The Executive Committee of the United States Golf Association took the action at its Annual Meeting in Colorado Springs, Colo. The Committee will continue to review considerations for special exemptions through the end of May.
Irwin, 56, has played in 32 Opens, the last 31 of them consecutively, dating back to 1971. He has the longest active streak for Opens played. His first U.S. Open was the 1966 championship at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, Calif., in which he completed 72 holes at 305 (25-over-par) as an amateur. Only Jack Nicklaus and Gene Sarazen played in more Opens, with 44 and 33, respectively.
Irwin won his Open titles in 1974, 1979 and 1990. His victory in 1990, at age 45, made him the oldest U.S. Open champion. In addition to his three Open titles, Irwin has won two U.S. Senior Opens, in 1998 and 2000.
He tied for 52nd place at last year's Open, but captured the imagination of golf fans everywhere with his opening round of 3-under-par 67, leaving him just one stroke off the lead, held by eventual winner Retief Goosen.
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