Far Hills, N.J. – The United States Golf Association has accepted 8,300 entries for the 2011 U.S. Open Championship at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md., including entries from all of the 65 golfers who are currently fully exempt into the field.
The USGA received entries for the 111th championship, to be contested June 16-19, from golfers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and 66 foreign countries, including 752 applicants who listed foreign addresses.
Graeme McDowell, the 2010 champion, and eight other past champions are fully exempt from having to qualify for the upcoming championship. They are: Angel Cabrera (2007), Michael Campbell (2005), Ernie Els (1994, 1997), Jim Furyk (2003), Lucas Glover (2009), Retief Goosen (2001, 2004), Geoff Ogilvy (2006) and Tiger Woods (2000, 2002, 2008).
For the first time, only online entries were accepted, and the USGA received 680 entries on the last day applications were accepted (April 27), including 135 entries in the final hour. Kevin Hayashi, 49, of Hilo, Hawaii, submitted his entry just 15 seconds before the deadline of 5 p.m. EDT. Herbie Aikens, a 30-year-old amateur from Kingston, Mass., was the first entrant on March 2.
To be eligible, a player must have a USGA Handicap Index® no higher than 1.4, or be a professional.
Local qualifying, which will be played over 18 holes at 111 sites, will take place between May 6-19.
Sectional qualifying, played over 36 holes, will be conducted at two international sites (May 23 in Japan and May 30 in England) and 11 sites in the United States on June 6. A total of 195 applicants chose an international site (54 at Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan, and 141 at Surrey, England). This marks the seventh consecutive year that the USGA has offered two international sectional qualifiers.
The number of fully exempt golfers will increase with the inclusion of the top 50 players from the Official World Golf Ranking, the top 10 money leaders on the 2011 PGA Tour and the top five money leaders on the 2011 European PGA Tour, all as of May 23. The winner of The Players Championship (May 12-15) also receives an exemption, as does any multiple winner of official PGA Tour co-sponsored events between June 20, 2010, and June 12, 2011. For 2011, the top 50 players from the World Golf Ranking as of June 13, 2011, will also receive exemptions.