Tiger Woods has won the Grand Slam three times over in his career, but the 14-time major champion lost his US Open exemption after the 2018 edition at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club.
Woods lost his exemption because, unlike the three other majors, a US Open champion is only afforded a 10-year exemption back into the championship. Since he didn’t finish in the top 10 at Shinnecock, Woods’ exemption ended since 10 years had passed from his final US Open and major championship win to date in 2008 at Torrey Pines.
However, since Woods landed in the Tour Championship by finishing inside the top 30 in the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup playoffs, Woods is assured a spot in the 2019 US Open at Pebble Beach next June. That’s because one of the perks of getting into the Tour Championship is being assured a spot in the Masters, US Open and British Open Championship the next year. That means Woods and the other 29 players who arrive to East Lake will be in three of four majors next year without worry.
This is huge news for players who don’t have major starts sewn up, particularly those who aren’t expecting to be in the year-end top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking. For Woods, this just makes formal what we all knew: There was no way Tiger Woods wasn’t going to be in the 2019 US Open at Pebble Beach, come hell, high water or special exemption from the USGA.
Woods could have qualified for the US Open through other means, including being in the top 60 in the World Ranking by late May next year. Woods is now 21st in the ranking, so he would get in that way.
This all means Tiger Woods’ exemption status for the majors is set in 2019. Woods is exempt into the Masters and PGA Championship for life because of his previous win(s) in those championship. Woods is exempt until he’s 60 into the British Open Championship. Now we know he’ll be at Pebble Beach, looking for something more like his 2000 performance there than his heartbreaking 2010 close call.