Question: How Can I Qualify to Play in the U.S. Open?
Answer: Any professional golfer, or any amateur with a USGA men's handicap index of 1.4 or lower, can attempt to qualify for the U.S. Open golf tournament.
The qualifying process is this: Enter a local qualifier. If you finish high enough, advance to a sectional qualifier. If you finish high enough, advance into the U.S. Open.
In 2013, local qualifiers were scheduled at 111 locations. Local qualifiers are 18 holes in length, played at stroke play. The number of golfers advancing out of each local qualifier is determined by field size.
Golfers who advance out of local qualifying move on to the sectional qualifiers, where they are also joined by golfers who were exempt from local qualifying. Sectional qualifiers are 36 holes (played in one day) of stroke play. In 2013, 13 sectional qualifiers were scheduled (11 in the USA, one in England and one in Japan).
Those who make it through sectional qualifying join the final field for the U.S. Open, along with all the golfers who were exempt from any qualifying (a total of 156).
Now, how do you get into those local qualifiers?
Easy: Fill out an application and mail it in, along with your check for the entry fee. As long as you meet the entry requirements (professional or amateur with 1.4 handicap index or below), and you correctly fill out the entry form, you're in. (Although it should be noted that if you get in and your performance fails to meet a "good play" scoring threshhold set by the USGA, any future applications on your part might be rejected.)
In 2013, the entry fee was $150. Entry forms are posted, when they become available each year, on the USGA Web site here. The entry deadline is usually in late April. Be sure to carefully read the rules and requirements - the fine print - before submitting an entry form.
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