U.S. Open exemptions to be finalized in tournaments worldwide this week

ryo ishikawa
Getty Images
Rising star Ryo Ishikawa needs a high finish on the Japan Tour this week to guarantee a spot in the U.S. Open.
By
Doug Ferguson
Associated Press

Series:

Published: Friday, May 20, 2011 | 2:03 p.m.

Tournaments on three continents this week could go a long way toward deciding who gets in the U.S. Open. The top 50 in the world ranking published next Monday are exempt from qualifying.

David Toms, who lost in a playoff at the Players Championship, went from No. 75 to No. 46 this week. He is not on the bubble, but likely safe unless a few other players behind him all have a good week at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. Toms has not missed the U.S. Open since 1998.

Ryo Ishikawa, meanwhile, tied for 12th last week on the Japan Golf Tour and fell three spots to No. 53. He is playing this week in the Totoumi Hamamatsu Open, and because Japan gets far fewer world ranking points, he likely will need a top finish to avoid qualifying.

Further down the list are two names of greater significance.

Vijay Singh has the longest active streak with 67 straight appearances in the majors. He missed the cut last week in the Players and fell to No. 59 in the world. He received a special exemption from the USGA last year.

Sergio Garcia is at No. 73 and in danger of missing a major for the first time since the 1999 U.S. Open that the late Payne Stewart won at Pinehurst No. 2. It also would be the first time he had to qualify for the U.S. Open, although those are no longer his intentions.

"If I don't qualify, then I don't deserve to play," Garcia said last week.

Aaron Baddeley is at No. 50, although he appears to be safe. The U.S. Open also takes the top 10 on the PGA Tour money list after next week, and Baddeley is No. 7 on the strength of his win at Riviera. If not, he's in the right place this week: Spain.

The Volvo World Match Play Championship on the European Tour schedule is stacked with top players -- five of the top six players in the world (missing only Phil Mickelson at No. 4). With only 24 players in the field, he is assured of getting some points.

Peter Hanson of Sweden moved up four spots to No. 48, although he is not playing this week. Gary Woodland is at No. 49 and not playing at Colonial -- this would be his fifth straight event -- and will need to stay put to assure his spot. J.B. Holmes, who closed with a 69 at the TPC Sawgrass to tie for sixth, moved up to No. 52 and is playing Colonial.

The U.S. Open, to be played June 16-19, also will take the top 50 in the world the week before the championship begins, leaving hope for those who don't make it.

The cutoff for top 50 to be exempt for the British Open is May 30, although it has other avenues to get in. Among them is having the highest finish at the AT&T National and John Deere Classic among those not already eligible. It also offers spots to the top two players from a special money list that starts with the Players Championship and includes five straight tournaments through the AT&T National.