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Brent Kelley

Wie, Gulbis Fail to Qualify for U.S. Women's Open

By June 15, 2009

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Neither Michelle Wie nor Natalie Gulbis will be in the field for the U.S. Women's Open next month.

Wie and Gulbis were among the hundreds of women trying to get into the U.S. Women's Open at sectional qualifiers around the United States on Monday. But the two big names, both of whom were playing in the sectional in Rockville, Md., fell short.

Wie posted rounds of 71 and 74 for a 145 total. The top 30 in the Rockville sectional qualified, and they all shot 144 or better. Gulbis posted rounds of 78 and 68 for a 146 total, two strokes off the pace.

Those golfers who did make it through to the U.S. Open - which included, on the young side, Alexis Thompson, and on "more advanced" side, Rosie Jones - are listed below the fold.

U.S. Women's Open Section Qualifying Results

Following are scores from the sectional qualifiers for the 2009 U.S. Women's Open. Scores are listed only for those golfers who qualified to play in the Open, but links are provided to view the full list of scores from each sectional when the full list is available to be linked (unfortunately not all sectionals get their full scores posted in a timely manner). All sectionals were played on Monday, June 15, with the exception of the Sanford, N.C., sectional, which took place on Thursday, June 11.

Willmette, Ill.
Mina Harigae, 69-70--139
Amanda Blumenherst, 73-67--140
Tzu-Chi Lin, 74-69--143
Nicole Hage, 68-76--144
Jennie Lee, 74-70--144
Alison Walshe, 71-73--144
Misun Cho, 72-73--145
Jean Reynolds, 75-70--145
Jessica Carafiello, 72-74--146
Lisa Ferrero, 76-70--146
Maria Hernandez, 72-74--146
Libby Smith, 71-75--146
a-Cindy LaCrosse, 75-72--147
Esther Choe, 73-75--148
Jamie Fischer, 76-72--148
Hannah Jun, 72-76--148
a-Stefanie Kenoyer, 73-75--148
Yoora Kim, 72-76--148
Sunny Oh, 76-72--148
Janice Olivencia, 75-73--148
Dewi Schreefel, 77-71--148
Sophia Sheridan, 71-77--148
Naree Song, 75-73--148

Rockville, Md.
Jimin Kang, 67-70--137
Carolina Llano, 69-68--137
Becky Morgan, 67-71--138
Alena Sharp, 67-71--138
Beth Bader, 71-68--139
Irene Cho, 69-70--139
Sandra Gal, 73-66--139
Jin Joo Hong, 68-71--139
Joomi Kim, 69-70--139
Meaghan Francella, 74-66--140
Haeji Kang, 73-67--140
Michele Redman, 72-68--140
Kris Tschetter, 69-71--140
Anna Grzebien, 70-71--141
Meredith Duncan, 68-74--142
Carin Koch, 71-71--142
Brandie Burton, 71-72--143
Diana D'Alessio, 65-78--143
Mi-Jung Hur, 72-71--143
Sarah Lee, 71-72--143
Mika Miyazato, 71-72--143
Mikaela Parmlid, 71-72--143
Kyeong Bae, 76-68--144
Hye Jung Choi, 71-73--144
Rachel Hetherington, 72-72--144
Karine Icher, 72-72--144
Johanna Mundy, 72-72--144
Shiho Oyama, 70-74--144
Sungah Yim, 70-74--144

Ormond Beach, Fla.
a-Alexis Thompson, 70-70--140
a-Victoria Tanco, 71-71--142
Lindy Duncan, 74-70--144
a-Michele Shin, 74-72--146
Full Results

Santa Cruz, Calif.
a-Kimberly Kim, 73-70--143
a-Jennifer Song, 74-71--145
a-Chelsea Stelzmiller, 76-69--145
a-Kristen Park, 73-74--147
a-Ani Gulugian, 74-73--147
a-Alice Kim, 73-74--147
a-Kaitlin Drolson, 76-71--147
a-Tiffany Lua, 74-74--148
Caryn Wilson, 75-73--148
a-Mariko Tumangan, 75-74--149
a-Alison Lee, 68-82--150
Full Scores

Neshanic Station, N.J.
a-Brittany Altomare, 75-71--146
a-Nanette Hill, 74-75--149
Heather Daly-Donofrio, 75-75--150
a-Marina Alex, 78-75--153

Lihue, Hawaii
Miki Saiki, 75-70--145

Bryan, Texas
a-Meghan Stasi, 77-79--156
Isabelle Beisiegel, 79-79--158
a-Mallory Fraiche, 80-79--159
Tracy Stanford, 80-79--159

Sanford, N.C.
Katherine Perry, 71-70--141
Kathleen Ekey, 71-71--142
Rosie Jones, 70-73--143
Cindy Feng, 76-68--144
Allie White, 77-68--145
Ashleigh Albrecht, 76-70--146
Full Scores


June 15, 2009 at 10:12 pm
(1) Edward says:

There are no more special exemptions to be given by the USGA. The deadline passed on June 11.

