US Open no longer “open” after USGA eliminates qualifying for 2020

One of the new creative pieces for the USGA’s new “From Many, One” marketing campaign for the US Open

The 2020 US Open men’s golf major set for this fall will not hold any qualifying tournaments this year due to the global Covid-19 pandemic, the United States Golf Association has announced.

Typically half the field qualify to participate through local and sectional tournaments, which makes the event so unique relative to the sport’s other major competitions. But now the field will be “filled entirely through exemptions.”

In March, shortly prior to the coronavirus-enforced shutdown, the USGA unveiled a new marketing slogan – “From Many, One”– which celebrates the nearly 10,000 golfers who try to qualify for the major championship, the 156 who participate and the one who is crowned US Open champion.

The organization’s shift brings the 2020 US Open away from the clear spirit of that marketing. But officials said the ongoing public health crisis left them no choice but to pivot.

“Throughout this process, our primary focus has been the safety and well-being of everyone involved, including our players, volunteers, host club representatives and staff,” said John Bodenhamer, senior managing director of championships for the USGA. “We have not taken these decisions lightly and wish we had more options. But with a continued, keen interest in doing what is best for all involved, although we are extremely disappointed, this is the right decision.”

This year’s event at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York, was postponed from June until September 17-20 due to the ongoing health crisis. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has paved the way for live sports in the state without spectators.

The USGA also announced the cancelation of the US Mid-Amateur, Women’s Mid-Amateur, Senior Amateur, and Senior Women’s Amateur tournaments. In addition, the US Women’s Open, US Amateur and US Women’s Amateur will take place without qualifying.

Elsewhere, the TaylorMade Driving Relief charity event over the weekend gained 2.35 million viewers across all NBC platforms.

Read this: New US Open marketing effort part of broader USGA revamp