US Open: Phil Mickelson qualifies after exemption category changes

Phil Mickelson will have another chance to complete golf’s career Grand Slam after changes to the exemption criteria mean he has now qualified for this year’s US Open.

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All qualifying events were cancelled this season due to the Covid-19 pandemic, meaning the 144-man field at Winged Foot this September will be made up entirely of exempt players.

The world’s top 70 when golf went into an enforced coronavirus shutdown in mid-March automatically qualify, having previously only been the top 60, with Mickelson falling into that category having been 61st in the standings on March 15.

Mickelson is a six-time runner-up at the US Open, including at Winged Foot in 2006, with the event the only major the 50-year-old has yet to win, and a tournament he has missed just twice since making his debut as an amateur in 1990.

“That worked out great, to be able to know that I have a chance to go back to Winged Foot and give it another shot,” Mickelson said after his opening round at the Travelers Championship.

“As long as I’m playing well enough to compete to earn my way into the field, then I want to play and keep trying to win that tournament.”

The European Tour’s new UK Swing will have 10 spots available, allocated to highest aggregate points earners – not already exempt – from the first five events in the series. That begins with the British Masters on July 22, with the places allocated from the mini order of merit after the conclusion of the Wales Open.

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Keith Waters, European Tour chief operating officer, said: “Throughout our discussions with the USGA, it was clear that they shared our desire to offer European Tour players an opportunity to earn places in this year’s US Open. We thank them for working with us to create this new exemption category encompassing the first five events in the UK Swing.”

Two spots for those finishing in the top 10 and ties will be on offer at every PGA Tour event from the Memorial Tournament to the Wyndham Championship, while three places are up for grabs at the PGA Championship from August 6-9.

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