USGA announces U.S. Women's Open exemption category for AMs
01 Jul 2020
by Brayden Conover of AmateurGolf.com

see also: U.S. Women's Open Championship, Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club

Champions Golf Club (USGA photo)
Champions Golf Club (USGA photo)

The USGA announced the exemption categories for the 2020 U.S. Women’s Open on Wednesday.

The event, which was pushed back to December 10-13 due to COVID-19, will be hosted by Champions Golf Club in Houston, Texas. While adapting to a fluid situation, the USGA is doing their best to still keep the core of its four remaining championships the same.

“We are extremely pleased to still provide the world’s best professional and amateur players the opportunity to compete for this historic championship, despite forgoing qualifying,” USGA senior managing director of championships John Bodenhamer said via a press release. “After carefully examining previous years, these exemption categories allow us to closely mirror a traditional field, and we are excited to witness one of these players win what will truly be a milestone 75th U.S. Women’s Open.”

On average, the U.S. Women’s Open has roughly 25 amateur players in its field. How the USGA is navigating the exemptions for amateurs is fairly straightforward.

The World Amateur Golf Ranking will be used to determine the amateur competitors. The top 20 WAGR point leaders as of Nov. 4 will be selected, unless already otherwise exempt into the U.S. Women’s Open.

The U.S. Women’s Open has a rich history of amateurs playing well in the event. In 1967, Catherine Lacoste won the U.S. Open as an amateur. Brittany Lang and Morgan Pressel both finished runner-up to Birdie Kim at the 2005 U.S. Women’s Open. Just last year, Duke stand out Gina Kim finished T-12 at the Country Club of Charleston.

Giving amateurs a clean-cut path to an exemption is just another reason why the USGA is knocking COVID-19 out of the park.


Champions Golf Club was founded by Jack Burke, Jr. and the late Jimmy Demaret in 1957. From its origin, Champions has consistently carved its place in golf history hosting such prestigious events as the Ryder Cup Matches in 1967, the United States Open in 1969 and the PGA Tour Championship (five times, most recently in 2003).

The Cypress Creek course is worthy of the championships it has hosted. The course is best known for its massive greens, which offer a myriad of hole locations, and require precise iron play to create realistic chances for birdie. The 7th green alone is over 70 yards deep!

Champions epitomizes the "tough but fair" design philosophy that ruled at the time it was designed--there are no pushover holes, every shot is well-defended, and a good score must be earned. The course is not without its thrilling shots, however, as evidenced at the par-3 4th (where Ben Hogan famously made a 9 during his last competition on the PGA Tour), the all-carry 8th and 12th, and the bite-off-as-much-as-you-dare tee shots on the par-5 9th and 13th.

The club has an impressive number of low handicaps, and strong sense of its place in the history of Texas golf. The clubhouse setting is ideal for tournament golf, with the huge putting green, practice tee, 1st and 10th tees and 9th and 18th greens all within view from the clubhouse. To top it all off, Champions also has one of the best locker rooms in all of golf.

ABOUT THE U.S. Women's Open

The U.S. Women's Open is the biggest tournament in women's golf and one of 14 national championships conducted by the USGA. The event is open to any female who has a USGA Handicap Index not exceeding 4.4.

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