Far Hills, N.J. – The United States Golf Association has announced a change to the qualifying process for the U.S. Women’s Open Championship.
Previously, the qualifying process for the Women’s Open included an 18-hole local qualifier and a 36-hole sectional qualifier. Starting with the 2010 U.S. Women’s Open, which will be contested July 8-11 at Oakmont (Pa.) 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 Women’s 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. Women’s 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.
“When we originally changed the qualifying process for the Women’s Open to two stages, one of our main goals was to increase the number of entries for the championship,” said Davis. “That has indeed happened, as we had a record number of entries, 1,278, for the Women’s Open this year. But we think that had more to do with the growth of the women’s game.”
About the USGA
The USGA is the national governing body of golf in the USA and Mexico, a combined territory that includes more than half the world’s golfers and golf courses. The Association’s most visible role is played out each season in conducting 13 national championships, including the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Senior Open. Ten USGA national championships are exclusively for amateurs, and include the U.S. Amateur and the U.S. Women’s Amateur.
The USGA also writes the Rules of Golf, conducts equipment testing, provides expert course maintenance consultations, funds research for better turf and a better environment, maintains a Handicap System, celebrates the history of the game, and administers an ongoing “For the Good of the Game” grants program, which has allocated more than $65 million over 13 years to successful programs that bring the game’s values to youths from disadvantaged backgrounds and people with disabilities.