Tiger accepts special exemption for U.S. Open

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Fifteen-time major champion Tiger Woods has accepted a special exemption to play in next month’s U.S. Open at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club in North Carolina, the United States Golf Association announced Thursday.

Woods, a three-time U.S. Open winner, last won the event in 2008. While he has lifetime exemptions into the Masters and PGA Championship and can play in The Open until he’s 60 as a former winner of those tournaments, Woods’ exemption into the U.S. Open ran out in 2023.

It’s the first time Woods hasn’t qualified for a major championship since the 1996 PGA Championship, when he was still an amateur.

The 124th U.S. Open will be played on Pinehurst’s Course No. 2 on June 13-16.

“The U.S. Open, our national championship, is a truly special event for our game and one that has helped define my career,” Woods said in a statement. “I’m honored to receive this exemption and could not be more excited for the opportunity to compete in this year’s U.S. Open, especially at Pinehurst, a venue that means so much to the game.”

Woods, 48, has captured nine USGA championships — three straight U.S. Junior Amateurs (1991-1993), three consecutive U.S. Amateurs (1994-96) and U.S. Opens in 2000, 2002 and 2008.

“The story of the U.S. Open could not be written without Tiger Woods,” USGA chief championships officer John Bodenhamer said in a statement. “From his 15-stroke victory at Pebble Beach in 2000 to his inspiring win on a broken leg at Torrey Pines in 2008, this championship is simply better when Tiger is in the field, and his accomplishments in the game undoubtedly made this an easy decision for our special exemption committee.”

During an interview on the “Today” show Wednesday, Woods indicated he still hopes to play in one event per month, starting with the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky, on May 16-19.

Following the U.S. Open, the Open Championship will be played at Royal Troon Golf Course in Scotland on July 18-21.

“I have basically the next three months,” Woods said. “So, I have three majors, and hopefully that will all work out.”

Last month, Woods set a Masters record with his 24th consecutive made cut, which broke the previous mark he shared with Fred Couples (1983-2007) and Gary Player (1959-1982).

Woods carded 82-77 on the weekend at Augusta National and finished last among players to make the cut at 16-over 304, his worst 72-hole total in a professional event.

Woods last competed in the U.S. Open in 2020 when he missed the cut at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York.

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