The 2024 U.S. Amateur will be played at Hazeltine National Golf Club
Back in March of 2023, the USGA announced significant qualifying changes to some of its top amateur championships. One of the main ones affected was the U.S. Amateur and the way qualifying works, including splitting the 36-hole qualifier into two 18-hole qualifiers. Also, state amateurs and some of the top amateur tournaments in the country have added exemptions for its winners. You can find the full list of tournaments and exemptions here.
The 2024 U.S. Amateur will be held at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn., from August 12 to August 18, 2024.
“The openness and aspirational nature of our championships is a defining characteristic of USGA championships,” said Brent Paladino, senior director of Championship Administration, in March when the new qualifying structure was announced. “As the number of entries and qualifying sites have continued to increase on a yearly basis, we looked at ways to evolve our structure to ensure the long-term sustainability of qualifying without excessively burdening Allied Golf Associations (AGAs) and host clubs. These revisions will provide players with additional pathways to our championships through traditional qualifying, expanded exemption categories, and performance in the state, AGA, regional, and national amateur championships.”
The USGA has announced new exemptions for the local qualifying and the final qualifying for the U.S. Amateur, starting this year, and which tournaments around the country get exemptions and what level.
The U.S. Amateur will move from a one-stage, 36-hole qualifying format to a two-stage qualifying format with 45 18-hole local qualifying sites and 19 18-hole final qualifying sites.
Related: USGA ANNOUNCES SIGNIFICANT MODIFICATIONS TO ITS AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFYING MODEL
These 36-hole qualifying days are grueling for not only the players attempting to qualify but also for the associations conducting the qualifiers and for the hosting courses. The course has to give up its entire day of tee times, and the allied golf associations conducting the championships must find staff and volunteers to work these 14 to 16-hour days. This change to two 18-hole qualifiers adds a tournament day but makes the staffing and conducting of the qualifier easier.
There are also downfalls, as golfers will have to add a tournament day to their schedule, requiring more travel, lodging, and accommodations being made.
It is also a change in the way the golfers approach the qualifier. Normally, after the first 18 holes, they would have an hour or two before playing the second 18 holes to qualify straight to the U.S. Amateur championship. With the new format, they will now have to get through an additional stage of qualifying that will be on a separate day, bringing in a multitude of factors, including weather, traveling, work, etc.
Other adjustments include exemptions for state, AGA, regional, and national amateur champions based on established criteria and historical WAGR event power rankings, Expansion of World Amateur Golf Ranking® (WAGR) exemption category to the top 100 ranked players (previously 50), Establishment of local exemptions, which include top finishers in USGA championships, state/AGA amateur championships and top 600 WAGR players.
ALLIED GOLF ASSOCIATIONS
One of the top takeaways from this list is that the USGA is rewarding its Allied Golf Associations with exemptions for their biggest tournaments and those champions.
For example, the Ohio Golf Association runs the Ohio State Amateur, and the 2024 Champion will be fully exempt into the 2024 U.S. Amateur, and the Top 5 finishers and ties in stroke play tournaments or quarterfinalists from 2024 in match play tournaments will be locally exempt for the 2025 U.S. Amateur. The 2023 Champion is also locally exempt for the 2024 U.S. Amateur.
All of the state amateurs are run by allied golf associations, and all have various exemptions to the U.S. Amateur. This is more motivation for golfers to join their local AGA and particapte in their state amateurs, with the opportunity to be exempted into the U.S. Amateur.
57 Allied Golf Associations exist nationwide to enhance the golfing experience in each state. This collaboration between the AGA's and the USGA aims to deliver vital services to clubs and facilities and foster increased engagement and enjoyment among golfers, elevating the overall golf experience for everyone involved, according to the USGA.
By joining an AGA near you, you can get a Handicap Index to track your performance, find opportunities to play and engage with the sport, learn about the game, its Rules, history, and impact, and participate in local, state, regional, and national events.
Not all of the tournaments have the same exemption. Based on the field size, quality of the field, and the association's size, some of the tournament winners are exempted straight to the U.S. Amateur, and some are exempted from the final qualifying leg. Some of the tournament winners are exempt into the U.S. Amateur, some are exempt into the final qualifying of the U.S. Amateur, and some of the big state amateurs have exemptions for top three and top five finishers.
You can find the exemption levels for specific tournaments HERE.
The exemption cutoff date for all USGA Championships will be eight days prior to the first day of the Championship proper. Eight days is the Sunday before advance week for these four Championships, which all start on a Monday.
Due to this, the Northern California Golf Association (NCGA) Amateur and the South Dakota Amateur have no exemptions into the 2024 U.S. Amateur as the date of the championship is too close, so the 2024 winner is exempt into the 2025 U.S. Amateur.
THE ELITE AMATEUR GOLF SERIES
The Elite Amateur Golf Series has earned exemptions into the U.S. Amateur as well. The EAGS was created in 2022, and its mission is “to enhance amateur golf by aligning the top competitive amateur championships and providing exceptional playing opportunities for the best amateur golfers to compete at the highest level.”
There are seven events in the Men’s Elite Amateur Golf Series. The Sunnehanna Amateur, The Northeast Amateur, the North and South Amateur, the Trans-Mississippi Amateur, The Southern Amateur, the Pacific Coast Amateur, and the Western Amateut.
The exemption for all seven of the tournaments is the same. The 2024 Champion of the seven tournaments will be fully exempt into the 2024 U.S. Amateur, and the 2023 Champion will be locally exempt into the 2024 U.S. Amateur.
In 2024, the Women’s Elite Amateur Golf Series was created. It is made up of five tournaments and will debut in the summer of 2024.
Related: WOMEN'S ELITE AMATEUR SERIES TO BEGIN SUMMER OF 2024
THE MAJORS OF AMATEUR GOLF
Some of the top amateur tournament not involved in The Elite Amateur Golf Series have been elevated as well. The Jones Cup, which was won by Jacob Modleski in January and is the first top tournament of the year, is exempt into the 2024 U.S. Amateur and the 2023 champion, walker cupper David Ford, is exempt into final qualifying and will not have to participate in local qualifying.
Related: JONES CUP INVITATIONAL: JACOB MODLESKI TOPS AN ELITE FIELD
The majors of Amateur Golf include USGA championships, the Elite Amateur Golf Series and other top amateur tournaments around the country.
U.S. WOMEN’S AMATEUR
The U.S. Women’s Amateur also had significant changes in its exemptions from the March 2023 announcement.
Exemptions for the U.S. Women’s Amateur include the Modest reduction in qualifying sites through the establishment of geographic rotations, exemptions for state, AGA, regional, and national amateur champions based on established criteria and historical WAGR event power rankings, and expansion of WAGR exemption category to top 50 players (previously 25).
The U.S. Women's Amateur will take place from August 5 to August 11 at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla.