8,300 Golfers from 67 Countries Enter 2011 U.S. Open

8,300 Golfers from 67 Countries Enter 2011 U.S. Open 1THE USGA REPORTED TODAY that 8,300 golfers have submitted entries for the 2011 U.S. Open Championship, which is returning to Congressional Country Club near Washington, D.C., where Ernie Els won the second of his two U.S. Open titles in 1997. The year’s second major will be played June 16-19.

All entrants are professionals or amateurs with a USGA Handicap Index no higher than 1.4. Sixty-five are fully exempt, including nine past champions: Graeme McDowell (2010), Angel Cabrera (2007), Michael Campbell (2005), Ernie Els (1994, 1997), Jim Furyk (2003), Lucas Glover (2009), Retief Goosen (2001, 2004), Geoff Ogilvy (2006) and Tiger Woods (2000, 2002, 2008).

Entries poured in from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and 66 other countries. More than 700 applicants listed foreign addresses. The USGA accepted online entries for the first time. Amateur Herbie Aikens submitted the first entry on March 2. Hawaiian Kevin Hayashi barely beat the 5 p.m. EDT deadline, transmitting his entry with only 15 seconds to spare.

An 18-hole local qualifier will take place at 111 sites on May 6-19. A 36-hole sectional qualifier will follow at two international sites (May 23 in Japan and May 30 in England) and 11 U.S. sites on June 6.

The number of exemptions has increased. It includes the top 50 players from the Official World Golf Ranking, the top 10 money leaders on the 2011 PGA Tour and the top five money leaders on the 2011 European PGA Tour. (The cutoff date is May 23.) Other exemptions include the winner of the 2011 Players Championship and any multiple winner of official PGA Tour co-sponsored events between June 20, 2010, and June 12, 2011.

There will only be one winner. Any early predictions?

More info about the 2011 U.S. Open

−The Armchair Golfer

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Neil Sagebiel

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