June 15, 2009 at 10:18 pm
(2) golf says:

Edward — thanks for the heads-up.

June 16, 2009 at 12:39 am
(3) Bob Umeck says:

Anyone know the women’s open qualifiers at Westmoreland CC in Winnetka ILL?

June 16, 2009 at 7:02 am
(4) Deano says:

Can anyone tell me the final results from the Women’s qualifier in Rockville, MD (Woodmont) on June 15th? I believe Wie and Gulbis played there.


June 16, 2009 at 10:07 am
(5) Robert says:

What a disaster for the USGA. Two of the most popular players won’t be in the field. That’s great for the “purity of the tournament.” But its a ratings disaster. In a year where women’s golf is under economic pressure, having two high profile players out of the field in a major is simply crazy. Its harmful to the game, pure and simple.

P.S. Both were out with injuries last year as well, by the way. Is anyone at the USGA actually thinking about their sport?

June 16, 2009 at 12:31 pm
(6) Jon Burrows says:

Robert, your comments are spot on. I will add that about 25 less deserving players than Gulbis or Wie, qualified at less competitive locations with higher scores. About a dozen of those qualifiers had scores that were 10 or more shots higher. There is a flaw in the system. Gulbis has qualified automatically based on her LPGA performance recored every year since she became an LPGA profesional in 2002. And she Monday qualified in 2001. She would have q

June 16, 2009 at 12:41 pm
(7) Marcia says:

So where are the results from Wilmette, IL?

June 16, 2009 at 12:53 pm
(8) DG says:

I was at the Wilmette qualifier and know that Amanda Blumenhurst shot a course record 67 to qualify, and Harague was also a qualifier. I believe +4 made it (23 spots)

June 16, 2009 at 3:07 pm
(9) Marcia says:

Thanks! I can’t find those results anywhere.

I’m wondering how Becca Huffer from Denver, CO did at the Wilmette sectional.

Any idea?

June 16, 2009 at 3:20 pm
(10) Sam says:

I am confused, does anyone know why the results from Ill aren’t posted yet?

June 16, 2009 at 4:03 pm
(11) Brent says:

Hey all, sorry about the lack of scores from the Illinois sectional. Not sure what the problem is, but the USGA hasn’t posted them, none of the Illinois state golf associations have posted them, and none of the Illinois newspapers have posted them. As soon as I can get them from an authority, I’ll add them to the post above.

June 16, 2009 at 5:22 pm
(12) Frank Gindle says:

What was the USGA thinking, not giving Gulbis a special exemption for medical reasons? Natalie has played in every U.S. Open since 2001 and almost won in 2005. She’s coming off a season with a fractured vertabrae yet still almost qualified on earnings that she made in half a season while injured. She has played remarkably well this year for someone coming off a 5 month injury layoff and playing much better right now than many of the other big names, such as Morgan Pressel, who has missed both cuts in the previous two majors.Certainly she has more of a chance to win than any of those amateur qualifiers have of even making the cut. Natalie got jobbed; the USGA once again proves itself clueless.

June 16, 2009 at 6:24 pm
(13) Sam says:

Thanks for the results, they are still not posted to the USGA, does anyone know where I can get the complete list? I had two people I was watching to see how they did. Thanks!

June 16, 2009 at 9:50 pm
(14) Tim says:

Why is the USGA hiding qualifying scores. For heaven’s sake, it’s 2009. I should be able to get all the scores from all the venues with one quick visit to Google.

I love Women’s golf, but it’s as if the sport’s executives are trying to drive us all to the WNBA. I mean I can get more info about Futures tour players than about the Open field.

June 16, 2009 at 10:16 pm
(15) Barry says:

Yep, without Gulbis and Wie, another LPGA tournament I won’t care about and won’t be watching this weekend. Another example of the idiotic LPGA shooting itself in the foot, not having the top 50 money winners automatically qualify for the U.S. Open, but allowing a ton of players who have no chance to win in on the strength of getting hot in a 36-hole qualifier. No wonder you can never find LPGA golf on TV.

June 17, 2009 at 8:19 am
(16) Dave says:

As for why the USGA is hiding scores: It’s disinterest. The US Women’s Open loses money for the USGA. They (and the organizations holding the sectionals) just don’t have the sense of urgency they do for the men’s sectionals. The mens are posted within 20 minutes of ending. Here it is two days later with the women, and you still can’t find full scores for most of the sectionals.

But I’ll defend the USGA on another point: What are they supposed to do about Wie and Gulbis? Both players had opportunities to earn their way in. They didn’t. Is the USGA supposed to grant pre-emptive exemptions to every popular player on the LPGA? “Let’s see, we have to have this person because the fans like her, so she’s in ….” Or are they supposed to keep their Open an open and set qualifying standards and the let the players fall where they may?

It’s not the USGA’s fault that Wie and Gulbis aren’t in. It’s Wie;’s and Gulbis’ faults.

