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USGA Announces Expanded List of Exemptions for International Amateurs


The United States Golf Association has announced an expanded list of exemptions for international amateur players, beginning in 2012, for the U.S. Open and U.S. Women's Open championships. The USGA also announced exemption changes for the U.S. Senior Open and USGA amateur championships. The expanded list of exemptions was announced during the USGA's Annual Meeting in Houston.

The winners of the British Amateur and Ladies British Open Amateur championships, as well as the winners of the Mark H. McCormack Medal as the top-ranked male and female on the World Amateur Golf Ranking, will be fully exempt from qualifying for the U.S. Open and U.S. Women's Open championships, respectively. The winners must remain amateurs to retain the exemption.

Bryden Macpherson, of Australia, who plays at the University of Georgia, has earned a berth in the 2012 U.S. Open as the 2011 British Amateur champion. Macpherson defeated Michael Stewart, of Scotland, 3 and 2, in the championship final at Hillside Golf Club in Southport, England.

Patrick Cantlay, the low amateur at last year's U.S. Open and a member of the 2011 USA Walker Cup Team, won the McCormack Medal as the No. 1-ranked player at the close of the 2011 summer competitive season. Cantlay, from Los Alamitos, Calif., was the runner-up to Kelly Kraft at the 2011 U.S. Amateur and a semifinalist as a high schooler in 2010.

Both Macpherson and Cantlay are fully exempt for the 2012 U.S. Open, to be played June 14-17 at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, Calif.

In 2011, Lauren Taylor, a 16-year-old from England, became the youngest winner of the Ladies' British Open Amateur Championship, conducted by the Ladies Golf Union. She defeated Alexandra Bonetti, of France, in the 18-hole final, 6 and 5, at Royal Portrush Golf Club in Northern Ireland.

Lydia Ko, 14, of New Zealand, became the first female recipient of the Mark H. McCormack Medal in 2011. Ko, who was born in Korea, recently became the youngest player to win a professional event, capturing the New South Wales Open by four strokes with a 54-hole score of 202.

Both Taylor and Ko are fully exempt into the 2012 U.S. Women's Open, to be played July 5-8 at Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Wis.

"Both the British Amateur and the British Ladies Open Amateur championships have long and storied histories with deep connections to the USGA, so it is appropriate that these champions earn a full exemption into the U.S. Open and U.S. Women's Open championships," said USGA Executive Director Mike Davis. "These exemptions reflect our strong partnership with The R&A and the value we place on amateur golf and our support for the World Amateur Golf Ranking."

"There are close and enduring links between The R&A and United States Golf Association in the governance of the sport and as custodians of the amateur game," added Peter Dawson, chief executive of The R&A. "Both organizations have always placed an emphasis on the presence of amateur golfers in the fields for their respective major championships and I am very pleased that this now extends to the inclusion of our Amateur champion in the field for the U.S. Open."

Following is the list of the exemption changes for 2012 USGA championships:

U.S. Open Championship - Local Exemption

Winner of the 2011 PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament (New category)

U.S. Open Championship - Full Exemption

Winner of the 2011 Mark H. McCormack Medal (World Amateur Golf Ranking) - must be an amateur (New category)

U.S. Women's Open Championship

From the current Rolex Rankings, the top 25 point leaders and anyone tying for 25th place as of May 2, 2012 - must have filed an entry by May 2, 2012 (New category)

From the current Rolex Rankings, the top 25 point leaders as of July 2, 2012. (New category) Note: Blank entries will be filed by the USGA for players who become exempt after the close of entries

Winner of the 2011 Mark H. McCormack Medal (Women's World Amateur Golf Ranking) - must be an amateur (New category)

U.S. Senior Open Championship

Any player in his first 10 years of age eligibility who has won the U.S. Open Championship (Category S-22)

U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship

From the current Men's World Amateur Golf Ranking, the top 75 point leaders and anyone tying for 75th place at the close of entries - must have filed an entry by May 23, 2012 (Category S-19)

U.S. Junior Amateur Championship

From the current Men's World Amateur Golf Ranking, the top 400 point leaders and anyone tying for 400th place at the close of entries - must have filed an entry by May 30, 2012 (Category S-15)

USGA Senior Amateur Championship

From the current Men's World Amateur Golf Ranking, the top 500 point leaders and anyone tying for 500th place at the close of entries - must have filed an entry by August 15, 2012 (Category S-19)

U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship

From the current Men's World Amateur Golf Ranking, the 400 point leaders and anyone tying for 400th place at the close of entries - must have filed an entry by July 18, 2012 (Category S-17)

U.S. Women's Amateur Championship

From the 2012 U.S. Women's Open Championship, those players returning scores for 72 holes (Category S-5)

From the current Women's World Amateur Golf Ranking, the top 25 point leaders and anyone tying for 25th place at the close of entries - must have filed an entry by June 27, 2012 (New category)

U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links Championship

From the 2012 U.S. Women's Open Championship, those players returning scores for 72 holes (Category S-5)

From the current Women's World Amateur Golf Ranking, the top 50 point leaders and anyone tying for 50th place at the close of entries - must have filed an entry by May 9, 2012 (New category)

U.S. Girls' Junior Championship

From the 2012 U.S. Women's Open Championship, those players returning scores for 72 holes (Category S-5)

From the current Women's World Amateur Golf Ranking, the top 75 point leaders and anyone tying for 75th place at the close of entries - must have filed an entry by May 30, 2012 (New category)

U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur Championship

From the 2012 U.S. Women's Open Championship, those players returning scores for 72 holes (Category S-5)

From the current Women's World Amateur Golf Ranking, the top 500 point leaders and anyone tying for 500th place at the close of entries - must have filed an entry by Aug. 15, 2012 (New category)

USGA Senior Women's Amateur Championship

From the 2012 U.S. Women's Open Championship, those players returning scores for 72 holes (Category S-5)

From the current Women's World Amateur Golf Ranking, the top 500 point leaders and anyone tying for 500th place at the close of entries - must have filed an entry by July 25, 2012 (New category)

In February 2011, the USGA announced changes in exemption categories for the 2012 championships, which are outlined in detail at this link: http://www.usga.org/NewsSF.aspx?id=2147496069.

The above report is courtesy of the USGA. For more information, visit www.usga.org.