It's easier to...Get into HarvardHarvard University may be one of the most prestigious schools in the world, and the most selective of all the Ivies, but its exclusivity pales in comparison to the U.S. Open. Harvard admitted 5.9 percent of its applicants in 2014, making it about six times more likely for a Harvard applicant to get into the school than a U.S. Open applicant getting into the U.S. Open.
Win the Cy Young AwardAssuming you've made your way into a starting rotation for an MLB team (easier said than done, we admit), your chances of winning baseball's most prestigious pitching award are marginally better than competing at Pinehurst. With 30 MLB teams each boasting five-man rotations (the award is almost always won by a starter), and two Cy Youngs available each year (one for the American League and one for the National), each pitcher has a roughly 1.3 percent chance of winning the award.
Win the Triple CrownTriple Crown winners don't come along very often: there hasn't been one since 1979, and there have only been 11 in the past 94 years. But even their odds are far more favorable than those grinding through qualifying. Before his win at the Kentucky Derby in May, bookmakers at William Hill gave California Chrome 7/1 odds (equal to a little more than 12 percent) of winning the Triple Crown.
To make more than $394,000The top one percent of Americans have an average pretax income of $394,000, according to the IRS. As already noted, an applicant's chances of making it to the 2014 U.S. Open are 0.81 percent. So, it's more likely that a randomly selected American makes more than $394,000 than a randomly selected U.S. Open applicant plays in the Open.
Go to prisonWith about 10 million people filtering in and out of correctional facilities every year, the U.S. locks up a higher percentage of its population than any other country. According to a report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1 in 32 Americans are either in prison, in jail or on parole, compared to the less than 1 in 100 applicants who qualify for the U.S. Open.
Break out of prisonContinuing on the prison theme: Exact numbers aren't always easy to come by, but it looks that for most of recent history, prisoners have had a slightly better chance of breaking free than golfers have of qualifying for the U.S. Open, especially in state prisons. The numbers have since declined, but in 1993 almost two percent -- or 14,305 out of 780,357 -- of state prisoners escaped.
Be a psychopathYup, it looks as though it's more likely to be born a psychopath than to qualify for the U.S. Open. A psychopath is described as someone having little or no empathy for others or feelings of remorse. A number of high-profile experts are on record saying that a little more than one in 100 people are born psychopaths, with many finding their way into corporate boardrooms, courtrooms, and other similar positions.
That you'll have twinsIt's possible to shift your odds slightly one way or the other, but in the United States multiple births occur in about 3 percent of all pregnancies, making it almost four times more likely to happen to someone than qualifying for the year's second major.
Be color blindA stat that perhaps goes unnoticed by most, but roughly 7 percent of males in the U.S. are red-green color blind, making it more than seven times more likely to happen than qualifying for the U.S. Open. And not even golfers are immune: Jack Nicklaus has been red-green color blind his whole life. He once recalled looking at the leader board during his final round of the 1963 Masters -- a tournament he would go on to win -- and not being able to distinguish the under-par red numbers from the over-par green. "How many of those numbers are red?" Nicklaus asked his caddie. "Just you, boss," he responded.
That you're someone who showers less than once a weekBelieve it or not, about one in 100 people in the United States shower less than once a week. It's a good thing (for our noses) those odds aren't any higher, but they're still better than the 1 in 125 applicants who qualify for the U.S. Open.
Get audited by the IRSThe percentage of people who get audited by the IRS increases along with the income bracket, but overall 1 percent of the more than 143 million total tax returns filed get audited. That makes it about 0.25 percent more likely to happen than teeing it up at Pinehurst.
Get elected PopeJorge Mario Bergoglio officially became Pope Frances on March 13, 2013, under circumstances not much tougher then qualifying for the U.S. Open. With only one Pope slot to fill and with 115 electors in the conclave, each cardinal had a .86 percent chance of being elected Pope, making it .05 percent more likely than each applicant's chance of playing at the Open.
Have the earth destroyed by a supernovaBad news. Over the ten next billion years, the earth has a one percent chance of being destroyed by an explosion in space (a supernova), according to some experts. That's about a quarter of a percentage point higher than qualifying for the U.S. Open this year.