Recently, the United States Golf Association announced that qualifying men’s and women’s state amateur events would earn valuable exemptions into the U.S. Men’s Amateur and U.S. Women’s Amateur. Here’s the inside scoop with SNGA Assistant Executive Director Tim Brand.
A quick overview is that the men’s Nevada State Amateur champion in 2024 will earn an exemption into the 2024 U.S. Amateur. But for the women, the current state amateur will need to be enhanced for this to occur.
“The more we can educate the players, the better chance we have,” Brand says.
In addition to the incredibly valuable exemption, there are other benefits.
U.S. Men’s Amateur
The qualifying process for the U.S. Amateur is going to change starting in 2024. It will be mirrored after the U.S. Open qualifying process where there will be two stages of qualifying. They are commonly referred to as Local qualifying and Sectional qualifying.
Also starting in 2024, the winners of State Amateur Championships will receive a full exemption into the U.S. Amateur Championship. This assumes that the State Championship is World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) recognized, which ours in Nevada is. This means that next year, whoever wins the Nevada State Amateur Championship will then receive an invitation and exemption to compete in the U.S. Amateur later that summer.
There is NO requisite on the quality of the field for men. Our State Am winner moving forward will always receive an exemption to play in the U.S. Amateur.
Some other benefits to the players as well include:
The 2024 State Amateur winner will receive an exemption to play in the 2024 U.S. Amateur. They will also receive an exemption from Local qualifying the following year in 2025 which means they will not have to go through Local Qualifying and will be exempt directly into Sectional qualifying.
Regardless of field strength, the runner-up in the 2024 NV State Amateur will also be exempt from Local Qualifying in 2025. If our field strength meets certain WAGR ranking criteria, then instead of only the runner-up receiving the exemption from Local Qualifying, it could be Top 3 or even Top 5. This will depend on our average strength of field over the next couple of years.
U.S. Women’s Amateur
This is a different story. First, the Nevada State Women’s Amateur is not WAGR eligible at the moment. Our state Women’s Amateur is only 36-Hole stroke play. In order to be WAGR eligible, the event must change to a 54-Hole stroke play competition. The Nevada State Golf Association board is in the process of discussing and hopefully implementing that change.
The change to a 54-Hole event by itself will not be enough. That is only the first step. In order for the winner to receive an exemption into the U.S. Women’s Amateur, our Women’s State Amateur will have to meet a certain strength of field criteria and ranking.
We do not know the exact requirements of that criteria yet. At this point this is very early in the process. The first step is to move the event to 54-Holes. The next step is to educate the players.