Wednesday, June 9, 2010
The Curious Case of Justin Rose and the USGA
You may find it strange that Justin Rose, winner of last week's Memorial, will not be in the field at the U.S. Open. He won't. He failed to qualify on Monday so arguably the hottest golfer in the world right now (obviously debatable) will not be playing in the upcoming major championship.
Why is this a big deal? Because it shows that while the U.S. Open, an event opened to anyone, including Roy McAvoy, has a cool way of getting in, it still is a system with flaws.
Here, in lengthy order, are the full exemptions into the field.
Winners of the U.S. Open Championship the last 10 years (2000-2009)
Winner and runner-up of the 2009 U.S. Amateur Championship (must be an amateur)
Winners of the Masters Tournament the last five years (2006-2010)
Winners of the British Open Championship the last five years (2005-2009)
Winners of the PGA of America Championship the last five years (2005-2009)
Winners of the 2010 Players Championship the last three years (2008-2010)
Winner of the 2009 U.S. Senior Open Championship
15 lowest scorers and anyone tying for 15th place at the 2009 U.S. Open Championship
Top 30 money leaders from the 2009 final official PGA Tour money list
Those qualifying for the season-ending 2009 Tour Championship
Top 15 money leaders from the 2009 final official PGA European Tour money list
Top 10 money leaders from the 2010 official PGA Tour money list, through May 24 (must have filed an entry by April 28)
Any multiple winner of PGA co-sponsored events whose victories are considered official from June 21, 2009, through June 13, 2010
Top five money leaders from the 2010 official PGA European Tour money list, through May 24
Top two money leaders from the 2009 final official Japan Golf Tour money list, provided they are within the top 75 point leaders of the World Ranking at the end of the year
Top two money leaders from the 2009 final official PGA Tour of Australia money list, provided they are within the top 75 point leaders of the World Ranking at the end of the year
Top 50 point leaders from the current World Ranking, as of May 24
Any player whom the USGA selects for an exemption on the basis of his playing record (must have filed an entry by April 28)
Now, you can toss out most of those because Rose hasn't won anything big ever. He isn't a winner or runner-up in the top seven events, he was cut last year at Bethpage (although he did finish 10th in 2008), he isn't locked in on the money lists of either tours and he sure isn't a top-two on the Japan Tour money list.
No, the problem is, Justin Rose played too well, too late. Yep, before last week, Rose was ranked 66th in the world, and you need to be in the top-50 to get a spot in the Open. Problem is, they have a deadline, and that was May 24, well before the completion of the Memorial. If Rose had won, say, the Shell Houston Open, this wouldn't be an issue. But, because of his win at Jack's tournament, Rose jumped all the way up to 33rd in the world, well above the cutoff for entry into Pebble Beach.
With all the money these guys make, and the ease of plane and hotel reservations for someone ranked top-50 in the world, this rule needs to be changed, and fast. There is no reason someone should be left out because of a deadline nearly a month before tournament time.
Shame on the USGA for having outdated rules. Or shame on Rose for deciding to show up too late. No matter, the U.S. Open will be without a guy that has two top-10s in his last five starts in U.S. Opens.