Something to Shoot For – local champions now exempted into USGA national championships 

For the amateur player, the U.S. Amateur and U.S. Women’s Amateur are considered to be the most difficult of the USGA’s national championships to get in to. There are so many good young players, and so few spots available in the championships proper. And the qualifying process often feel like a one-in-a-million chance, with typically 84 local golfers playing 36 holes in a day, all competing for just two or three available spots.  

Well, starting this year, there is good news for those on their quest.   

The champions of the Washington Men’s Amateur, Washington Women’s Amateur, and PNGA Women’s Amateur will now be exempted into the U.S. Amateur and U.S. Women’s Amateur.  

Along with having their name engraved on a trophy as a state or regional amateur champion, each champion will now advance to their respective USGA national championship.  

In addition to this, the top three finishers in the 2024 Washington Men’s Amateur will be exempted into final qualifying for the 2025 U.S. Amateur. 

In 2024, the Washington Men’s Amateur will be held June 25-27 at The Links at Moses Pointe; the Washington Women’s Amateur will be held June 18-20 at Whidbey Golf Club; and the PNGA Women’s Amateur will be held July 8-12 at Tacoma Country and Golf Club.  

Each of these three championships are now deemed an official USGA Exemption Event – win it, and you’re in it.  

The USGA and WA Golf are also working with the Washington Junior Golf Association to eventually provide the same exemptions for their WJGA State champions into the U.S. Junior Amateur and U.S. Girls’ Junior.  

This has been a long time in coming, with the USGA collaborating with its Allied Golf Associations (AGAs) around the U.S. in creating fair avenues for players to compete at the highest levels.  

“To my knowledge, these kinds of exemptions have never been provided before, to the winners of our state and regional championships,” said Nate Schroeder, the director of rules and competition for both WA Golf and the Pacific Northwest Golf Association. “We’re excited about this opportunity for our players, and this will add another layer of competitive fire to our championships.”   

Brent Paladino, the USGA’s senior director of championship administration, said, “The openness and aspirational nature is a defining characteristic of USGA championships. These revisions will provide players with additional pathways to our championships through traditional qualifying, expanded exemption categories and performance in state, AGA, regional and national amateur championships.” 

One of the most significant revisions in 2024 is to the U.S. Amateur, which will move from a one-stage, 36-hole qualifying format to a two-stage qualifying format with 45 18-hole local qualifying sites and 19 18-hole final qualifying sites.  

In 2024, the U.S. Amateur will be held at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn.; the U.S. Women’s Amateur will be held at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla.; while the U.S. Junior Amateur will be held at Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.; and the Girls’ Junior will be played at El Caballero Country Club in Tarzana, Calif.  

Click here to view all USGA qualifying events being held throughout the Pacific Northwest, with those being conducted by WA Golf being highlighted.   

More information about which states conduct USGA Exemption Events can be found here