Want to get into one of the United States Golf Association’s premier amateur events in 2024? The qualification process is going to look a bit different than the past.
The governing body announced Wednesday “significant modifications” to its qualifying model for the first time in 20 years. Beginning in 2024, the U.S. Amateur, U.S. Women’s Amateur, U.S. Junior and U.S. Girls’ Junior will adjust the number of players who are exempt into the championships and expand exemption categories and adjust how it fills the remainder of the fields.
The U.S. Amateur will see the most significant changes, which will move from a one-stage, 36-hole qualifying format to a two-stage qualifying format with 45 18-hole local qualifying sites and 19 18-hole final qualifying sites to fill out the 312-person field.
The changes will allow events to retain their openness while ensuring that high-caliber players are provided ample opportunity to earn a spot in the field and that qualifying can be conducted at the highest level among growing entries and field sizes.
The USGA will increase the number of players fully exempt off the World Amateur Golf Ranking from 50 to 100. In addition, the top 600 players in the WAGR will be exempt from local qualifying.
“The openness and aspirational nature of our championships is a defining characteristic of USGA championships,” Brent Paladino, senior director of Championship Administration, said. “As the number of entries and qualifying sites have continued to increase on a yearly basis, we looked at ways to evolve our structure to ensure the long-term sustainability of qualifying without excessively burdening Allied Golf Associations (AGAs) and host clubs. These revisions will provide players with additional pathways to our championships through traditional qualifying, expanded exemption categories and performance in state, AGA, regional and national amateur championships.”
For the U.S. Women’s Amateur, the number of players exempt into the championship will increase to 50 from 25. There will be no change in qualifying structure, but the number of qualifying sites will be reduced.
For the junior championships, both exemption categories have been adjusted (top 100 from 80 for boys and top 50 from 40 for girls). In addition, the qualifying-event structure will encourage conducting join or concurrent qualifiers.
In 2022, the USGA accepted 44,737 total entries and collaborated with AGAs to conduct a combined 678 qualifiers across 15 championships. There will be a reduction of 94 qualifying sites next year.
The USGA will also lower the Handicap Index limits across all four championships and modifications to the performance policy that will be announced later.
Entries for 2024 USGA amateur championships will open next spring. The 2024 U.S. Amateur will be held at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota, with the 2024 U.S. Women’s Amateur coming at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The 2024 U.S. Junior will be at Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and the 2024 Girls’ Junior will be at El Caballero Country Club in Tarzana, California.