Tiger Woods Accepts Special Exemption to U.S. Open at Pinehurst

The three-time winner will play in the national championship for the first time since 2020.

The United States Golf Association announced Thursday that the three-time U.S. Open champion has accepted a special exemption to the 124th edition of the championship, to be held June 13-16 at Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina.

The Hall of Famer was not exempt for the tournament, the first time since the 1996 PGA Championship that he had not been exempt for a major. He got a five-year exemption into the U.S. Open for winning the 2019 Masters, which began with the 2019 edition and ended last year.

“The U.S. Open, our national championship, is a truly special event for our game and one that has helped define my career,” Woods said in a USGA release. “I’m honored to receive this exemption and could not be more excited for the opportunity to compete in this year’s U.S. Open, especially at Pinehurst, a venue that means so much to the game.”

Woods won the U.S. Open in 2000, 2002 and 2008. He last played it in 2020, missing the cut at Winged Foot in New York in a U.S. Open moved to September due to COVID-19.

“The story of the U.S. Open could not be written without Tiger Woods,” said USGA chief championships officer John Bodenhamer. “From his 15-stroke victory at Pebble Beach in 2000 to his inspiring win on a broken leg at Torrey Pines in 2008, this championship is simply better when Tiger is in the field, and his accomplishments in the game undoubtedly made this an easy decision for our special exemption committee.”

Woods played in last month’s Masters and finished 60th, last among players who made the cut after a weekend of 82-77. He has not officially committed to the PGA Championship in two weeks but an unveiling of his Sun Day Red apparel line is believed to be a clue that he will tee it up at Valhalla in Louisville, Ky.

The 15-time major winner is exempt for life into the PGA and the Masters and exempt until age 60 in the British Open.

Gideon Canice

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