Previously, the qualifying process for the Womens Open included an 18-hole local qualifier and a 36-hole sectional qualifier. Starting with the 2010 U.S. Womens Open, which will be contested July 8-11 at Oakmont Country Club, there will be only one stage ' 36-hole sectional qualifying for non-exempt players.
Historically, two-stage qualifying has presented problems for players trying to coordinate their playing schedules. Since the change to two stages in 2002, the USGA has received many requests from players for exemptions through local qualifying.
We believe this one-stage system will be more time and cost efficient for the players and officials running the qualifiers, said Mike Davis, senior director of Rules & Competitions for the USGA. This will give players more flexibility when determining their schedule as they will have more options of dates and sites from which to choose.
The change for the Womens Open will also make it easier for the USGA to obtain qualifying sites. Beginning next year, about 20 qualifying sites around the country will be used during a three-week period, whereas the current process typically provided just one date for sectional qualifying.
The USGA currently conducts one-stage sectional qualifying for all of its amateur championships and the U.S. Senior Open. With this change to the U.S. Womens Open, the only USGA championship to continue to hold two stages of qualifying will be the U.S. Open, which had more than 9,000 entries this year.