When the USGA announces its first- and second-round threesomes for the 111th U.S. Open Championship on Friday, there will only be 153 names included for what will ultimately be a 156-man field.
That’s due to an extensive alternate process which also must allow for last-minute exemptions to earn their way into the tournament.
For example, Gary Woodland is currently 41st in the Official World Golf Ranking. He isn’t currently eligible for the tournament, but is guaranteed a place in the field via exemptions for the top-50 as of Sunday night. His will be one of those three missing names.
Any other players who either climb into the top-50 or win a second PGA Tour title in 12 months will automatically make the field. Additional spots will be filled through the USGA’s reallotment procedure. Under this process, the first alternate from the next sectional qualifying site on the list would be placed into the field.
“Our alternate procedure is a bit different than what some might find on the PGA Tour,” Jeff Hall, USGA managing director, Rules of Golf and amateur status, told GolfChannel.com. “On the tour, the player withdraws, there is a straight list. That’s not how our championship works. We have a reallotment list and we use that list when a fully exempt player withdraws.
“For argument’s sake, when Tiger Woods withdrew, we went to our reallotment list and the Dallas site was next on our reallotment. It means if Tiger had never entered in the first place, that’s the next qualifying site that would have had one more place.”
The list has already used players from five qualifiers on the reallotment. Next up would be alternates from Columbus, Ohio, then Summit, N.J.; Rockland, Md.; Memphis; St. Charles, Ill.; Vero Beach, Fla.; Springfield, Ohio; and Bremerton, Wash.
If no players beside Woodland become fully exempt by Sunday night, J.J. Henry and Zack Byrd, the first alternates from the Columbus and Summit qualifiers, will each have a place in the U.S. Open field.
However, if a player who reached the field via sectional qualifying withdraws, he would be replaced not by the reallotment list, but by the first alternate from that sectional.
“If a qualifier withdraws,” Hall said, “the first alternate from that site will fill his place from the field.”
Of course, there’s a stipulation for that, too.
“If a player from, say, Bremerton, Wash., withdraws Wednesday night and couldn’t answer the bell and there were no alternates on site from Bremerton, we have to put that spot somewhere,” Hall added. “At that point, we would go to re-allotment.”