NEW YORK (AFP) – Top-ranked Dustin Johnson, defending champion Bryson DeChambeau and seven other past winners were among 48 golfers named on Thursday (April 22) to the 2021 US Open field on exemptions by the US Golf Association.
American DeChambeau, whose long-driving style powered a six-stroke US Open victory last September at Winged Foot, will try to become the eighth man to win back-to-back US Open crowns.
Other past US Open winners in the field include US world number one Johnson, Germany’s Martin Kaymer, England’s Justin Rose, Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy and Americans Brooks Koepka, Webb Simpson, Jordan Spieth and Gary Woodland.
Among others exempted into the US Open lineup were reigning Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama of Japan and fellow major winners Patrick Reed, Stewart Cink, Shane Lowry, Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Collin Morikawa, Justin Thomas, Zach Johnson, Louis Oosthuizen and Jimmy Walker.
There were 9,069 entries submitted for the 121st US Open, set for June 17-20 at Torrey Pines in San Diego. They came from 70 nations as well as every US state.
Qualifying for last year’s US Open was scrapped in favor of an all-exempt field due to the Covid-19 pandemic but returns this year with entries topping 9,000 for a ninth consecutive time.
“There continues to be great interest from around the world, based on the number of entries, in competing in the US Open,” USGA senior managing director of championships John Bodenhamer said.
“We’re pleased that we can return to conducting two-stage qualifying for the US Open, a democratic and inclusive process that is unique in major championship golf, and we look forward to hosting the final field of 156 players at Torrey Pines in June.”
The USGA also announced a final qualifying site at Long Cove Club on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina for June 7, aimed at players competing in the nearby US PGA Palmetto Championship from June 10-13. That event at Congaree Golf Club replaced the cancelled Canadian Open.
International qualifying events will be staged on May 24 in Japan and Jule 17 in Canada. The European Tour will also have a three-event qualifying series to determine 10 spots in the US Open.
Local qualifying for the US Open will be staged from Monday through May 18.
Torrey Pines hosted the 2008 US Open, in which Tiger Woods, playing on a broken leg, won his third US Open title by defeating Rocco Mediate in a playoff that went 19 holes.