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2020 U.S. Open Future Bleak: Look to 2021 Open at Torrey Pines

The United States Golf Association (USGA) has announced that qualifying rounds for the 120th U.S. Open golf tournament are cancelled due to Covid-19. This casts a shadow over the event, scheduled to take place at Winged Foot Golf Club in New York State between 14-21 September 2020. The USGA announced on May 19th that the 2020 U.S. Open would feature an all-exempt field. 

Usually, an Open championship has a qualification process for amateurs and professionals who do not make the exempt list. To make the exempt list usually, golfers must have won a specific major event or have very high rankings. An all-exempt field at an Open golf championship means that the normal process for qualification is scrapped and play will proceed straight to the main event. 

The planned qualifying process for the U.S. Open had attendance from 45 American states with 108 local qualifiers, each over 18-holes, with one planned in Canada. This was to be followed by 12 final qualifiers in late May and early June, with additional qualifying processes throughout the year. It is understood that the field will be reduced from 156 players to 144. The USGA governing body of the U.S. Open is yet to announce its decision to categorise the all-exempt field. 

By creating an all-exempt field for the 2020 U.S. Open, the USGA has cast doubt over attendance for the main event scheduled for September. The event may be played without spectators, with the entire event televised as a safety precaution from Covid-19. If the event does go ahead with spectators, external U.S golf fans will have a hard time attending the event. The 2014 U.S. Open saw a record number of entries made with over 10,000 golfers registered.  The U.S. Open was originally scheduled to play in June, but it was moved to September due to the spread of Covid-19. Whether the event goes ahead in 2020 at all or if it played without spectators is anyone’s guess.

Ninth hole at Winged Foot Golf Club looking towards Clubhouse
Winged Foot Golf Club 9th hole

2021 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, CA

For golf fans who want reassurance that their favourite events will go ahead unimpeded, consider the 2021 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines on California’s southern coastline. The last time Torrey Pines held the event was in 2008 when Tiger Woods won in a playoff against Rocco Mediate with a torn ACL. The South Course is set to host the 121st U.S. Open. Designed by William Bell and refurbished by Rees Jones, The South Course has stunning Pacific Ocean views and a championship layout that draws the eye of many golf tournaments. 

The current Covid-19 situation in the United States grows worse by the day despite President Donald Trump, referring to ‘tremendous progress’ being made to stop the virus’ spread. The U.S. Open’s governing body, USGA, has decided to cancel the qualifiers for September’s event in light of the pandemic for the safety of players, staff and attendees. The Golf Channel reported that the USGA has also cancelled all qualifying processes for every major championship for 2020. The USGA plans to press ahead with the 2020 U.S. Open at Winged Foot Golf Club, New York in September.

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