A Mark of Longevity for Adam Scott May Be in Jeopardy

The 2013 Masters champion has played in 91 consecutive majors but doesn't have a spot yet in next month's U.S. Open.
Adam Scott last missed a major in 2001.
Adam Scott last missed a major in 2001. / Raymond Carlin III/USA TODAY Sports

Adam Scott missed the cut last weekend at the PGA Championship to little fanfare.

The 2013 Masters champion has gotten more attention for the sponsor invites he’s received into signature events this year than for his actual golf, which by his own admission has been disappointing.

But it has put in peril an impressive streak of longevity: Scott is not yet exempt for the U.S. Open, having played in 91 consecutive major championships. To put that in perspective, Jordan Spieth has the next-longest major streak at 44.

His tie for 12th at the Charles Schwab Challenge helps his cause but does not yet assure it.

After a tie for seventh at the Hero Dubai Classic on the DP World Tour and then a tie for eighth at the WM Phoenix Open, Scott, 43, has failed to sniff the top of a leaderboard.

He missed the cut at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, tied for 14th at the Valero Texas Open the week prior to the Masters and was unable to take advantage of his invite to the Wells Fargo Championship, where he tied for 29th.

The missed cut at Valhalla came at an unfortunate time. That result dropped him out of the top 60 in the Official World Golf Ranking on the very day the United States Golf Association was giving exemptions to those who were among the top 60 into next month’s U.S. Open.

As recently as four years ago, when he won the Genesis Invitational, the popular Aussie was sixth in the world. He had not been out of the top 60 since 2018. That year, Scott needed to make it through U.S. Open qualifying to get to the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills.

And he could be faced with the same fate this year.

Scott can still make the U.S. Open field if he is among the top 60 again on June 10, the week of the tournament at Pinehurst No. 2. His finish at Colonial pushed him just inside the top 60 again to 58th and he’s entered in this week’s RBC Canadian Open.

But he’s not a lock to stay there and if he doesn’t, Scott has entered final qualifying on June 3.

“It seems my golf is the same all the time,” Scott said prior to the PGA. “It’s mediocre by Tour standards. Or average. 20th, 30th. 14th. Fine margins between the top 10 ... not that that’s what I’m trying to do, but I’m not getting the most out of it. I don’t think I blame anything much. I should probably change something to see if I can vary the result.”

Scott played the first of those 91 straight majors at the 2001 British Open at Royal Lytham & St. Anne’s, where David Duval won his only major title.

Then 21, Scott tied for ninth at the Masters the following year but was largely frustrated in the biggest tournaments for the better part of a decade, posting just five top-10s in his first 40 major starts.

But Scott evolved into one of the game’s top players, winning the 2013 Masters in a playoff, getting to No. 1 in the world in 2014, winning 14 PGA Tour events as well as being credited with 11 DP World Tour wins.

His last PGA Tour victory came at the 2020 Genesis and the coronavirus pandemic interrupted his good form, which he had difficulty regaining when faced with travel restrictions later that year.

Last year, Scott failed to qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs, hence his need for invites into the signature events.

“I had a disappointing week at the PGA,” Scott said. “The state of my game had been pretty solid all around, but I struggled on the greens and I have struggled on the greens the two previous weeks before that. So that’s really held me back. I think my game is in better shape than the results are showing. I know everyone who is not in the top 10 in the world is probably saying that, but that’s how I feel.”

Scott’s major run is impressive. Sergio Garcia had played in 82 consecutive majors before missing the fall 2020 Masters because he tested positive for COVID-19. He would have made it to 92 before missing a major had the health issue not intervened.

Phil Mickelson, who has played in 123 major championships, had a best streak of 61. Tiger Woods played 46 straight before missing the 2008 Open after knee surgery and has missed 22 since winning the 2008 U.S. Open.

Tom Watson played in every major starting with the 1974 PGA Championship through the 1996 U.S. Open, a run of 87 in a row. He missed the 1996 Open, for which he was exempt, and then went on to play 18 more in a row.

The all-time mark for major longevity is held by Jack Nicklaus. Starting with the 1962 Masters, he played in every major through the 1998 U.S. Open—36-plus years and 146 straight majors.

The U.S. Open nitty-gritty

The U.S. Open is the most “open” of the major championships. The Masters is an invitational. The PGA Championship does not have amateurs. The British Open has limited final qualifying but largely is comprised of exempt players, many of whom qualify via various worldwide tour events.

But the U.S. Open still has robust qualifying just a week prior to the event.

Roughly 65 to 70 spots are still available to those who play across 10 final qualifiers on June 3.

Three such qualifiers took place last week in Japan, England and Dallas, the latter of which saw 2017 Masters champion Sergio Garcia miss out on a spot in a playoff where he was the only player among seven for six spots to bogey the first extra hole.

Sergio Garcia plays during the first round of the 2024 LIV Golf Singapore event.
Sergio Garcia is an alternate for next month's U.S. Open. / Edgar Su via USA TODAY Sports

But there is still hope for Garcia, 44, who advanced through qualifying last year and played at Los Angeles Country Club. He is the first alternate out of the Texas site and will see his name be part of a reallocation list that the United States Golf Association keeps from all 13 of the qualifying sites. In simple terms, it’s basically a rating based on strength of field at each of the qualifiers and how many spots were originally allocated.

Of the 10 more final qualifying venues on June 3, one is in Canada following the RBC Canadian Open and one in Columbus, Ohio, preceding the Memorial Tournament. Those events should attract strong fields.

That means while Garcia is not assured of getting into the U.S. Open, his chances seem pretty good. The USGA holds back places for those who might qualify via the Official World Golf Ranking as of June 10, as well as spots left open in case a player not otherwise exempt wins a second PGA Tour event in the last 12 months.

