Qualifying for the US Open will return to England for the first time in three years for the 2023 tournament.
There had been a hiatus due to travel restrictions in the intervening period, but it has now been announced that Surrey’s Walton Heath Golf Club will host one of the final qualifiers for the 15th time on its Old and New courses on Tuesday 16 May.
The club, which also hosts this year's AIG Women's Open, originally held US Open qualifying when international qualifying began in 2005. This year, it’s an especially appropriate venue because both of its courses were designed by W. Herbert Fowler, who was also responsible for the design of the North Course at the venue at this year’s third Major of the year, Los Angeles Country Club.
Other countries to host final qualifying are Japan, Canada and, of course, the US. Ibaraki Golf Club’s West Course, in Osaka Prefecture, Japan, joins Lambton Golf and Country Club, in Toronto, Canada, as the other two international venues. Preceding final qualifying, local qualifying will be held solely in North America, in the US and Canada.
USGA Chief Championships Officer John Bodenhamer explained the appeal of the qualifying format. He said: “The US Open provides thousands of professional and amateur golfers with diverse backgrounds from around the world the opportunity to earn a place in the championship through local and final qualifying. Allied Golf Associations in the United States, as well as groups in Europe, Canada and Japan, work together to provide an avenue to The Los Angeles Country Club, where the world’s greatest players will compete for our national championship.”
To be eligible, a player must have a Handicap Index not exceeding 1.4, or be a professional. Not surprisingly, there has been no shortage of interest over the years. The USGA accepted 9,265 entries for last year’s tournament at The Country Club of Brookline. However, the record of 10,127 remains qualifying for the 2014 championship at Pinehurst No. 2.
It’s not unheard of for players to achieve success having gone down the qualifying route, either. In 1964, Ken Venturi became the first player to win the US Open after qualifying through both local and final stages. That achievement was matched five years later by Orville Moody. Not surprisingly, there are more examples of players who have won the tournament after advancing through final qualifying only, with six having achieved the feat, including Michael Campbell, who came through final qualifying at Walton Heath in 2005 before going on to beat Tiger Woods by two shots.
Local qualifying begins on Monday 17 April and concludes on Monday 22 May. Final qualifying begins at Walton Heath on Tuesday 16 May before concluding on Monday 5 June at a series of courses in the US. The tournament begins 10 days later, on Thursday 15 June.
Online player registration for the 2023 US Open begins on Wednesday 22 February at champs.usga.org until Wednesday 12 April.
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Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories.
He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game.
Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course.
Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.
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