Els among 24 to earn U.S. Open exemptions

Ernie Els
Ernie Els ( Associated Press )

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Ernie Els won’t have to worry about a special invitation to the U.S. Open. Els, a two-time Open champion, was one of 24 players to earn exemptions to The Olympic Club by being in the top 60 in the Official World Golf Ranking as of May 21.

Els is 44th in the OWGR. He fell short in an eleventh-hour attempt to qualify for this year’s Masters, missing the event for the first time since 1993. He last missed a U.S. Open in 1992, winning the event in 1994 at Oakmont and 1997 at Congressional.

The others who earned exemptions for the June 14-17 Open are Sang-Moon Bae, Thomas Bjorn, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Paul Casey, Nicolas Colsaerts, Ben Crane, Simon Dyson, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño, Rickie Fowler, Anders Hansen, Ryo Ishikawa, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Zach Johnson, Robert Karlsson, K.T. Kim, Martin Laird, Francesco Molinari, Kevin Na, Carl Pettersson, Ian Poulter, Alvaro Quiros, Robert Rock and Kyle Stanley.

Ishikawa and Jimenez were Nos. 59 and 60 in the OWGR, respectively.

There are 77 players exempt for the U.S. Open. The number of fully exempt golfers may increase with the inclusion of the top 60 players from the Official World Golf Ranking as of June 11. The winner of this week’s European Tour BMW PGA Championship also earns an exemption.