While construction of the 2020 U.S. Open field looked quite different than it has in past years, the final list looks pretty much the same. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the USGA canceled qualifying for the event, which means that all 144 golfers who tee it up at Winged Foot next week got in via an exemption.
This is unusual for a field that is normally 156 players large and whose composition is often half exemptions and half qualifiers via local and sectional qualifying. Because of this the USGA attempted to put together a facsimile of a U.S. Open field by offering exemptions for categories of players that are not normally offered.
Here’s a sampling of the 28 categories where players could potentially score an exemption into this event.
- Top 70 in Official World Golf Rankings on March 15
- Top 10 points earners from first five events of European Tour’s UK Swing
- Top five points earners from Korn Ferry Tour
- Top three from PGA Professional Player of the Year standings
- Top seven from World Amateur Golf Rankings
- Top two players from a variety of PGA Tour events since restart on June 6
This has benefitted a number of big names. Phil Mickelson qualified by being in the top 70 of the OWGR on March 15. Daniel Berger qualified by finishing T2 at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational. Former Florida star Sam Horsfield qualified because of his performance on the European Tour’s UK Swing.
It’s impossible to perfectly replicate what would have happened in qualifying, but the USGA did a great job of filling out a field around its biggest stars with interesting young players on different tours and PGA Tour golfers who are playing the best golf right now.
With Brooks Koepka’s withdrawal on Wednesday, the event will be down a superstar, but nearly every other player from the top 50 in the current Official World Golf Rankings will be there, including these past champions.
- Jordan Spieth
- Gary Woodland
- Graeme McDowell
- Justin Rose
- Rory McIlroy
- Martin Kaymer
- Lucas Glover
- Tiger Woods
- Dustin Johnson
- Webb Simpson
The 30 players who made the 2019 Tour Championship are also exempt, and they are joined by the top five players on the 2020 FedEx Cup points list not already exempt, which means the entire 2020 Tour Championship field is in the event as well. There will also be several elite amateurs in attendance at Winged Foot via different exemptions, including Cole Hammer, John Augunstein, Andy Ogletree, Preston Summerhays, Takumi Kanaya and Ricky Castillo.
The entire field represents a diverse mix of players from ever part of the game. From tours in Asia, Australia and Europe. From amateurs to pros. From touring pros to teaching pros. From the best in 2019 and the best in 2020. The USGA pieced together an incredible field that will vie against one of the toughest tests in the world for the United States Open.