USGA expands opportunities for amateurs


The U.S. Golf Association announced Saturday that it will be expanding exemptions offered to amateurs into the U.S. Open and U.S. Women's Open. The changes were announced at the USGAs annual meeting in Houston.

The winners of the British Amateur and Ladies British Open Amateur championships will be exempt into the British Open and Ladies British Open, respectively. In addition, the recipients of the Mark H. McCormack Medal - awarded to the the No. 1 male and female in the season-end World Amateur Golf Ranking - will be fully exempt.

To use the exemptions, the players must remain amateurs.

On the men's side, Patrick Cantley was the recipient of the McCormack Medal, while Aussie Bryden Macpherson won the British Amateur last year to secure a spot.

For the ladies, 14-year-old Lydia Ko won the McCormack Medal. She also recently became the youngest player to ever win a professional tournament when she took the New South Wales Open last weekend.

16-year-old Lauren Taylor of England became the youngest Ladies British Open Amateur winner at Royal Portrush last year.

In addition to the exemptions for amateurs into the U.S. Women's Open, the top 25 in the Rolex Rankings as of May 2 and July 2 will be exempt into the championship.

The U.S. Open will be contested at Olympic Club in San Francisco from June 14-17, while the U.S. Women's Open will be played at Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Wis. from July 5-8.