There will be a little something extra to play for when the European Tour resumes in July

Perhaps the USGA saw the kerfuffle that followed the decision to restart the world rankings alongside the PGA Tour and wanted none of that bad press. Perhaps they were concerned the US Open could quite easily become Just Another PGA Tour Event. Perhaps the US Open has always been about finding the most diverse field it possibly can, rivalled only by its British counterpart.

After local and final qualifying events were cancelled for the rescheduled US Open, which will now be held from September 17-20 over Winged Foot’s West Course, the USGA have confirmed the qualifying criteria – and it’s great news for the European Tour players who decided not to head across the Atlantic earlier this month.

Points will be accumulated for the first five events of the so-called UK Swing, a six-tournament run starting with the British Masters at Close House in July. The top 10 in the mini Order of Merit after the Wales Open at Celtic Manor will earn exemption to what will be the second major of the season.

The field will include the top 70 in the world rankings, up from the usual 60, as of March 15 this year, which is good news for, most notably, Phil Mickelson, as well as, from a European perspective, Eddie Pepperell and Robert MacIntyre.

Additional spots will be drawn from the remainder of the PGA Tour and Korn Ferry Tour seasons, as well as the 2019 standings for the Japan, Sunshine, Asian and Australasia Tours.

As for the amateurs, of which there have been an average of 15 in the last five US Opens, the top seven in the amateur world ranking otherwise not exempt as of August 19 will be added to the six amateurs already qualified.

Exemptions for finishes in recent US Amateur, US Mid-Amateur, US Junior Amateur and US Senior Open remain unchanged, as will exemptions for the most recent winners of the other three majors, the Players, and BMW PGA Championship.

Any remaining spots will be filled using the world ranking as of August 23.

Suddenly, with all the chat of the PGA Championship featuring a grossly weakened field, it’s all starting to feel rather exciting.

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