Tiger Woods given first ever exemption for US Open with rules stating he would miss major

After years of disappointing play, Tiger Woods was expected to miss this week’s US Open, but the 15-time major winner has earned his first-ever exemption to compete this week.

Tiger Woods received a special exemption for the first time, so he will participate in this week’s US Open.

Although he is no longer as dominant as he once was, the 15-time major winner is still one of the biggest draws in the sport and will be present at Pinehurst in the coming days. For a long time, Woods’ participation was based on his performance, but the 48-year-old is no longer in that situation.

However, he won’t need to start a qualifying campaign in order to play in the US Open. One of the exemptions from both Local and Final Qualifying is Category F-23, as stated in the fine print of the tournament entry form. It is noted that the USGA, who is in charge of the US Open, retains the authority to choose a player to receive a special exemption into the national championship.

To guarantee his spot in the field before Thursday’s first tee, Woods has made his first putt. Since 2020, when he missed the cut at the US Open, the legendary player has not participated in the tournament. His most recent triumph in the competition occurred in 2008.

The requirements for former champions to compete in each of the four majors vary. Thanks to his three victories, Woods will be eligible to play in the Masters and PGA Championship for the rest of his life as a past champion. He will also be able to play in the Open Championship until 2036, when he will be sixty years old.

However, the prize for winning the U.S. Open is only a 10-year exemption. His last victory came in 2008 at Torrey Pines, and he is no longer eligible to win the Masters for five years. That meant that Woods would not be entering the U.S. Open for the first time in his professional career in 2024.

“The U.S. Open, our national championship, is a truly special event for our game and one that has helped define my career,” he stated after being granted the exemption. I’m honored to have been granted this exemption, and I’m really looking forward to competing in the U.S. Open this year, especially at Pinehurst, a venue that has great significance for the game.”

Though only 35 players have used special exemptions to compete in the US Open, many of them have done so multiple times. Four-time U.S. Open champion Jack Nicklaus received eight special exemptions, the first coming in 1991 and the last occurring at Pebble Beach in 2000. Tom Watson and Arnold Palmer each received five invitations to a special dinner.

People who receive exemptions are frequently in their later years of employment. Ernie Els was the last man to receive one in 2019, but he was not selected. The last person to finish outside the top 10 was Nick Price, who tied for ninth place at Pinehurst in 2005.

Tom Watson’s performance in 1993 was the best one ever by a player who was granted an exemption. At Baltusrol, he tied for fifth place.

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