June 17, 2009 at 9:32 am
(17) Jon Burrows says:

Barry, I’ll go you one better. Some of those qualifiers didn’t even get hot. They just qualified at a different site where very high scores made it. To illustrate, their were 23 golfers who qualified that shot higher scores than Natalie or Michelle. About 12 of those shot 10 or more strokes HIGHER. The USGA is clueless.

June 17, 2009 at 9:37 am
(18) Jon Burrows says:

Dave, if the USGA just applied the same qualification exemptiom standards for women as they do for men, bboth Wie and Gulbis would be in, because they are well within the top 50 players in the world rankings. They need to protect the world’s best like they do for the men. Instead, we have about 25 players, who will shoot a round in the 80s. The fact is the USGA is a little slow on the uptake when it comes to the women and doesn’t really spend anytime revising and tweaking the rules for them like it does for the men.

June 17, 2009 at 10:40 am
(19) Frank Gindle says:

Brent, 29 has been the lowest Gulbis has been on the money list all year. She started at 10 after the first event, fell to mid twenties after WD and skipping 2 events. and has maintained that staus with steady performances since Kingsmill in early May (1 additional top 10, 2 more top 15s and two more top 30 finishes).

June 17, 2009 at 10:58 am
(20) Dave C caddy says:

Interesting comments, with a lot of passion, but some flawed logic. I caddied at Santa Cruz. Pasatiempo was windy, hilly, and generally a real tough golf course- like it usually is. No one shoots lights out in 25 mph winds, especially winds that swirl in NorCal coast areas.
Go ahead and compare scores there to Maryland or Illinois, but do so at risk to your credibility.

June 17, 2009 at 11:24 am
(21) Jon Burrows says:

Come on Dave, there was 15-20 shot disparity between the lowest qualifying score at Wie/Gulbis Site versus almost all the others. 23 qualifiers shot higher scores than each of them, with 12 players shooting 10 shots or more higher (some 14 higher) than Wie and Gulbis, that’s more than just a course disparity, that’s a strength of field disparity. Let’s be practical and honest here.

Conversely, even if you ignore the 159s many of those qualifiers shot, you need look no further than their resumes. Shooting an 84 or 85 and still qualifying is an absolute joke, no matter the course, as none of the courses was set up like a major venue, or anything like that.

Gulbis shot 69-70 ON THE WEEKEND of last week’s LPGA Championship, a major of equal to the U.S. Open. Most of those so-called qualifiers can’t do that in practice, much less in at a Major Championship venue during crunch time. They will not even make it to the weekend, and many will shoot a round in the 80s. Gulbis and Wie have almost won an Open, and can challenge anytime they tee it up. Many of the lesser qualifiers can’t even win their club championship. Let’s get real here.

Gulbis and Wie are in the top 30 on the money and both are in top 50 World Rankings; they should be in over the clowns who shot 84s and 85s for one of their qualifying rounds and still made it due to a weak field.

It’s the USGA that has to worry about its credability, not posters who bring this gross inequity to their attention

June 17, 2009 at 12:14 pm
(22) Frank Gindle says:

Have to agree, with Jon Burrows. Barring a U.S. Open setup versus a muni, 159 and a 145 are world’s apart. And like he said, you need look no further than the respective players resumes to see who belongs. Wie and Gulbis just finished in the top 25 this weekend’s major for cripes’ sake. None of those unknown qualifiers who shot in the 150s will make the cut at the open. This is a flawed system that needs to be fixed.

June 17, 2009 at 4:52 pm
(23) Dave says:

Vicky Hurst is another one who failed to qualify.

But Wie, Gulbis and Hurst shouldn’t feel as bad as Meena Lee did a couple years ago, when she automatically qualified but forgot to mail in the entry form and didn’t get to play!

June 17, 2009 at 9:12 pm
(24) Gerome says:

definitely think the USGA qualifying criteria for the women’s open is messed up. Yes, Gulbis and Wie should be exempt based on their rankings and their performances this year. Yes, the site disparities are wrong. That said, as good as they are they should have easily qualified Monday. I am growing tired of both their acts and believe they are squandering their god-given talents; they should be winning, not collecting top 30s. Gulbis spreads herself too thin with her other interests and then compensates by over-practicing and tinkering with her swing. If she cut back on all her other activites, toned down her practice sessions and just enjoyed the game like she did when she was younger, she’d do better. Wie, on the other hand has to decide to play the tour full-time and to play for herself.

June 18, 2009 at 2:06 am
(25) Dave C caddy says:

