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USGA Announces 2020 US Amateur exemption criteria
Defending USGA champs Andy Ogletree (left) and Gabriela Ruffels
Defending USGA champs Andy Ogletree (left) and Gabriela Ruffels

Four weeks ago, we learned that the only USGA events to be held in 2020 would be the Men's and Women's U.S. Amateurs and U.S. Opens. We also learned that the fields for the amateur events would be determined largely by the World Amateur Golf Rankings. But we didn't know how many players would be in each tournament's field, or how exactly they would go about building the fields.

Today the USGA announced the exemption categories for both historic championships, which will be played for the 120th time in August.

"Our overall goal is to conduct great championships," said USGA president Stuart Francis in a Zoom call after the announcement was made to trim down the USGA schedule. "We just didn't feel we could do that in terms of doing qualifying and conducting another eight or ten championships more this year."

Exemption categories for both the U.S. Women’s Amateur and U.S. Amateur are highlighted by expanded use of the World Amateur Golf Ranking and Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking as well as finishes in recent USGA championships, plus past champions of Entries open Friday, June 26 and close Wednesday, July 8 at 5 p.m. EDT.

"If WAGR was not in the positions it is now, we probably couldn't have made this step," added Francis, addressing the continued improvement in the World Amateur Golf Ranking's ability to accurately identify top players.

The U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship is set to take place Aug. 3-9 at Woodmont Country Club, in Rockville, Maryland, followed by the U.S. Amateur, which will be held Aug. 10-16 at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, in Bandon, Oregon.

In order to align with health and safety guidelines, the USGA also announced a reduction in field size for both championships. The U.S. Women’s Amateur, typically played with 156 golfers, will be limited to a field size of 132. The U.S. Amateur, traditionally held with 312 competitors, will be played with 264.

The top 225 men as of June 24 in the WAGR ranking will be exempt into the U.S. Amateur while the top-75 women are "automatics" for the Women's Am. The cutoff date for rankings selections is June 24.

To ensure age that the typical age diversity of a qualifier-based field is preserved, the top 20-ranked women under the age of 19 will gain exemptions while the top 25 men over the age of 25 will gain entry.

Exemptions will be provided to top finishers in recent USGA events, plus male and female winners of major amateur events like the British Amateur, Latin American Amateur, and Asia Pacific Am (men) and the Mexican International and European Amateurs (women).

Full Men's U.S. Amateur Exemption List
Full Women's U.S. Amateur Exemption List

Once the field is set, the USGA will compile an alternate list for each championship based on WAGR. All non-exempt players who wish to be considered for the remaining spots or alternate status must complete a preliminary application at champs.usga.org prior to the close of entries on July 8.

In addition, the USGA shared that entries for the 2021 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship (April 24-28 at Maridoe Golf Club in Carrollton, Texas) and 2021 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship (May 22-26 at Chambers Bay in University Place, Wash.) will open the week of Aug. 17. More information about the qualifying process will be shared at a later date.

ABOUT THE U.S. Amateur

The U.S. Amateur, the oldest USGA championship, was first played in 1895 at Newport Golf Club in Rhode Island. The event, which has no age restriction, is open to those with a Handicap Index of 2.4 or lower. It is one of 14 national championships conducted annually by the USGA, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs. It is the pre-eminent amateur competition in the world. Applications are typically placed online in the spring at www.usga.org.

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