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Tiger Woods will compete in the US Open after the USGA granted a special exemption

Tiger Woods was awarded a special exemption from the US Open at Pinehurst on Thursday.

Darren Riehl

Guess who's back?

On Thursday afternoon, the USGA announced that it has awarded Tiger Woods, a 15-time major champion and three-time US Open winner, to compete in this year's field at the Pinehurst No. 1 host course. 2. Woods has accepted the invitation. and plans to compete in the US Open, which would mark his fourth start in 2024 if he qualifies for the PGA Championship in May.

The news comes after Woods' exemption from the national championship in 2023, the only five-year exemption for major championship winners, expired in Tiger's victory at the 2019 Masters. Despite being exempt from the event, Woods was expected to enter the field by qualifying for the US Open, a task that would have seemed impossible given his physical limitations.

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Ultimately, the USGA's “special exemption committee” deemed that approach unnecessary – granting Woods an exemption from the event. Woods' release marks just the second time such efforts have been used to grant a player entry into the event in the past five years and the first since Phil Mickelson at Torrey Pines in 2021.

According to the USGA's own guidelines, special exemptions are granted “based on the amazing performance of the players over the years, especially in USGA tournaments, more major tournaments, time spent as World No. 1, tour wins, and recent concerts/positions.”

“The US Open, our national championship, is a truly special event for our sport and has helped define my career,” Woods said in a press release announcing the release. “I'm honored to receive this exemption and couldn't be more excited for the opportunity to compete in this year's US Open, especially at Pinehurst, which is a place that means a lot to the sport.”

The USGA's decision to add Woods to the field comes on the same day LIV Golf's Talor Gooch announced he will not attempt to qualify for the US Open. Gooch, 32, has won three times at LIV since the start of 2023, but his lack of major championship exemptions or Official World Golf Ranking points has left him needing to participate in the US Open to earn a spot in the national championship field. He has played in 11 career majors, with his best career finish coming in T14 at the 2022 Masters.

On the other hand, Woods has won nine USGA titles, including the '00, '02 and '08 US Opens, and is widely regarded as one of the greatest golfers to ever compete at the professional level.

“The story of the US Open could not be written without Tiger Woods,” said John Bodenhamer, the USGA's chief tournament officer, in a statement. “From his 15-stroke victory at Pebble Beach in 2000 to his broken-leg victory at Torrey Pines in 2008, this tournament is better when Tiger is on the field, and his success in the game undoubtedly made this an easy decision. to our special release committee.”

James Colgan Editor

James Colgan is a news editor and features on GOLF, writing articles for websites and magazines. He manages Hot Mic, the GOLF media stand, and applies his camera knowledge to all product platforms. Before joining GOLF, James graduated from Syracuse University, at which time he was the recipient of a caddy (and atute looper) scholarship on Long Island, where he hails from. He can be reached at [email protected].

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