Jon Burrows says: Come on, Dave………….ok, Jon, lets have a come on here then…………………
I would say that your comments have SOME merit and validity, but that mine do not? I think not….How about the Tom Kite Open at Pebble Beach, where 2 people shot under 72 the last day. Why?, of course, the wind. But you, Jon Burrows, says that wind is not a great factor in playing medal play in a US Open Sectional site. I, who caddied both there and at a calm Stockton CC saw the difference in those two sites and days. Local qualifying at Stockton fell at 75 for a playoff- pretty low for local qualifying. Then, at Pasatiempo, with the wind, slope rate of 140, terrain and colder temps, the score were a lot higher. No, I can’t speak to what was happening in Texas, but having worked tournaments in Dalls and Houston, especially last years PGA 2nd stage, when that wind blows there is NO where to hide.
So what I have to say is, Jon Burrows, that windy conditions in CA and TX make score comparisons to conditions in IL and MD invalid. But what do I know, I’ve only caddied for professionals since since 1969.
On another matter, go ahead and give Wie and Gulbis their exemptions. It doesn’t do a thing to the qualifying scores across America. They will stay the same. Always, always you will see low scores where the tour stops are at, both LPGA and Futures players. You have 100 tour players at each site going for 30 or so spots. Of course 145 is the cut.
But the is the US O-P-E-N. Open. Its stories like 16 y.o. Brittany Altomare making it in NJ, medalling at 146, hailing from the Worcester MA., area and Playing out of International GC in Bolton, MA. great stuff, great kid, and a certain future star. Should the USGA say, “No Brittany, you have to pay to go to just ONE site where at the players will grind it out” to make it fair for the Jons of the world who want to judge everyone equally? Whats the point. You can qualify for the US Open in CA, TX, NJ, IL and MD, and the scores will be different every time.
All these great golfers who made the US Open should be congratulated, not chopped up by some computer chops who want to sit and blog/judge all day. Nope, I agree that most of them have no shot, and will miss the cut, GOOD for them, all the Brittanys of the US, all the “Gene Borek” types who make US Opens fun.
I guess thats it, Jon. You are probably one of those guys who is always right, anyways. You were down my throat on this just 26 minutes after I posted this morning. I’ll check back in a day or two to see how you chop up my reply.

June 18, 2009 at 9:33 am
(26) Jon Burrows says:

Dave C Caddy, let’s agree to disagree. The U.S. Open is supposed to be a MAJOR and have one of the stronger fields. The Women’s U.S. Open doesn’t accomplish this and that’s exactly the reason why outside of the LPGA, none of the other major tours in Asia or in Europe recognize the Women’s U.S. Open as a major. I know on the LET, it’s the Evian Masters instead. Until they make the standards what they are for the men, the second class status will continue.

June 18, 2009 at 11:38 am
(27) Frank Gindle says:

Dave C Caddy, you seem to missing the point here. No one is begrudging these qualifiers their spot in the open. However, highly ranked (top 50) competitve (top 30 current money list) tour players like Gulbis and Wie should not be asked to qualify. You want those other qualifiers, that’s fine, but no way anyone can argue that there isn’t something wrong with a selection process that leaves out some of the WORLD’S Best who actually have a legitimate shot to win the U.S. Women’s Open. There is nothing wrong with asking the USGA to look into how something like this could have happened. That’s all most of us are saying.

June 18, 2009 at 2:56 pm
(28) Kennedy says:

Interestingly enough, as of right now, the afternoon of 6/18, 3 days after the qualifying, the USGA still has Gulbis’ picture up on the 2009 U.S. Women’s Open Website. Integrity of the game my A$$! What a bunch of hypocrits with their false advertising, lol!

June 18, 2009 at 3:12 pm
(29) Dave C caddy says:

Jon- “outside of the LPGA, none of the other major tours in Asia or in Europe recognize the Womenís U.S. Open as a major. ”’I know”’ on the LET, itís the Evian Masters instead.” …..I knew you know everything.
What a pantload that is, Jon. Outside of the LPGA, there ARE NO Other tours. period. They play for little money, or are closed shops in Asia. The Ladies CanTour has three events. The European Solhiem Cup team has half their leaders as virtual unknowns. (because the best euro’s are over here, playing for the real chang). Please stop this tale about a US Open having no credibility because Wie and Gulbis couldn’t get thru sectionals. Wie- has had two specials for the USO, in 2004 and 2005. Thats one more than most anyone but Jack Nicklaus got. And the USGA heard nothing but howls over those Wie exemptions. Gulbis is coming off a real sub-par year, yeah, she says she was hurt, but still teed up in 20 events, couldn’t crack the top 50, and had a pretty crappy year. Perhaps she should have put on her app “I was hurt in 2008″- no?. ok. With ONE career win, she does not merit a special. Sorry, my fellow Sacramento area gal. I’ll give you guys the argument that top 30 for 2009 should get in, and that may get them both in. I already ceeded that to you.
But you guys continued to flame the rest of the field that went thru the local and sectionals, claiming they were there at Wie and Natalies expense, they are merely field-filler. Frank, in post #22, you say “I have to agree with Jon, getting in with a 159 is a real shame, blah blah blah” or some such blather. You actually are begrudging these players their spots by spouting that kind of stuff.
At some point, tournaments that are labelled as “Open” start to become “Closed”. Usually there are less than 100 spots for a Mens USO. Also, the USGA really likes having a large number of entries for their events- no, not for the money, but to continue to grow the game. That is their mission. To take away more spots and move to a “closed” from an open is counter to that mission. You two boys may not know it, but the LPGA states that only LPGA members may try to Monday qualify for any of their tournaments. (sponsor exemptions do not count, thats how amateurs get in). I have been standing on the practice range with my bag/pro when I actually saw a gal from Cape Cod get DQ’ed after Monday qualifying because she was not an LPGA member. Now, thats really a closed shop. So, the USGA wants as many players to have a chance to play as possible. I applaud that. Some others want only the “highest ranked” players to paly every week. OK, thats how you feel. The application for the USOpen come out WAY in advance of deadline, and all the players know what they have to do in order to get exempt. If Wie wants to be a part-time player/student, she risks not making enough chang to be exempt. If Natalie has just one better finish in 2008 better than 9th, she’d probably be top 50. Every year there are sob stories of a really good, sometimes great player having to sit out the week because they failed at Sectionals. tough.

