AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Look for an announcement soon on special exemptions to this year's U.S. Open at Pebble Beach GL.
The U.S. Golf Association executive committee meets tomorrow here to discuss the six candidates that are being considered for a berth in the 110th Open. Among the half dozen are 1982 winner Tom Watson and 1992 winner Tom Kite, both of whom won at Pebble. The executive committee and other USGA execs are on hand this week at the 74th Masters Tournament, which begins Thursday.
Watson, who nearly won the British Open last year at Turnberry at age 60, is thought to have the best chance. Mike Davis, USGA's senior director of rules and competitions, said Watson's performance at Turnberry and elsewhere recently has certainly strengthened his case.
"It's not just that he won at Pebble but what he's done elsewhere, winning on the Champions Tour and even finishing high up at Dubai (T-8), so you put all that together, and you say that he is going to get a lot of consideration," said Davis, who works this week for Augusta National GC as one of the Masters rules officials. "Typically, we don't give out that many exemptions. I know we haven't for a while [Nick Price in 2005 was the last to receive one]. It has to be a pretty compelling reason, so we'll see what is decided."