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Tiger Woods to play US Open at Pinehurst after being given special exemption by USGA to feature



Tiger Woods has accepted a special exemption to play the 124th US Open Championship, the United States Golf Association (USGA) have announced.

Woods had failed to qualify for the US Open for the first time in his professional career, having played a limited schedule in recent years due to injury.

The former world No 1’s five-year exemption for his dramatic 2019 victory at The Masters ended earlier this year, with the US Open differing from the other majors in that it only brings a 10-year exemption to its former winners.

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Woods has won the US Open on three occasions, in 2000, 2002 and 2008, with the 48-year-old set to return to the event for the first time since 2020 when it takes place from June 13-16 at Pinehurst No. 2 – live on Sky Sports.

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

Woods was unable to play the last time the US Open was held at the Pinehurst Resort in 2014 as he was recovering from back surgery, but finished second to Michael Campbell at the course in 2005, with this year’s event set to be his 23rd career start at the third major of the year.

“The story of the U.S. Open could not be written without Tiger Woods,” said USGA Chief Championships Officer John Bodenhamer.

“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.”

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The Wednesday of US Open week will also see Woods receive the Bob Jones Award, the highest honour from the USGA that recognizes his commitment to sportsmanship and respect for golf’s traditions.

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Woods remains focused on playing a full major season after struggling through the weekend to complete all four rounds at The Masters, the first time he has completed 72 holes in a major in two years.

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He impressed to make a record 24th consecutive cut at Augusta National, posting scores of 73 and 72, before carding the worst round of his major career as a professional with a 10-over 82 on Saturday before a final-round 77 left him last of those who made the cut.

He set himself a ‘tournament a month’ target for 2024 and is likely to next feature at the PGA Championship from May 16-19 at Valhalla, the venue where Woods lifted the Wanamaker Trophy in 2000 as part of the ‘Tiger Slam’.

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Woods can also compete at The Open until he is 60 and will be aiming to feature at Royal Troon from July 18-21. Any appearances outside of the majors would appear unlikely, given he has only made seven official starts in the past three and a half years.

“I’m going to do my homework going forward at Pinehurst, Valhalla and Troon, but that’s kind of the game plan,” Woods said after his appearance at The Masters.

Watch the PGA Championship from May 16-19 and the US Open from June 13-16 exclusively live on Sky Sports!

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