The US Open is the best tournament in the world for a number of reasons. Each of the majors, men and women, are unique and have great fields. I had three different bags in qualifying for Bethpage, and none of my guys got thru. One bag for Saucon Valley, and she didn’t get thru. I guess I’ll just watch this year. I hope you two guys, and all the other blog/chops are able to enjoy the golf as well.

June 18, 2009 at 3:43 pm
(30) Jon says:

If the LET doesn’t exist, why did Suzanne Petterson, coming off her great LPGA season in 2007, playe there and win 3 times there last season, lol? Means something to some big golfers, apparently. And where do you think the great Jai Shin came from? the JPLGA! And she wins the British Open and the ADT championship the same year she was left out of the U.S. Open! UNBELIEVABLE! And you still haven’t answered the question of why the qualification/exemption standards are different from the men than they are for the women? Why does the USGA follow the world rankings for the men and no the women? They will change that because of this year’s debacle, you will see that for sure and that will be the proof in the pudding Sometimes it takes things like this to wake the governing bodies up. The U.S. Open field is unique, but not great. It can’t be when you have 30 or so players who have NO CHANCE TO EVEN MAKE THE CUT before they even tee it up, but, leaves out 3 of the top 30 current LPGA money winners (Wie, Ward and Gulbis) and last year’s Duramed Future’s top player (Hurst) due to it’s flawed qualification/exemption criteria. And just for your information, getting on the LPGA is a real test where the finalist have to play over 4 days AT THE SAME SITE. But anyone can try, but the 2 handicap hacks who get in the U.S Open have no chance in that EXTENDED and EQUITABLE format. It’s more than a matter of timing, site selection and luck of the draw. And again, the USGA will change on this, you’ll see.

June 18, 2009 at 4:09 pm
(31) Jon Burrows says:

Corrections regarding Ji Yai Shin. She came from the KLPGA (Korean LPGA) She did play in the U.S. Open, but had to qualify to do so, whereas the restictive LPGA(as Caddy Dave would have you believe) gave her invites to the Kraft Nabisco in 2007 and 2008, based on her domination of the KPLGA, again correctly recognizing the world’s best based on sustained performance, rather than relying on hapahazard qualifying. Oh,and DaveCaddy, if the LPGA does not allow amateurs to Monday qualify for tournaments how do you explain Natalie Gulbis at age 14 and Michelle at age 12, doing exactly that?

June 18, 2009 at 4:39 pm
(32) DaveC caddy says:

My mistake, Jon. If you are a Pro golfer, to Monday qualify, you must be a member of the LPGA. good pickup.

Hey, make the standards anything you want them to be. My point is, they are well known in advance, and when people don’t qualify, we want some special toilet paper issued for those unfortunate great golfers who couldn’t get through sectionals. Go ahead, change them. Don’t hold your breath though. If it flies in the face of the USGA mission, it won’t happen. Perhaps the USGA feels that there are fewer bona fide great women players then bona fine great men players. Ask them, not me. To say the USO is not great because
(Jon)”It canít be when you have 30 or so players who have NO CHANCE TO EVEN MAKE THE CUT before they even tee it up, but, leaves out 3 of the top 30 current LPGA winners….”
sorry, but Jon…there you go again. Lets chop up the players who achieve perhaps a dream by qualifying for the USO just because Jon feels three very good players are on the outside looking in. It remains a great tournement in many ways, and one of them is because so many people enter it.
In golf, the rules are the rules. Including the eligibility rules. Petition them for a change of rules. But don’t try to downgrade the best tournament in the world because you, Jon, feel the criteria aren’t perfect.
Face it, in regards to the LET, most of them are either unwilling to travel to the US, can’t make it thru Q-school, just can’t cash here, or some other reason. The money they play for is way less than half of US purses.
And, the LPGA is going more global, for financial reasons, perhaps infringing on the turf of other tours and governing bodies. They may end up with all the good players, leaqving even less cred for the other tours.
Shin gets her Dinah Shore invite OK’ed as a result of being a member of the KLPGA, a recognized tour covered by the LPGA regulations. (as is the LET, JLPGA, etc)

Jeeze, Jon, it only took you another 32 minutes to post two posts to mine again.
You are a real encyclopedia. It must be fun just to sit around all day and pick apart other peoplers opinions. Wish I could play some more, but I have work to do. See you next week, I have a tournament to work.

