One of my favorite times of year is coming up. It's US Open Qualifying! It's the shorter and more inexpensive version of the Q-school format, and while not playing for a Tour Card, you're still vying for the chance to tee it up with the best in the world.
According to a USGA press release, 8,300 golfers registered to start the US Open Championship entry process. Sixty-five of those guys are already exempted straight into the championship...and there could be more by the time June rolls around and all of the exemption criteria come into play. A whole bunch more can exempt themselves into the sectional event if they meet any one of 34 exemption criteria, including, the Top 10 on the Canadian Tour money list, the Top 20 on the Sunshine and Challenge Tour money lists, and certain members of past Walker Cup teams. Want to know all of the exemptions? Just click here: https://champs.usga.org/EntryForms/usopen_2011.pdf
Guys lucky enough to move out of local qualifying and those that exempted their way into the Sectional Events will play at one of 11 sites on June 6. There are also 2 international sites that will host players. This time they get to play 36 holes in one day to try to qualify to play at Congressional Country Club in Maryland on starting on June 16. There are no sectional events close to me, but the Dallas Athletic Club will host one of the sectionals, so I hope some folks will go cheer!
Wow, 8,300 guys are fighting for 156 spots...let's see, that's a less than 3% chance of making it. And with 65 guys already guaranteed spots, those club pros, college standouts, and developmental tour journeymen are probably going to fight for less than 85 spots once the exemptions have been counted...now we're talking a less than 2% chance. But good heavens, for $150 you can play a nice golf course and hope to have the round of your life to advance and then you're up against a hole crew of PGA Tour players who didn't qualify and countless more professionals playing extremely competitive tours in the US and all over the world.
But you know I love the PGA Tour dreamers!! I'm looking forward to tracking down some Minnesota players...I'm wondering if Clayton Rask, Bryce Hanstad, Ben Pasani, or Brett Swedberg, who I followed online at Q-school last fall will be teeing it up in qualifiers starting next week. The fields should be posted next week at http://www.usga.org/ and with all states being represented, everyone should find someone to root for (but feel free to cheer on the Minnesotans!).
Let the dreaming begin!
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Filed under: Minnesota, US Open, qualifier, Cathy Erickson, Clayton Rask, Texas