USGA announces new U.S. Open exemption for Korn Ferry Tour

There will soon be another way to qualify for the U.S. Open.

The USGA announced Monday that beginning with its 2023 national championship at Los Angeles Country Club, the player who finishes with the most combined Korn Ferry Tour points between the developmental tour’s regular season and three-event finals each year will be exempt into the following year’s U.S. Open.

“The USGA is pleased to offer an exemption to a tour that has been well-represented in the U.S. Open and has developed an accomplished group of professionals for more than three decades,” said John Bodenhamer, chief championships officer for the USGA.

Two years ago, the USGA implemented a temporary exemption category that invited top KFT points leaders to compete in its 2020 rescheduled championship at Winged Foot. In in typical years, several KFT members earn U.S. Open spots via the local and/or sectional qualifying process, including last year when the likes of Cameron Young, Taylor Montgomery and Dylan Wu were among the KFT players who qualified.

“We are appreciative of the USGA acknowledging the exceptional performances by recent Korn Ferry Tour alumni in major championships and PGA Tour events, and we are excited to see our members compete for this amazing opportunity annually,” said Alex Baldwin, president of the Korn Ferry Tour. “On behalf of the Korn Ferry Tour and all our members, thank you to the USGA for taking this important step.”

This year’s KFT season, which features 26 events, begins on Sunday at the Bahamas Great Exuma Classic.

“The exemption will make a big difference as guys will be even more competitive and motivated as they fight for that No. 1 spot,” said Braden Thornberry, a current KFT member who was part of the U.S. Walker Cup team that won at LACC in 2017. “For me personally to be at LACC again, it would be great to see all of my [Walker Cup] teammates and for all of us to play in a U.S. Open.”

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