June 18, 2009 at 5:54 pm
(33) Jon Burrows says:

Dave, I was the one who said let’s agree to disagree 8 HOURS AGO, and it was you who couldn’t leave it alone, so you’re the one who likes to pick apart other people’s opinions, obviously. How hypocritical, but not as bad as you taking only took 30 minutes to respond to my post, yet admonishing me in the first sentence of your last paragraph about responding to you only 32 minutes! That is hypocritical at best, deluded and twisted at worse.

June 19, 2009 at 9:28 am
(34) Arnie's Army says:

To the guy who acted like Gulbis’ injury was no big deal – she had a fractured vertabrae that she was playing with in those 20 events! She had to shut it down for the last 4 1/2 mos. of last year! And she still finished in the top 10 of the British Open under extreme pain right before she shut it down. The World Rankings have her currently at #36, so under the standards used for the men she would have gotten in easily! And, to top it off, she’s #29 on the money list this year, which should carry more weight than being #50 last year. You can have your opinions, but try to put things into perspective and not just go based on how you feel without the facts.

June 20, 2009 at 1:17 am
(35) sports medic says:

I agree that it would be best for all parties if Michelle Wie and Natalie Gulbis each won one of the next two events to earn her exemption. If that doesn’t happen then I don’t think it would be good for the USGA to grant her a special exemption. Michelle Wie earned a lot of respect when she went to Q-school, earned her card and quit relying on special and sponsor exemptions. She has said that this has helped her game significantly. The LPGA also has a better perception when it’s players earn their way in events by the same set of rule. A special exemption would be a step back for both parties.

The USGA uses a nearly identical set of exemptions for the (men’s) U.S. Open. The top 10 money list from 2009 from the PGA tour received exemptions. The use of top 50 world rankings for the (men’s) Open occurs because so many of the top player split time between the PGA and European tour and so positions on money lists of the each of the separate tour can be skewed from their overall performance. This happens much less often on the LPGA. Only the top 30 PGA tour members from the 2008 money list earned exemptions as opposed to the top 50 for the ladies. The reliance on end of year stats is like comparing stats at the all-star break to end of season stats. A bigger, better statistical sample. The (men’s) U.S. Open does benefit from having Tiger Woods who earned 14 exemptions dispite a limited schedule. This frees up 13 spots for other golfers in the sectional qualifiers. By my count, LPGA rookie Ji Yai Shin managed to earn 7 exemptions for the Women’s U.S. Open. (1 major, 3 LPGA tournaments, top 50 money 2008, Top 10 money LPGA 2009, Top 5 money Korean LPGA. This opened 6 spots other golfers. Anna Nordqvist, who is one place ahead of Michelle Wie on the money list saved herself the uncertainty of qualifying by winning a major in her 5th LPGA start. Besides, it takes more than one golfer to make a tour. The LPGA Championship lost McDonald’s despite having Michelle Wie in their field these last years. The LPGA does not make the call on special exemptions for the open. Some may feel that Natalie Gulbis is more deserving for a special exemption due to her popularity, her 2007 Evian Masters title and two Solheim Cup appearances.

It’s the USGA runs this tournament. When Michelle Wie was a 13 tear old amateur her game was better and she was more of a special case. Nineteen year olds with tour cards are not as special. Especially one that has had so many opportunities to earn an exemption by winning a major within the last 5 years. Michelle Wie has benefitted from LPGA membership by being able to play in more events. This means more TV time for her and her sponsors.

Next year Michelle Wie will get her exemption. Even if she fails to make another cut in the next 12 months (highly unlikely) she will finish in the top 50 LPGA money list and earn her exemption for the 2010 Women’s Open. Beside’s, When Michelle Wie win’s the 2030 Women’s Open, she will earn an exemption to play until she is 50.

June 20, 2009 at 1:23 am
(36) sports medic says:

The NBA wanted the Lakers and Cleveland but when the Cav’s lost to Orlando they didn’t give LeBron an exemption to the finals dispite the fact that LaBron was who Commissioner Stern, the sponsors, the network and more people in America wanted to see.

Win and you’re in.

June 20, 2009 at 12:30 pm
(37) Mark says:

That’s a stupid an anology comparing basketball to golf. Basketball doesn’t give exemptions, golf does. The USGA just screwed up the way they handed out the exemptions, period. Gulbis and Wie are in the top 30 CURRENT money winners and top 50 in the world. And there were 7 more great golfers who fit either criteria that were left out. The USGA messed up and will amend their rules going forward as a consequence.

June 20, 2009 at 4:36 pm
(38) sports medic says:

My analogy wasn’t that basketball equals golf. My point is that you don’t change the rules mid-stream because you don’t like the result. You live with it and then go back and consider changing the rules after the season is over. Since both Natalie and Michelle can practically sit on the couch for the rest of the year and still make the top 50 LPGA money list and pick-up their automatic qulification for next years open I doubt that there will be any major shift in the rules for qualification.

June 20, 2009 at 4:39 pm
(39) sports medic says:

By the way, who were the 7 other great golfers who were left out.

