The USGA is eliminating one of its largest exemptions for the US Women's Open in favor of one that could mean more international depth.
Starting in 2020, the U.S. Women’s Open is ending exemptions based on the LPGA and other major women's tours' season-ending money lists. Through 2019, the USGA will offer exemptions to the top 75 players in the season-ending LPGA money list, as well top five earners on the LET, Korean LPGA, Japanese LPGA, and the top three earners on the Chinese LPGA Tours.
Instead, beginning next year, the top 75 players in the Rolex Women's Golf Rankings at two different mileposts -- at the close of entries and the Monday of U.S. Women’s Open week -- will be fully exempt for the championship. Currently, the USGA exempts the top 50 players in the Rolex Rankings.
This decision follows changes to the U.S. Open exemption criteria in 2012, getting away from rewarding the top earners on the PGA Tour and European Tour money lists in favor of inviting the top 60 in the Official World Golf Ranking at two different points before the Open.
Now the USGA feels confident the Rolex Rankings, born in 2006 (20 years after the Official World Golf Ranking debuted), is mature enough to properly reflect the best women's players in the world.
“With the Rolex Women’s Golf Rankings in its infancy, the association held off making similar changes to the Women’s Open,” the USGA said Thursday on its website.
Also akin to changes for the U.S. Open in the 2010s, the USGA will begin in 2020 to exempt the top 30 finishers in the final Race to the CME Globe points list. The USGA does the same for the top 30 in the final FedEx Cup standings for the U.S. Open.
The net result will mean slightly fewer exemptions to the championship and a modest increase to spots available through 36-hole qualifying.