USGA Adds Exemption Category For U.S. Open Championship

Will Zalatoris

LIBERTY CORNER, New Jersey — The United States Golf Association (USGA) announced that an exemption category will be added for the U.S. Open Championship, beginning with the 2023 championship at The Los Angeles Country Club’s North Course.

The cumulative points leader from the 2022 Korn Ferry Tour season, which begins on Sunday, Jan. 16, using combined points from the Korn Ferry Tour’s 23-event regular season and the three-event Korn Ferry Tour Finals, will earn an exemption for the following year.

The category will read: The points leader from the 2022 Korn Ferry Tour season using combined points earned on the Official Korn Ferry Tour Regular Season Points Standings and points earned in the Korn Ferry Tour Finals.

“The USGA is pleased to offer an exemption to a tour that has been well-represented in the U.S. Open and has developed an accomplished group of professionals for more than three decades,” said John Bodenhamer, chief championships officer for the USGA. “Past U.S. Open champions Lucas Glover and Bryson DeChambeau are among the many who have started their careers on the Korn Ferry Tour.”

Recent Korn Ferry Tour members have enjoyed great success in the U.S. Open, highlighted by Scottie Scheffler’s tie for seventh in 2021 at Torrey Pines Golf Course and Will Zalatoris’ tie for sixth in 2020 at Winged Foot Golf Club.

“We are appreciative of the USGA acknowledging the exceptional performances by recent Korn Ferry Tour alumni in major championships and PGA Tour events, and we are excited to see our members compete for this amazing opportunity annually,” said Alex Baldwin, president of the Korn Ferry Tour. “On behalf of the Korn Ferry Tour and all our members, thank you to the USGA for taking this important step. We look forward to seeing our 2022 season-long points leader compete in the 123rd U.S. Open Championship at The Los Angeles Country Club in 2023.”

Scheffler finished atop the 2019 Korn Ferry Tour Season-Long Points Standings, while Zalatoris posted three top 10s in major championships across 2020 and 2021 as a Korn Ferry Tour member. Despite the fact Zalatoris played all of 2021 on the PGA Tour with Special Temporary Membership, he led the 2020-21 Korn Ferry Tour Regular Season Points Standings for 14 consecutive events.

The Korn Ferry Tour begins this year’s schedule with The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay, from Jan. 16-19.

“The exemption will make a big difference as guys will be even more competitive and motivated as they fight for that No. 1 spot,” said Braden Thornberry, who has full status on the 2022 Korn Ferry Tour and was a member of the winning 2017 USA Walker Cup Team at The Los Angeles Country Club. “For me personally to be at LACC again, it would be great to see all of my (Walker Cup) teammates and for all of us to play in a U.S. Open.”

The Korn Ferry Tour’s 2022 schedule features 26 tournaments across four countries and 18 states, concluding with the Korn Ferry Tour Championship presented by United Leasing & Finance, from Sept. 1-4 in Newburgh, Ind.

The U.S. Open, which was first played in 1895, will be contested in 2022 at The Country Club, in Brookline, Mass., from June 16-19.