers 18 exemption categories that allow players to automatically qualify for the U.S. Open Golf. Some of these categories include former U.S. Open winners, top 60 players in the Official World Golf Ranking, and top 10 players from the previous year’s U.S. Open.
  2. Local Qualifying: The USGA conducts local qualifying tournaments across the United States. These events are open to both professional and amateur golfers with a USGA Handicap Index not exceeding 1.4. Golfers who advance from local qualifying move on to sectional qualifying.
  3. Sectional Qualifying: Sectional qualifying tournaments are held at various sites in the United States and internationally. Golfers who successfully navigate local qualifying compete against each other in sectional qualifying for a chance to earn a spot in the U.S. Open Golf.
  4. International Qualifying: The USGA also offers international qualifying tournaments in Europe and Asia. Golfers who advance from international qualifying move on to sectional qualifying.
  5. Special Invitations: The USGA also has the authority to offer special invitations to select players who have not otherwise qualified for the U.S. Open Golf. These invitations are typically offered to players who have a significant professional or amateur golf resume.

Additional Details:

Here are a few more details on the qualifying process for the U.S. Open Golf:

  • Local qualifying typically takes place in late April or early May, with over 100 events held across the United States. The number of players who advance from each local qualifying event is determined by the number of entries and available spots in sectional qualifying.
  • Sectional qualifying is a one-day, 36-hole event held at various sites in the United States and internationally. The top players from each sectional event earn a spot in the U.S. Open Golf.
  • International qualifying events are typically held in Japan and England in late May, with the top players from each event advancing to sectional qualifying.
  • The USGA also reserves a small number of spots in the U.S. Open Golf for players who do not meet any of the qualifying criteria. These spots are typically offered to players who have a strong record in other major championships or who are ranked highly in the world golf rankings.
  • The U.S. Open Golf is typically held in mid-June at various courses throughout the United States. The tournament is open to both professional and amateur golfers, although the vast majority of participants are professionals.
  • The winner of the U.S. Open Golf receives a substantial prize purse, as well as a number of exemptions into other major championships and PGA Tour events. Winning the U.S. Open is considered one of the most prestigious achievements in golf.
  • The U.S. Open Golf is one of four major championships in professional golf, along with The Masters, The Open Championship (British Open), and the PGA Championship.
  • The U.S. Open is known for its challenging courses and difficult playing conditions. Courses are typically set up to be long and narrow, with thick rough and fast greens.
  • The tournament is played over four days, with 18 holes of golf played each day. After the first two days, the field is cut to the top 60 players (plus ties) who then compete over the final two days.
  • In addition to the exemptions and qualifying methods mentioned earlier, the USGA also allows a limited number of players to enter the tournament through a special application process. These applications are typically accepted from golfers who do not have access to local qualifying events, such as those who live overseas.
  • The U.S. Open Golf is steeped in tradition and history. The first tournament was held in 1895, and the list of past champions includes some of the greatest golfers of all time, such as Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, and Ben Hogan.
  • Qualifying for the U.S. Open Golf is a grueling process that requires skill, perseverance, and often a bit of luck. Many golfers spend years trying to qualify for the tournament, and the competition at the local and sectional qualifying events can be intense.
  • Despite the difficulty of the qualifying process, many golfers consider playing in the U.S. Open Golf to be a lifelong dream. The tournament represents the pinnacle of achievement in the sport of golf, and winning the U.S. Open is considered one of the greatest accomplishments in all of sports.

US Open Golf Qualifying Criteria

Qualifying CriteriaDescriptionRequired for
Professional GolfersPlayers who are members of a recognized professional golf associationAll players
AmateursPlayers who have a USGA handicap index of 1.4 or lowerAll players
Local Qualifying18-hole stroke play, with top finishers advancing to sectional qualifyingAll players
Sectional Qualifying36-hole stroke play, with top finishers advancing to the US OpenAll players
Special ExemptionsPlayers who do not meet any other qualifying criteria but are given an exemption by the USGASome players

US Open Golf Exemption Categories

Exemption CategoryDescriptionPlayers Eligible
Winners of the US OpenPlayers who have won the US Open in the past 10 yearsUp to 10 players
Winners of other major championshipsPlayers who have won the Masters, PGA Championship, or Open Championship in the past 5 yearsUp to 5 players
Top 60 in Official World Golf RankingPlayers ranked in the top 60 of the OWGR at the end of the week before the US OpenUp to 60 players
Top 10 from the previous year’s US OpenPlayers who finished in the top 10 at the previous year’s US OpenUp to 10 players
PGA Tour event winnersPlayers who win a PGA Tour event from the previous US Open to the week before the current US OpenVaries

Local Qualifying Sites

SiteCity, StateNumber of Qualifying Spots
The Country Club at DC RanchScottsdale, AZ4
Classic ClubPalm Desert, CA6
Timuquana Country ClubJacksonville, FL3
The Club at Admirals CoveJupiter, FL5
Illini Country ClubSpringfield, IL3
The Club at Porto CimaSunrise Beach, MO3
Century Country ClubPurchase, NY2
The Ridge at Back BrookRingoes, NJ3
Spring Mill Country ClubIvyland, PA3
Germantown Country ClubMemphis, TN4

Sectional Qualifying Sites

SiteCity, StateNumber of Qualifying Spots
Bear Creek Golf ClubDallas, TX14
The Club at Ruby HillPleasanton, CA5
Hawks Ridge Golf ClubBall Ground, GA5
Woodmont Country ClubRockville, MD8
RattleSnake Point Golf ClubMilton, ON, Canada4
Century Country Club & Old Oaks Country ClubPurchase & Purchase, NY10
Brookside Golf & Country Club & The Lakes Golf & Country ClubColumbus & Westerville, OH16
Springfield Country ClubSpringfield, OH7
The Bear’s ClubJupiter, FL5
Hawks Creek Golf ClubFort Worth, TX10

US Open Golf Qualifying Scores

Qualifying RoundLocal QualifyingSectional Qualifying
Par or better70144
+1 or better71145
+2 or better72146



  • Ray Barnes

    Ray Barnes, our Senior Staff Writer and a Golf Analyst with a PhD in Sports Analytics, is a beacon of insight in the golfing world. With a deep understanding of the sport's nuances, statistical analysis, and a talent for demystifying complexities, he provides in-depth analysis and captivating narratives that engage golf enthusiasts worldwide.

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