In other words, someone who won in the last 12 months who is not otherwise exempt could win this week in Canada and get in the U.S. Open. If that doesn’t happen, that in theory opens up a spot for an alternate such as Garcia. So would a withdrawal due to injury.

Garcia is going to want to get to Pinehurst, N.C., in two weeks (following LIV Golf’s event in Houston) and join his LIV Golf teammate, Eugenio Chacarra, who did make it through the Texas qualifier, the only one of nine LIV golfers to make it through.

Francesco Molinari, who won the 2018 Open at Carnoustie, also advanced out of the Texas qualifier as did his brother, Edoardo—out of the one at Walton Heath near London. Edoardo, an assistant to European Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald, is a three-time DP World Tour winner.

Robert Rock and Matteo Mannasero, another couple of names from the past, also qualified via Walton Heath. And Ryo Ishikawa, nicknamed the Shy Prince, who was a teenage prodigy and still just 32 years old, also qualified in Japan. Ishikawa has 18 victories on the Japan Golf Tour, including one as an amateur in 2007. He has played in eight U.S. Opens and was 63rd last year.

Patrick Reed won’t be at Pinehurst. For reasons unexplained, he entered the Dallas qualifier—being played the day after the final round of the PGA Championship, for which he received an invite. Reed had to know he was getting one as he moved well inside the top-100 OWGR after a 12th-place finish at the Masters. He could have chosen any of the June 3 dates; instead he chose Dallas, then withdrew, and is not eligible to enter another qualifier. He will miss his first major championship in 10 years.

Deal or No Deal? And other notes

The signals remain terribly mixed on the status of any kind of negotiations between the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, which backs LIV Golf.

The resignation of Jimmy Dunne from the PGA Tour Policy Board two weeks ago was viewed as an ominous sign. At PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan’s discretion a year ago, he was the first to reach out to Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the governor of the PIF, with the idea of working out what became known as the “framework agreement.”

Negotiations, however, barely proceeded. The Tour entered into a private equity arrangement with  the Strategic Sports Group, making the need for the PIF’s investment less imperative. The lawsuits were dropped but LIV still signed PGA Tour players and has shown no signs of slowing down.

Dunne expressed frustration over lack of progress on a deal and Rory McIlroy, who was rebuffed in his efforts to get back on the board, believed it was a setback.

“Honestly I think it's a huge loss for the PGA Tour, if they are trying to get this deal done with the PIF and trying to unify the game,” McIlroy said at the PGA Championship. “Jimmy was basically 'the' relationship, the sort of conduit between the PGA Tour and PIF. It's been really unfortunate that he has not been involved for the last few months, and I think part of the reason that everything is stalling at the minute is because of that.

“So it is, it's really, really disappointing, and you know, I think the Tour is in a worse place because of it. We'll see. We'll see where it goes from here and we'll see what happens. I would say my confidence level on something getting done before last week was as low as it had been and then with this news of Jimmy resigning and knowing the relationship he has with the other side, and how much warmth there is from the other side, it's concerning.”

And yet ... the New York Times reported last week that discussions continue and are very much alive, according to two unidentified sources. The newspaper said that term sheets had recently been exchanged in which the PIF would invest $1.5 billion into PGA Tour Enterprises—the same amount SSG invested in January.

“I think the narrative that things are in a bad place and are moving slowly and some of the things that are asked to me or said are untrue,” said policy board player director Jordan Spieth at Colonial. “I know that it's false, actually. Things are actually moving positively from both sides. I think ultimately we'll end up in a place where professional golf is maybe the best that it's ever been. I think both sides believe that.

“I think although there's always frustrations I think in dealmaking—and I'm not a part of the dealmaking. From what I do know, it's cordial, there's open dialogue, and it's moving along at the pace that it's moving along. And anything else that's said about it is just, I just know to be false.

“So I'm very optimistic I think is what I would say out of all of it. I think that's starting to resonate amongst players as they're able to get more and more information on the matter and it will continue to get more and more information over the coming months.”

And a few more things. . .

Davis Riley’s victory at the Charles Schwab Challenge comes with numerous perks for a player who was outside of the top 200 in the Official World Golf Ranking. He’ll get spots in the Sentry and the Masters next year as well as in the remaining signature events—the Memorial and the Travelers Championship. He also moves to No. 78 in the OWGR, which means he has a chance to get into the U.S. Open with a good week in Canada if he can move into the top 60. ... Harry Higgs is headed back to the PGA Tour next year. After chipping in for an eagle to force and then win a playoff last week on the Korn Ferry Tour, Higgs won the Visit Knoxville Open on Sunday in a playoff over Frankie Capan by eagling the second extra hole. ... Richard Bland’s Senior PGA Championship victory would normally come with a one-year exemption on the PGA Tour Champions. But because he plays for LIV Golf—considered unauthorized by the PGA Tour—he won’t be eligible. He would have earned a spot in the Senior Open but it is played the same week as a LIV Golf event in England. The victory also comes with a spot in the U.S. Senior Open. ... Scottie Scheffler shot a final-round 71 at Colonial, his first final round over par since the 2023 Arnold Palmer Invitational. He posted his 11th top-10 finish of the year. ... The U.S. Open begins at Pinehurst No. 2 in 17 days.

Bob Harig


Bob Harig is a senior golf writer for Sports Illustrated. He has more than 25 years experience covering golf, including 15 at ESPN. Bob is a regular guest on Sirius XM PGA Tour Radio and has written two books, DRIVE: The Lasting Legacy of Tiger Woods and Tiger and Phil: Golf's Most Fascinating Rivalry. He graduated from Indiana University where he earned an Evans Scholarship, named in honor of the great amateur golfer Charles (Chick) Evans Jr. Bob, a former president of the Golf Writers Association of America, lives in Clearwater, Florida.