Tuesday, May 19

USGA: Four Championships in 2020, Deep Regret About No Qualifying

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THE USGA WILL CONDUCT ONLY FOUR championships in 2020, and that's only if public health and safety allow them. There's no certainty during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The USGA will thus conduct four championships in 2020," the organization reported at USGA.org, "all at their originally scheduled sites.

"In early April, the USGA announced that the 120th U.S. Open will be played at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y., from Sept. 17-20, and the 75th U.S. Women’s Open will be played at Champions Golf Club in Houston, Texas, from Dec. 10-13. Testing and robust health and safety protocols will be in place at each of the four championships."

The other two will be the men and women's amateur championships, both with August dates.

None of the fields of the four championships will include qualifiers. All qualifying events have been canceled.

"[T]he fields will be filled entirely through exemptions," the USGA said.

This is a major disappointment, even during these difficult times, because it goes against what these "open" events are about, their very identity.

"[T]his was an incredibly difficult decision, as qualifying is a cornerstone of USGA championships," said John Bodenhamer, the USGA's senior managing director of Championships. "We take great pride in the fact that many thousands typically enter to pursue their dream of qualifying for a USGA championship and we deeply regret that they will not have that opportunity this year. But this structure provides the best path forward for us to conduct these championships in 2020."

Come late summer and fall, I'm sure I'll be glad to watch some golf, including these championships. But this situation reminds me of the war years when championships were canceled or fielded under different banners and sponsorships.

These 2020 USGA championships, if they are played, are a sad substitute for the real thing.

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