There are 3,001 entrants accepted for the 42nd US Senior Open, which is June 23-26 at Saucon Valley Country Club’s Old Course.
All but the 77 exempt players must advance through 18-hole qualifiers next month at 33 sites in 25 states, including Pennsylvania. Doylestown Country Club (May 19) and Indiana Country Club (May 18) are the in-state qualifying sites.
There are 10 previous US Senior Open champions among those exempt, including defending champion and Pennsylvania native Jim Furyk who became the eighth player to win the US Open and US Senior Open with a three-shot victory in 2021 at Omaha Country Club.
Other exempt past champs are: Olin Browne (2011), Roger Chapman (2012), Fred Funk (2009), Bernhard Langer (2010), Jeff Maggert (2015), Colin Montgomerie (2014), Gene Sauers (2016), Steve Stricker (2019) and David Toms (2018).
“The USGA is pleased to bring senior golf’s most prestigious championship to the Saucon Valley Country Club and the Lehigh Valley for a third time,” said John Bodenhamer, chief championships officer for the USGA.
“It is gratifying to see the worldwide interest that thousands of golfers have in competing for both a place in the championship field and ultimately earning the Francis D. Ouimet Memorial Trophy as champion.”
This year’s entries come from 49 states, including 116 from Pennsylvania, plus the District of Columbia and 40 other countries. It is also the third-highest in championship history (3,101 in 2002; 3,007 in 2000).
In addition to qualifying rounds, the 156-player field will include eligible winners of official PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions events in the weeks leading up to the 2022 US Senior Open.
There are five US Open champions among the 77 exempt players: two-time champions Ernie Els (1994, 1997), Retief Goosen (2001, 2004) and Lee Janzen (1993, 1998) plus Michael Campbell (2005) and Furyk (2003) .
Nine US Open runners-up are also entered: David Duval (2009), Els (2000), Furyk (2006-07, 2016), Miguel Angel Jimenez (2000), Tom Lehman (1996), Davis Love III (1996), Rocco Mediate (2008), Montgomerie (1994, 1997, 2006) and Jeff Sluman (1992).
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Major champions are among the group of exempt players, including Masters winners Fred Couples, Langer, Mark O’Meara, Vijay Singh and Mike Weir; PGA champions Padraig Harrington, Love III, Singh, Sluman, Toms and YE Yang; and Open Championship champs Mark Calcavecchia, Darren Clarke, Duval, Els, Harrington, Lehman and O’Meara.
Phil Mickelson is noticeably absent from the list of exempt players. He has not played competitively since his controversial comments about the PGA Tour.
Steve Loy, his agent, released a statement recently that said the six-time major champion is entered in the PGA Championship (May 19-22) and the US Open, which is at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass. the week before the US Senior Open.
Saucon Valley Country Club will be the first course to host the US Senior Open Championship three times. The club previously hosted in 1992 when Larry Laoretti posted a four-stroke victory over Jim Colbert and in 2000 when five-time USGA champion Hale Irwin defeated Bruce Fleisher by three strokes for the second of his two Senior Open titles.
More information about the US Senior Open before, during and after the 2022 championship at Saucon Valley Country Club can be found at ussenioropen.com.
Other fully exempt golfers: Stephen Alker, a-Gene Elliott, Robert Allenby, a-William Mitchell, Stephen Ames, Bob Estes, Mauricio Molina, Stuart Appleby, Steve Flesch, Woody Austin, Peter Baker, Rod Pampling, Doug Barron, Brian Gay , Scott Parel, Cameron Beckman, Tom Pernice Jr., Shane Bertsch, Paul Goydos, Tim Petrovic, John Bickerton, a-Jerry Gunthorpe, Philip Price, Markus Brier, Jay Haas, Dicky Pride, Paul Broadhurst, Joakim Haeggman, Brett Quigley, Tom Byrum, Thongchai Jaidee, Wes Short Jr., Alex Cejka, Brandt Jobe, Robert Karlsson, Kevin Sutherland, KJ Choi, Jerry Kelly, Naoyuki Tamura, Darren Clarke, James Kingston, Ken Tanigawa, Glen Day, Kirk Triplett, Chris DiMarco, Thomas Levet, Scott Verplank, Stephen Dodd, Joe Durant and Scott McCarron (amateur).
Morning Call reporter Tom Housenick can be reached at 610-820-6651 or at email@example.com