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.


Jim Dauer, said...

Coordinating an event as big as the U.S. Open is a challenge and having the field change based on the results of a tournament that ends four days before the beginning of the Open is a bit of a nightmare. Doing so, however, would make those tournaments more exciting as there would always be players in the field trying to play their way into the majors.

For now, however, the problem with Justin Rose could probably best be handled through the use of an exemption.

Freedo said...

How about Vijay Singh spouting his mouth off several years ago about how terrible it is for people to get exemptions and then accepting one himself. Stay classy Veeeeej!

johnraser said...

I'd much rather win Memorial than the Shell Houston Open. Aside from the majors, The PLAYERS, Arnie's tourney, Jack's tourney, and Colonial (Ben's tourney) are the premiere events on the PGA Tour. Winning one of these, alone, should get you into the Open. The USGA needs to fix this fast.

Shane B. said...

Raser, I'd take any of them.

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