This year’s U.S. Open has received a record number of entries

Los angeles country club

The par-3 11th hole at Los Angeles Country Club.

John Mummert / USGA

The USGA has marketed its crown jewel event with three special words in recent years. You can find them in latin on the back of any U.S. coin: E Pluribus Unum. Or, in English, From Many, One

That phrasing will take on even stronger meaning this year as the word “many” has never meant…so many. A record 10,187 golfers have entered the chase for the 2023 U.S. Open at Los Angeles Country Club — 60 entries more than the previous record set in 2014 at when the championship was held at Pinehurst No. 2. According to the USGA, registrant No. 1 pressed ‘Submit’ on Feb. 22 and No. 10,187 clicked through with just 15 seconds remaining before Wednesday night’s deadline. 

All 50 states were represented, with the largest total coming from the host state of California with 1,282. A total of 109 local qualifiers will be staged, starting next week in Kingwood, Texas and Charlotte, N.C. and ending in mid-May up in Palmer, Alaska. (Here’s what local qualifying looks like up in Alaska.) Then, in late May, sectional qualifying will begin. Ten sectional qualifiers will take place in America and three held internationally, in Japan, Canada and England. 

There are currently 52 players already qualified for the U.S. Open, a number that will grow in the coming weeks as exemptions for world ranking and FedEx Cup ranking are handed out. But for the “Many” involved, it’s fair to ask: Just how hard is it to advance? 

Using last year’s figures as our sample, 530 players advanced through local qualifying from a group of 8,880. That’s a conversion rate of about 5.9%. We’ll round up to six percent. After all, this is an optimistic group. 

Then, 341 players who were exempt through locals were added to that group of 530, making 871 players competing across 11 sectional qualifying sites. Within those 341 are the likes of Korn Ferry Tour members, DP World Tour players, even PGA Tour players who are not ranked in the top 60. 

That group of 871 competed in the longest day in golf, as it is known, where sectional qualifiers play 36 holes in one day. A similarly small percentage advance from there to earn themselves a tee time in the Open. In 2022, 65 players were added to the field at Brookline, for a sectional qualifying conversion rate of 7.4%.

The numbers are sure to be slightly different this year, especially with such a large group of entries, but we can reasonably surmise that a group of about 9,700 are competing with less than a half a percent chance of advancing. But you’re saying there’s a chance! Yes we are. And we love how many people are competing for exactly that.

Sean Zak Editor

Sean Zak is a writer at GOLF Magazine and just published his first book, which follows his travels in Scotland during the most pivotal summer in the game’s history.

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