Oakmont has been home to five US Amateurs and two US Women’s Open Championships. It has winners with names like Hogan, Nicklaus, Jones and more recently Paula Creamer.
— U.S. Open (USGA) (@usopengolf) April 19, 2016
Aside from the fact that the US Open is a major championship, there is something else that makes this tournament a real fan favorite: if you are good enough (meaning you have a handicap index of 1.4 or lower), you can try to qualify to play with the best in the world. Of the four professional golf majors, this is one of only two that offer this opportunity.
Here’s a look at the process, by the numbers, this year alone.
9,877 – Number of applications sent into the USGA to play in a local qualifying round.
9,397 – Number of golfers who played in a local qualifying round.
111 – Number of golf courses which hosted a local qualifying round.
12 – Number of sectional qualifying rounds that are played.
10 – Number of golf courses which host the sectional qualifying rounds.
22 – Number of players who make it through local and sectional qualifying to gain a coveted spot in the 2016 US Open.
“I can’t believe this just happened… bu I’m U.S. Open bound!”
I can’t believe this just happened…but I’m U.S. Open bound! pic.twitter.com/xhowmheZcr
— Ryan Stachler (@RyanStachler) June 6, 2016
This year’s applicants were from 72 foreign countries, and represented by all 50 states, along with the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Each player was simply looking at a lifelong goal, dead in the eye and get their one shot at golf glory — or at least to play in one of the most revered championships in all of golf.
“He just sank like a 40 foot birdie… and he’s going to the U.S Open… This is not real.”
So now the field is set. There are superstar tour pros like Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth, hoping to win another major, while others are trying to win their first. There are the young gun amateurs, looking to launch their PGA Tour careers, while the older ones are simply appreciative to walk in the steps of Nicklaus and Palmer, in in one golf’s most prestigious tournaments.
How will it end up, nobody knows. But one thing is for sure: Come Sunday afternoon, there will be great theater, and more history made at Oakmont Country Club.