Changes Coming to U.S. Senior Open Qualifying Model

By Brian DePasquale, USGA

| Jun 24, 2024 | Liberty Corner, N.J.

Changes Coming to U.S. Senior Open Qualifying Model

Beginning in 2025, the U.S. Senior Open Championship will move to a two-stage qualifying model and adopt modified exemption categories.

The U.S. Senior Open, which will be contested next year at The Broadmoor’s East Course, in Colorado Springs, Colo., will feature a qualifying framework that is similar to the U.S. Open with 32 local sites and 12 final sites. In 2024, there was one stage of qualifying with 33 sites in 24 U.S. states. The USGA accepted 3,019 entries, the third-highest total in championship history.

Additionally, the U.S. Senior Open’s qualifying model will feature a limited overall reduction in full exemptions along with the appropriate alignment of major championship exemptions. Local exemption criteria will recognize accomplishments at the senior amateur and professional level.

“Retaining the U.S. Senior Open’s openness while ensuring that high-caliber players are provided ample opportunity to earn a spot in the field and that qualifying can be conducted at the highest level is paramount,” said Brent Paladino, USGA senior director, Championship Administration. “Our structure has evolved to ensure the long-term sustainability of qualifying without excessively burdening Allied Golf Associations (AGAs) and host clubs.”

Significant full exemption adjustments include a one-year exemption for PGA Tour Champions winners (based on timing of victory) instead of 2- or 3-year exemptions, while the Senior PGA, Senior Players and The Tradition champion will each receive a 5-year exemption.

The establishment of local exemptions will include, but not be limited to, past PGA Tour Champions winners, top finishers in the Charles Schwab Cup standings, top finishers in senior major championships, winners of state senior opens and state senior amateur championships and a World Amateur Golf Ranking®/WAGR® senior age-filtered category.

While maintaining the openness of the championship, benefits to the AGAs and local level, improved qualifying odds, an overall enhanced qualifying experience and a stronger championship field are the expected results of the two-stage model.

Newport (R.I.) Country Club is hosting the U.S. Senior Open Championship for the first time this week. The 44th edition of the championship is being played June 27-30, and will air on NBC, Golf Channel and Peacock. Newport, one of the USGA’s five founding members, was the host site for the first USGA championship in 1895. This week’s U.S. Senior Open will be the association’s 1,001st championship.