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The Loop

Amateurs get more USGA exemptions

February 04, 2012

__HOUSTON--__The USGA has rectified an incongruity for the past several years in which the U.S. Amateur champion has been fully exempted into the field at the British Open but the British Amateur champ had not gotten a reciprocal invite into America's national championship.

The USGA Executive Committee has unanimously approved, beginning this year, the addition of an exemption for not only the British Amateur champion into the U.S. Open but the winner of the Ladies British Open Amateur into the U.S. Women's Open. Australia's__Bryden Macpherson__, a junior at Georgia, and England's__Lauren Taylor__ will be the first to take advantage of the change this summer at The Olympic Club and Blackwolf Run, respectively.

Additionally, the USGA also announced it would issue annual exemptions into the men's and women's Opens to the winner of the Mark H. McCormack Medal, which recognizes the top-ranked amateur on the World Amateur Golf Ranking at the conclusion of the summer amateur season. The R&A had made public a similar exemption into the British Open earlier this year. The 2011 recipients of the McCormack Medal were Patrick Cantlay , who was previously exempt into the U.S. Open for his runner-up finish at the U.S. Amateur, and Lydia Ko., the 14-year-old New Zealander who recently won the New South Wales Open.

"These exemptions demonstrate our strong partnership with the R&A, our value placed on amateur golf and of course our support of the World Amateur Golf Rankings," said Tom O'Toole, the chairman of the USGA Championship Committee, during a press conference at the USGA Annual Meeting.

Changes to exemption criteria in the USGA's other amateur championships were also announced. The top 75 point leaders on the World Amateur Golf Ranking and anyone tied for 75th at the close of entries will received an exemption into the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship, and increase from the top 50 that was initiated in 2011. (The U.S. Amateur will continued to exempt only the top 50 from the WAGR.)

For the U.S. Junior and U.S. Mid-Amateur, those in the top 400 on the WAGR at the close of entries will be exempt in 2012, and while those in the top 500 will be given open entry into the USGA Senior Amateur.

On the women's side, the USGA approved the use of the women's WAGR to create exemption categories into the women's amateur championships. The top 25 on the women's WAGR will be exempt into the U.S. Women's Amateur, the top 50 into the Women's Amateur Public Links, the top 75 into the U.S. Girls' Junior and the top 500 into the Mid-Amateur and Senior Amateur.