June 22, 2009 at 12:40 pm
(40) Robert says:

Gulbis and Wie should be in. The current rules punish a player out with an injury in the prior year but who is currently one of the world’s best players. It makes for a weaker field and a less significant and interesting tournament.

But if the USGA is really dedicated to creating interest in the game, having a tournament that nobody watches because two of the most popular American players are cut out due to wacky rules that differ from the men’s event isn’t fulfilling that mission. The rating in this event will suffer. And that’s bad for golf. Its just that simple. Give the exemptions.

June 22, 2009 at 1:23 pm
(41) Robert says:

In fact, everyone should just watch the Women’s British Open instead. Fewer crazy rules. Better field. Better governing body.

Royal Lytham & St. Annes. Plus, you can watch and then go play in the afternoon. For the US Open, I’ll just go play instead. Why watch?

June 22, 2009 at 5:29 pm
(42) Kevin S. says:

Robert, I agree with everything you said. I think it would be great if Gulbis, who has two top tens in the British Open, won it this year after not being allowed to play in her own country’s champioship due to the quirky, short-sighted and narrow-minded qualifying criteria of the USGA. She is, of course, already exempt from British Open qualifying since she is #36 in the world.

June 23, 2009 at 1:47 pm
(43) sports medic says:

If you read the first post on this board you will see that the USGA does not give special exemptions at sectional qualifying begins on 11 June.

The Witabix British Open allows for the top 70 money winners on this years LPGA tour. The last player in is Anna Gzerbien with $$65,000 in earnings. That is one 4th place finish on a regular tour event or 10 45th place finishes.

The U.S. Woments Open places more emphasis on tournament wins, year end money lists which demonstrates performance over a longer period of time. An injury will make a bigger difference in earnings over a half season than an entire season. The U.S. Open puts more emphasis in local and sectional qualifiering tournaments. Players can chose where they want to qualify and most LPGA pros picked the closest tournament to the McDonalds Championship. The top 30 players qualified from this event. Other events like the ones in New Jersey and Texas had higher scores but only 4 qualifyiers each. The Hawaii event had one qualifyer. The qualifiers are spread out to keep the driving distance down. They also help increase interest and dues to the USGA.

For those who think qualifyers are worthless should look at the (men’s) U.S. Open where the winner Lucas Glover and second place finishers Ricky Barnes and David Duval all got in the Open through qualifiers. In my opinion, to have one tournament a year with this kind of field selection is good for the game of golf.

June 23, 2009 at 3:24 pm
(44) Mark says:

Sports medic, the U.S.G.A.’s criteria does anything but reward a player’s demonstrated performance over a longer period of time. Basically, they are ignoring things like injuries, current year performances in going almost eclusively by a SINGLE PRIOR YEAR. That is complete hogwash and wishful thinking on your part to say it’s about performance over time. The world rankings are based on performance over a much longer period of time and that’s why the USGA should use that same criteria as they do for the men. Natalie Gulbis was 6-16-12 on the year end money list from 2005-2007 prior to to her injury-riddled season in 2008 and is now 29th this year and that’s why she is 36 in the world. She also was EARNED exemptions for 8 striaght years from 2001-2008 and that is performance over time that should be rewarded too. And comparing accomplished qualifiers Glover (PGA Tour Winner and top 60), David Duval (former world #1 and major champion) Ricky Barnes (former U.S. Amateur Champion) with a bunch of 2 handicap qualifiers that shot almost 160 and probably won’t break that in their only two rounds in the open is ludicrous.

June 23, 2009 at 3:41 pm
(45) Frank says:

Sports medic, think of it this way: Michelle Wie could most miss every cut from here to the next year’s U.S. Open and still make it into the 2010 field because her current year earnings to date would still be enough to keep her in the top 50 at this year’s year end. How does that make any sense to you whatsoever. Of course the British Open goes by the current money list, because it’s simply common sense that these are the golfers playing the best leading up to their championship.

June 25, 2009 at 1:56 pm
(46) sports medic says:

The winner and two of the second place finisher for the (men’s) U.S. Open got in the field through qualifying. Yes they had tour victories, one was a former number one ranked player and another was a U.S. Amateur Champion. My point was that they did not earn an exemption and so they went to the qualifying tournement and without complaint did what they had to do to advance. And when they got the exemption they made the most of the opportunity. The U.S. Open is the most open of the majors. It gives half of its field to qualifiers. Many have to go through local to get to the sectional qualifiers. One of the reasons for this is to create inerest locally, increase membership in the USGA and to help grow the game of golf. The tournement is somewhat of a haven for lost causes and reclamation projects but sometimes it produces players who make a difference at the championship.

