Tiger Woods earns U.S. Open exemption sure to leave Talor Gooch saying WTF

The United States Golf Association (USGA) announced Thursday afternoon that Tiger Woods has accepted a special exemption to play in the 124th U.S. Open at Pinehurst.

It will be his first time playing in the U.S. Open since 2020 at Winged Foot, when he missed the cut.

Woods missed last year’s U.S. Open due to rehabbing from surgery.

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

The 3-time U.S. Open winner took home the crown in 2000, 2002 and 2008. However, he has nine USGA titles, which matches Bob Jones. Those USGA wins include three straight U.S. Junior Amateurs from 1991-1993, followed by three straight U.S. Amateurs from 1994-1996.

He also has an overall USGA matchplay record of 42-3.

This special exemption adds to what the USGA has offered him this year as Woods won the Bob Jones Award in March.

His 14th major championship came at Torrey Pines in 2008, when he won on a broken leg. It would take him 11 years to win his 15th at the 2019 Masters Tournament.

Once this news broke, golf social media fans had a hay day.

Earlier on Thursday, Talor Gooch commented that he was not attempting to qualify for the U.S. Open despite his earlier remarks on major championships and LIV Golf players being left out of them.

The timing from the USGA on this was immaculate, and the reactions are sure to garner some laughs.

Gooch has not won a major championship to qualify automatically, and he does not rank high enough on the OWGR to get a spot, either. Regardless of winning millions of dollars in the last few weeks, that does not mean he deserves a place in the U.S. Open.

If he wanted to play in the National Open, he would sign up to qualify like many of the other LIV Golf players. Yet, he has decided not to do so.

Woods is an 82-time PGA Tour winner and won the 2019 Masters, so it is not hard to understand why he received a special exemption to the event.

Savannah Leigh Richardson is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. For more golf coverage, be sure to follow us @_PlayingThrough on all major social platforms. You can also follow her on Twitter @SportsGirlSL and Instagram @savannah_leigh_sports.

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