Amateur players are eligible to compete for a spot in the U.S. Open if they have a handicap index of 1.4 or better. An amateur who meets that requirement is eligible to compete with other amateurs and certain pros in qualifying tournaments.
Not every player who plays on the PGA tour can just show up at the U.S. Open and play. In order to qualify, a professional needs to meet one of the following requirements:
- Winning the U.S. Open in the previous 10 years;
- Winning the Masters, British Open or PGA tournament in the previous 5 years;
- Finishing in the top 30 on PGA money list in the previous year;
- Finishing in the top 15 on the European Tour in the previous year;
- Or, ranking in the top 50 of the official world golf rankings two weeks prior to the tournament.
Earning a Spot
Professionals who do not qualify automatically and amateurs may compete for a spot by participating in an 18-hole local qualifying tournament and then a 36-hole sectional qualifying tournament. Those tournaments are played at various sites around the United States and there is also one qualifying tournament in Europe and another in Japan.