|Ernie is in. (Flickr)|
The exemptions were awarded to players who earned a place in the top 60 in the Official World Golf Ranking as of May 21. Els, who won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997, is ranked No. 44.
Those who earned full exemptions through the current Official World Golf Ranking are: Sang-Moon Bae, Thomas Bjorn, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Paul Casey, Nicolas Colsaerts, Ben Crane, Simon Dyson, Ernie Els, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño, Rickie Fowler, Anders Hansen, Ryo Ishikawa, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Zach Johnson, Robert Karlsson, K.T. Kim, Martin Laird, Francesco Molinari, Kevin Na, Carl Pettersson, Ian Poulter, Alvaro Quiros, Robert Rock and Kyle Stanley.
The number of fully exempt golfers may increase with the inclusion of the top 60 players from the Official World Golf Ranking as of June 11. The winner of this week’s European Tour BMW PGA Championship also earns an exemption.
The first sectional qualifier for the 2012 U.S. Open was held May 21 in Japan, where six spots in the 156-player field were determined. An additional international qualifier will be held in Surrey, England, on May 28. Sectional qualifying in the United States will take place at 11 sites on Monday, June 4.
A list of the 77 golfers fully exempt into the 2012 U.S. Open as of May 21.