NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. Open will be held without qualifying this year, the United States Golf Association announced on Monday, with the field "filled entirely through exemptions."
Golfers who are exempt from qualifying competitions include those who have won the U.S. Open tournament in the last decade and top-10 finishers from the tournament's previous year, for example, or those who qualify through a special exemption set by the USGA.
The tournament was postponed to Sept. 17-20 from its June date at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York, as the coronavirus outbreak rattled the world of professional sports and shredded the golf calendar.
The USGA said that while the tournament was moving forward, qualifying was "not viable" due to safety concerns.
"This was an incredibly difficult decision, as qualifying is a cornerstone of USGA championships," said John Bodenhamer, senior managing director of championships for the USGA. "But this structure provides the best path forward for us to conduct these championships in 2020."
Live golf is slowly returning to action since the COVID-19 outbreak sent players and fans into lockdown, with the PGA Tour set to resume next month.
A two-on-two charity skins match between world No. 1 Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff on Sunday provided a rare dose of normalcy for golfers and fans alike, with the more than four-hour-long broadcast raising upward of $5.5 million for COVID-19 relief.
(Reporting by Amy Tennery; Editing by Dan Grebler)
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