As long as a U.S. Open is played at Winged Foot this year, Phil Mickelson will be there. In light of its recent announcement that all open qualifying for the event would be canceled for 2020, the USGA announced this week how qualification would actually work, and Mickelson is now eligible.
Normally the USGA relies on local and sectional qualifying to fill out half its field, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, all of that qualifying was nixed and the USGA was forced to fill out its field in a more traditional way. Mickelson has fallen to 66th in the world — normally outside of qualification — but he gets in under one of several revamped stipulations.
Here’s a look at all of the new ones.
- Top 70 point leaders and ties from the OWGR as of March 15
- FedExCup final points list (top 5)
- Korn Ferry Tour’s regular-season points and finals (top 5 in each)
- European Tour’s UK Swing (top 10 in aggregate points for first five events)
- PGA Professional Championship (top 3)
- Final 2019 order of merit top finishers, not otherwise exempt, from the Japan Golf Tour, Sunshine Tour, Asian Tour and Australasia Tour
- The World Amateur Golf Ranking top 7 as of Aug. 19
- The top two players, not otherwise exempt, in the top 10 and ties of the 2020 the Memorial Tournament, 3M Open, WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, Barracuda Championship and Wyndham Championship
- Top three players, not otherwise exempt, in the top 10 and ties of the 2020 PGA Championship
- Remaining spots in the championship will be filled using the OWGR, as of Aug. 23
Mickelson gets in via the first one here. He was (barely) ranked inside the top 70 on March 15. Lefty, of course, has finished runner-up a record six times, including once at Winged Foot at the 2006 U.S. Open.
The USGA’s goal here was to create a field similar to what it has seen in past U.S. Open fields, which often includes an eclectic and wide-ranging group of players. The field has been reduced to 144 players, but it’s pretty great that it will include more amateurs, Korn Ferry players and others from a variety of tours around the globe.
“The decision to cancel local and final qualifying for this year’s U.S. Open was deeply disappointing, but we are pleased to still provide the world’s best professional and amateur players the opportunity to compete for this historic and coveted championship,” said John Bodenhamer, senior managing director of USGA championships. “The exemption categories for this year’s championship at Winged Foot Golf Club were carefully developed to mirror a representative U.S. Open field, and we are excited that players will still have an opportunity to earn a place in the field through a variety of categories.”
Others who qualified via the top 70 (who were not in the top 60) include Eddie Pepperell, Keegan Bradley and Joel Dahmen. The event is set to take place from Sept. 17-20.