U.S. Open: British Am champ in, no 10-shot rule

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland poses with the trophy after his eight-stroke victory on the 18th green during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland poses with the trophy after his eight-stroke victory on the 18th green during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland.

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The U.S. Golf Association is making two slight changes for the 2012 U.S. Open. The British Amateur champion is now exempt into the championship, while the 10-shot rule that helps determine the 36-hole cut will be eliminated.

These two changes have been approved by the USGA, but have not been announced publicly. The USGA confirmed to Golfweek that both changes will be put in place for this year’s championship.

The invitation for the British Amateur champion matches the R&A’s exemption for the U.S. Amateur champion into the Open Championship. The winners of the British and U.S. amateurs are now both exempt into the year’s first three majors.

Bryden Macpherson, an Australian who plays at the University of Georgia, will be the first player to receive the exemption.

The U.S. Open cut will now be the top 60 and ties. It used to be the top 60 or any players within 10 shots of the lead, whichever allowed more players to advance. The 10-shot rule kept alive players’ hopes of a weekend charge, but also could lead to an excessive number of participants in the final two rounds.

These changes are in addition to several changes that were announced last February.

The winner of the European Tour’s flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship, is now exempt into the U.S. Open.

The top 60 in the OWGR as of May 21 and June 11 also will be exempt into the Open. The second deadline was instituted in 2011 to reward good play immediately before the championship. The top 50 in the OWGR have been exempt for several years.

Exemptions given for standing on the PGA Tour, European Tour, Japan Golf Tour and PGA Tour of Australasia were eliminated to make room for the increased spots allocated to the world ranking.

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