The cost for increased qualifiers are exemptions. The U.S. Open has fewer exemptions than the British Open. Both the men’s and women’s U.S. Open utilize the top 10 current year money leaders. The men’s open uses the top thirty from the previous years money list and the top 50 world rankings. The ladies use the top 50 from the previous years money list. Using the previous year money list more heavily than the current year does give injurred players more time during that year to get back to playing and move up the money list than using a money list lasting only a few months that is set at the end of May. Would I be upset if Michelle Wie sat on the couch or missed the cut for the entire year a took her exception to the 2010 Women’s Open? Would I be upset if the USGA shorten the previous years money list exempions and expand the use of the Rolex Rankings? No and No. She earned her exemption based on the rules in place at the time. I don’t mind if they go all on current year, previous year or world rankings for exemptions. Once the plan is in place you stick with it until the committee for next year’s open.

June 25, 2009 at 3:12 pm
(47) sports medic says:

There are pros and cons to both money lists and the Rolex Rankings. I’ll be honest and say that I don’t know how they are computed and how much weightng is used for victories versus top 10 or top 20 finishes or how older results are weighted versus newer results or how LPGA results are weighted versus local tours. No matter what system you use, someone is going to get left out who thinks they should be in. College football rankings are a prime example. Different systems produced diffent results from the same season of games. At least golf majors have a “win and your in” route into their championships. It’s the safest way to go.

In the military, we have a time and a place to make suggestions and give opinions. Then when a decision is made we support it even if we have personal reasons to disagree with it later. I’ve heard less wining from soldiers who have had their combat tour extended than I have on some of these U.S. Open boards. For those of you who are truly upset about how the exemptions are allocated I advise you to contact the USGA with your suggestions for next year’s Open. The time to comment on this years exemptions was last year when the decision was made.

June 25, 2009 at 6:26 pm
(48) sports medic says:

Michelle Wie is off to a good start with an opening round 69. Currently tied for 8th. Natalie Gulbis shot a 71 to tie for 29th.

June 25, 2009 at 11:54 pm
(49) Jessie says:

I’m disappointed that neither Wie nor Gulbis qualified. They’re both a huge draw, and if the USGA wants to start making money…

Well you all have said this.

About the qualifying tournaments- I know how it is trying to qualify for a national tournament; you can choose which venue you’re going to try and qualify at, and some are easier to qualify in than others. If neither Michelle nor Natalie qualify at a challenging course, then they shouldn’t play in the Open, and the USGA can’t bend the rules that way. Also, if they had any doubt that they weren’t going to qualify, then they should have signed up at one of the easier venues.

HOWEVER, the USGA needs to support its women golfers. If men and women aren’t held to the same rules and standards, how can it be expected for the fan base to be even close to equal?

(By the way, the same kinds of injustices happen to high school golfers all the time.)

June 26, 2009 at 10:43 pm
(50) sports medic says:

Michelle Wie is at -7 thru 10th hole 2nd round.
Ji Yai Shin in the clubhouse at -11.
Should be a good weekend with both young golfers playing well.

Natalie Gulbis is at -3 thru 13. Good but not good enough when only the oversized check gets you the Open exemption.

July 1, 2009 at 9:07 pm
(51) Walkingwlkr says:

The USGA changed the rules for this year. Have they explained the reasoning? Interestingly the top 10 in this year’s money list all qualified thru other means, thus if the USGA had zero qualifiers for this year’s money list the result would be the same. It seems to me the rules have created a bias against tour rookies who are doing well and who are very likely to be in the top 50 for next year. Wie is not the only one, Vicky Hurst is another.

July 3, 2009 at 4:33 pm
(52) John Fischer says:

I was shocked to hear how the USGA changed the rules for automatically qualifying for the US Women’s Open this year. The US Women’s Open is one of the few LPGA tournaments on a major network and to have several of the top draws in women’s golf who are in the top 30 on the current money list excluded is just idiotic.

July 4, 2009 at 10:44 pm
(53) Anton Reed says:

I agree John Fischer. The USGA messed up big time and should be made to realize it. The USGA must be sent a message loud and clear that itís exemption and qualifying criteria is extremely flawed. Why anyone would care to watch a so-called major tournament that omits 9 of the top 40 current LPGA money winners or 6 of the top 50 World-ranked players is beyond me.

July 8, 2009 at 10:33 pm
(54) Jon Burrows says:

Just thought that DaveCCaddie and Sports Medic, both of who refused to acknowledge that the USGA’s exemption/qualification criteria might be seriously flawed, would like to know that the USGA has lready announced major changes for next year, lol.

July 13, 2009 at 1:01 pm
(55) sports medic says:

Something that hasn’t been mentioned yet. By winning the U.S. Open, Eun Hee Ji has earned an automatic exemption into the next 10 U.S. Opens and a 5 year exemption into the other three majors. She won’t have to worry about what money list or ranking criteria is used.

So far, the new exemption qualifying criteria consists of going from a two-stage (local and sectional) qualifying to one stage. Have not heard anything new on which position on which money list or the use of Rolex Rankings. My guess is that they will go less by the previous years money list and more on the Rolex Rankings. The loss of early season tournements will make it less likely to add much more emphasis to the current year money list. I may be wrong but that is my best guess. However, once the criteria is set, don’t complain if your golfer doesn’t make the field. The USGA sets the criteria. the players set the field. Win and you don’t have to worry.

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