2020 U.S. Open Exemption Categories FAQs
June 25, 2020 Liberty Corner, N.J. By USGA

How do you fill the remaining spots and build the alternate list?

Remaining spots in the championship field will be filled in order using the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) as of Aug. 23, 2020. Once the field is set, the USGA will compile an alternate list using the OWGR as of Aug. 23, 2020. 

Blank entries will be filed by the USGA for players who become exempt after close of entries. Players who become exempt after the close of entries will be contacted individually by the USGA and will be required to complete a championship application at that time. 

For ties where two players have the same ranking in the OWGR, the spot(s) in the championship proper will be determined by the highest ranking points earned from each player’s current record of counting events. If a tie still exists, the spot(s) will be determined by the second-highest points earned, the third-highest, and so on until the tie is decided. If a tie still exists, the spot(s) will be determined by lot.

What happens if someone from an exemption category can't play? Do you go to the overall alternate list or do you pick from that same category?

All remaining spots in the championship field will be filled using the procedure outlined above. In the event that a player from a particular exemption category cannot play, the overall alternate list will be utilized to fill that spot.

I am exempt but cannot currently enter the United States of America. How should I proceed?

The USGA understands that some travel restrictions are in place that may affect a player’s ability to enter the United States. When entries open on July 15, the USGA will provide links to the latest travel guidelines. Individuals will have to closely follow updates to those restrictions and determine his ability to travel. 

When will entries be open? 

Entries will be accepted from July 15 through Aug. 26 at 5 p.m. EDT.

I registered already and am still exempt. Do I need to register again?

For those players who completed their online application prior to March 15, no additional action is necessary. All players who have not yet completed an application will be able to do so beginning Wednesday, July 15.

Will there be an increased number of special exemptions? 

Each year we receive special exemption requests for the U.S. Open. They are considered on a case-by-case basis.

How did you select March 15 as the date of the frozen rankings?

The OWGR determined the need to suspend the rankings and selected the rankings posted as of March 15 (Week 11) as the last ranking until the restart of the rankings on June 14. Up until that time, the world of professional golf was on equal footing; all tours were operating in their normal cadence as of that date. Out of fairness, the professional tours and major championships that are part of the OWGR agreed to use the “frozen rankings” for various criteria in assembling fields for specific championships. 

There are several opportunities for PGA Tour players to “play their way into” the U.S. Open; was that intentional?

The move was made to provide players at a variety of levels the opportunity to earn a place in the U.S. Open. We believe these categories and the diversity of the events selected will help provide an element of inspiration for PGA Tour members at all levels.

How many spots are allocated to amateurs? 

Amateurs have been and continue to be an important part of the U.S. Open. On average, we have had 15 amateurs in the U.S. Open field over the last five years. This year, our exemptions will provide the opportunity for 13 amateurs to make the field, which we feel very comfortable with in respect to our reduced field of 144. 

When will the OWGR field be finalized?

We will fill the field using the OWGR as of Sunday, Aug. 23. That date should provide ample time for any international player to plan around the current 14-day self-quarantine.

How will players who become exempt after close of entries file applications? 

Blank entries will be filed by the USGA for players who become exempt after the close of entries. These players will be contacted individually by the USGA and required to complete a championship application at that time.

How big is the field? Why did the USGA make the decision to reduce the overall field size?

We previously announced that due to daylight challenges in September, the U.S. Open field size has been reduced to 144 players from its typical 156 players.

What is USGA plan for fans and what guidance is there for those who have already purchased tickets?

U.S. Open tickets are good for the rescheduled dates, and no action is necessary. Refunds are available on usopen.com.

Will media be allowed at the U.S. Open?

We have not made any decisions about media at the U.S. Open. We will continue to monitor health and safety guidelines and will make a decision when it is appropriate to do so.

How will ties be decided for exemption categories?

Tournament-Based Exemptions in PGA Tour Events (F-16)

With the exception of ties for first place, which will be determined in accordance with the terms for the tournament concerned, ties will be decided in favor of the highest-ranked player in the OWGR at the beginning of the tournament. If two or more players have the same ranking in the OWGR, or two or more players have no OWGR, then ties will be decided in favor of the highest-ranked player in 2019-20 FedEx Cup points standings at the beginning of the tournament. 

If a tie still exists, the lowest final-round score, third-round score, second-round score and first-round score of the tournament will decide the tie, in that order. If both players are still tied, the spot(s) in the championship proper will be determined by lot.

Any player with an official OWGR ranking shall be considered higher-ranked than any player with no official OWGR ranking.

Points-Based and Order of Merit Exemptions (F-17 through F-24)

If two players are tied with the same number of points or money earned, ties will be decided in favor of the highest-ranked player in the OWGR at the beginning of the final points event counting toward that specific category.

For ties where two players have the same OWGR, ties will be decided by the highest ranking points earned from a single event in each player’s current record of counting events, with the reference point being the start of the final points event counting toward that specific category. If a tie still exists, the tie will be decided by the second-highest points earned, the third-highest, and so on until the tie is decided. If a tie still exists, the spot(s) will be determined by lot.

PGA Professional Championship Exemption (F-25)

With the exception of ties for first place, which will be determined in accordance with the terms for the tournament concerned, ties will be decided by a hole-by-hole playoff immediately following the conclusion of the final round of the competition. If a playoff is unable to be completed, the lowest final-round score, third-round score, second-round score and first-round score of the tournament will break the tie, in that order. If both players are still tied, the spot(s) in the championship proper will be determined by the 2019 PGA of America Professional Player of the Year standings. 

Ranking-Based Exemptions (F-26)

For ties where two players have the same ranking in the WAGR, the spot(s) in the championship proper will be determined by the highest ranking points earned from each player’s current record of counting events as of Aug. 19, 2020. If a tie still exists, the spot(s) will be determined by the second-highest points earned, the third-highest, and so on until the tie is decided. If a tie still exists, the spot(s) will be determined by lot.

What does “not otherwise exempt” mean?

For tournament-based exemption categories where the term “not otherwise exempt” is utilized (F-16 and F-25), the reference point will be at the start of the tournament. For example, if a non-exempt player wins the PGA Championship (earning an exemption under F-7), he will also count as one of the three players earning an exemption under F-16, since they were not exempt prior to the start of the tournament. 

For points-based and order of merit exemption categories where the term “not otherwise exempt” is utilized (F-17–F24), the reference point will be at the beginning of the final points event counting toward that specific category.

For category F-26 (WAGR) where the term “not otherwise exempt” is utilized, the reference point will be Aug. 19, 2020.