As it was brought to the forefront in the Kevin Costner movie “Tin Cup,” the U.S. Open is truly an “open” event.
Anyone who has a USGA Handicap Index not exceeding 1.4 can try and qualify.
More than 9,000 players began the quest to compete for the national championship, having to survive 18 holes of local qualifying and then 36 holes of sectional qualifying.
There were 109 sites for local qualifying, where just 550 players moved on to one of the 13 sectional qualifying sites.
It’s a grueling process, but one that pays huge dividends for the lucky golfers who persevere.
“That’s the greatness of golf and golf championships, is you could have a guy that, some kid that’s 16 years old, has won the national junior or something, and he qualifies, shoots 68; and then goes, shoots a couple more 68s and then go into the U.S. Open without anybody saying, ‘You’re too young, don’t belong here,’ and shoot four more 68s and walk off with the championship trophy,” NBC golf analyst Johnny Miller said.
Of the U.S. Open field of 156 players, approximately half came via the qualifying process. The field will be cut to the low 60 scores (and ties) after the first two days of play (36 holes). An 18-hole playoff will be contested on June 18 in the event of a tie.