This Year’s U.S. Open Spotlights Ben Hogan’s Claim to a Fifth


For nearly 100 years, the hallmark of the US Open has been the qualifying process. It’s integral to the very nature of the Open, because the match is open to all comers — supplied they’ve an official handicap index of 1.4 or higher.

Often the Open discipline consists of 156 gamers, with half of them qualifying by way of prior efficiency and the opposite half via a collection of grueling qualifying rounds. The Open is performed on a few of the most interesting programs within the land, underneath essentially the most rigorous circumstances conceivable, however the necessity to first qualify via superlative play is paramount.

It’s this requirement of getting to earn one’s means into the championship that clearly units the Open aside as essentially the most democratic of all of golf’s tournaments.

Usually, there are 9,000 to 10,000 candidates for native qualifying at about 115 websites throughout the nation, with profitable qualifiers transferring on to 10 regional qualifying websites in the US. There are additionally further worldwide qualifying rounds, with regionals in Canada, England and Japan. Most years, about 78 gamers are totally exempt into the championship and qualify via a wide range of classes — winners of the main tournaments over the previous a number of years, winners of different U.S.G.A. occasions previously yr, excessive finishers on numerous cash lists and the like.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S.G.A. canceled all qualifying and changed it by intentionally deciding on gamers picked from a number of golf efficiency lists for roughly half the sphere with the opposite half coming from the totally exempt classes as ordinary. Due to the change of dates for the tournament — to mid-September from mid-June — the sphere was diminished to 144 gamers, a results of the less hours of accessible daylight within the fall than in the summertime that’s crucial to finishing the primary two rounds with a a lot bigger discipline.

The objective was to reflect — as carefully as doable — the common composition of the assorted participant classes over the previous few years and match play into the accessible mild. John Bodenhamer, the united statesG.A.’s senior managing director, in command of the Open, acknowledged that the objective was to reflect the common composition of the previous few years. “This has been a very challenging year, and to go without qualifying is deeply disappointing to us,” he stated.

Nonetheless, the united statesG.A.’s class picks had been considerably arbitrary — for instance, this yr’s inclusion of gamers off the Official World Golf Rating listing was elevated to 70 from 60; 13 amateurs, at all times a fixture within the Open, had been included, down from the 18 who performed their means into the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Membership in Southampton, N.Y.

With out the qualifying rounds, there received’t be any great, compelling tales concerning the younger assistant professional at a small membership who overcomes all odds to qualify or the heartwarming story of the senior beginner who first performed within the Open 25 years earlier than and eventually made it again. The usG.A. takes nice pleasure in publicizing these people.

Additionally lacking would be the final Cinderella tales — the gamers who needed to undergo the qualifying rounds and went on to win the U.S. Open — Ken Venturi in 1964, Orville Moody in 1969, Steve Jones in 1996, Michael Campbell in 2005 and Lucas Glover in 2009.

Due to the elimination of native and sectional qualifying, this yr’s Open is tantamount to an invitational match. However the winner’s title will seem on the U.S. Open trophy proper there with the greats of the sport. His scores will go within the official U.S.G.A. report ebook and he’ll additionally obtain the identical gold medal as these legendary gamers.

As a counterpoint, take into account the case of the 1942 Open. It was referred to as the Hale America Open, nevertheless it got here to be often known as the Wartime U.S. Open. It was carried out by the united statesG.A., with an help from the Chicago District Golf Affiliation and the PGA of America, and was performed at Ridgemoor Nation Membership in Chicago on the standard mid-June dates for the U.S. Open.

Most importantly, it featured native and sectional qualifying carried out by the united statesG.A.

Just about all the high gamers had been there; gamers who had already received a serious or would go on to win one. Bobby Jones even got here out of retirement to play.

No doubt, it had all the trappings of the U.S. Open.

Ben Hogan received by three strokes over Mike Turnesa and Jimmy Demaret, and by 4 over Byron Nelson, capturing 17-under-par 271 for the match. Hogan’s Open appeared for a few years within the official report ebook. And the gold medal that Hogan was introduced with by the president of the united statesG.A., George Blossom, was visually an identical to the opposite 4 he would go on to win. There was one very slight exception — the background of a small discipline of stars on the face of the medal, about half the scale of a pinkie fingernail, shouldn’t be painted blue as it’s usually within the ones that winners get for successful the Open.

The brink query then is, if this yr’s U.S. Open, with out native and sectional qualifying — the bedrock precept underpinning the U.S. Open — is taken into account official, shouldn’t Hogan’s title be added to the long-lasting trophy and his information put again within the official report ebook as properly?

Hogan at all times believed he received 5 U.S. Opens, although U.S.G.A. eliminated the 1942 victory from their report ebook and didn’t engrave his title on the trophy. Restoring his fifth title would additionally change one other little bit of Open historical past: Hogan’s 62 within the second spherical would additionally depend because the lowest rating within the match’s historical past.

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