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Furyk, Els receive special exemptions into U.S. Open

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Former winners Jim Furyk and Ernie Els have received special exemptions from the USGA for the 2018 U.S. Open.

The exemptions will allow remarkable streaks to continue for both players. Furyk, who won his lone major title at Olympia Fields in 2003, has played in every U.S. Open since 1995. Els, who won his first major in a playoff at Oakmont in 1994 and again at Congressional in 1997, last missed the event in 1992.

"It's a thrill and I'm very grateful to the USGA," Els said in a release. "Obviously the U.S. Open means a lot to me. This is kind of where it all started, you might say."

"Getting to play in another U.S. Open at a historic course like Shinnecock Hills really gets my competitive spirit flowing," Furyk said. "I've had great success in my many trips to the U.S. Open and winning one is a highlight of my career."

Furyk, 47, will serve as captain of the U.S. Ryder Cup team this fall, while Els, 48, was just named as the International captain for the 2019 Presidents Cup in Australia.

Special exemptions from the USGA have become relatively rare in recent years. Two-time winner Retief Goosen received one in 2016 at Oakmont, but that was the first exemption offered since Vijay Singh and Tom Watson both received spots at Pebble Beach in 2010. Steve Stricker was notably denied a request for a special exemption last year at Erin Hills, but went on to earn a spot via sectional qualifying.

The only player to win a U.S. Open while playing on a special exemption remains Hale Irwin, who did so in 1990 when he defeated Mike Donald in a playoff for his third major title.