USGA Will Welcome LIV Players to U.S. Open 'With Open Arms' If They Qualify 

USGA CEO Mike Wahn spoke to Sports IIlustrated this week and confirmed that several LIV players are already exempt, and many others are set to try to qualify for a spot at the upcoming U.S. Open at Pinehurst.
USGA CEO Mike Whan.
USGA CEO Mike Whan. / John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

USGA CEO Mike Whan wants any golfer who's good enough to qualify to compete in the U.S. Open.

Yes, that includes everyone from LIV Golf. 

Per U.S. Open tradition, players not exempt into the field must earn their spot through qualifying events. Anyone with a USGA Handicap Index of 0.4 or less can enter a local qualifier, advance to a 36-hole regional event and earn a spot. (Many top pros not already in the U.S. Open field are exempt from local qualifying and only need to advance via a 36-hole event.) Since 2004, the U.S. Open field has averaged 74.2 players who have advanced through one or both stages of qualifying.

One outspoken LIV player made it clear he is unwilling to try to qualify this year. Back to him shortly.

Speaking with Sports Illustrated at Lancaster Country Club, host of the this year's U.S. Women’s Open from May 30–June 2, Whan said he’s proud of the USGA’s uninhibited embrace of LIV Tour players competing in the U.S. Open and continues to welcome them "with open arms." 

“One of the advantages we have versus most other championships in golf is, a lot of other championships call themselves open but we are the most open, meaning half of the spots in the U.S. Open are not held and are going to be filled by qualifying players,” Whan said.  

“There is a good chunk of LIV players and other major winners who are already in and have played since LIV started playing and we're proud of that. But there are a lot of great players on the DP World Tour, the PGA Tour, the Korn Ferry Tour, and the Asian Tours that aren't in either and they have to go play 36 holes and try to qualify.”

LIV players Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson, Jon Rahm, Cameron Smith, Martin Kaymer, Tyrrell Hatton and Adrian Meronk are exempt and expected to play in the 2024 U.S. Open at Pinehurst Resort on June 13-16. 

Former major champions and current LIV players Sergio Garcia, Patrick Reed, Charl Schwartzel, Henrik Stenson and Graeme McDowell are among 35 players from LIV who will attempt to earn a spot in the field through final qualifying. 

“We saw it last year, we had a pretty consequential amount of LIV players go to qualify,” Whan said. “We had players who went to qualify and got in and some went to qualify and didn't. The same will be true this year.”

One LIV player who isn’t attempting to qualify is Talor Gooch. He made waves ahead of the Masters by saying if Rory McIlroy were to have won the tournament to complete his career grand slam, “there’s just going to be an asterisk.” Gooch's reasoning was he and other LIV players weren’t in the field.

Gooch could have competed for a spot in the U.S. Open through qualifying. The USGA confirmed he did not enter and Gooch confirmed Thursday he will not attempt to qualify. 

“When people talk about other majors, some of those majors are kind of full and the only way to get in is an invite,” Whan said. “In our case, half of our field is not only not full, it's wide open. If you're good enough to get in, we welcome you with open arms.”


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Brian Giuffra

BRIAN GIUFFRA

Brian Giuffra is the VP of Betting Content at Minute Media and has been with the company since 2016. He's a fan of the Knicks, Giants, wine and bourbon, usually consuming them in that order.