Davis Love IV and Ryan Palmer are among six players added to the U.S. Open to fill the 156-man field. The USGA set aside six spots for those who moved into the top 60 in the world ranking on Monday. Chris Wood of England stayed at No. 60 and was the only player who was not previously exempt. That meant five additional spots went to alternates from the 12 sectional qualifying sites.
The U.S. Open starts Thursday at Erin Hills. The USGA has a formula to determine from which sectional qualifying sites alternates are chosen, including strength of field at each site and how many spots it was allocated. Michael Putnam from the Columbus, Ohio, qualifier had already gotten in when Ryan Moore withdrew with a shoulder injury.
The next five were Whee Kim of South Korea (Tennessee), Gregory Bourdy of France (England), Todd Light (Springfield, Ohio), Palmer (Texas) and Love (Georgia).
Next in line was Roberto Diaz of Mexico, the first alternate from the New Jersey section. He would get into the field when or if Phil Mickelson withdraws to attend his daughter’s high school graduation in California.
Mickelson has not withdrawn and is still holding out hope that he can play, though conceding it is unlikely. The graduation ceremony at Pacific Ridge School in Carlsbad, California, where Amanda Mickelson is giving the commencement speech, is Thursday at noon Wisconsin time. Mickelson’s tee time for the opening round is 2:20 p.m.
The flight from San Diego to Wisconsin is just over three hours, so Mickelson would need a significant weather delay. And while there are thunderstorms in the forecast throughout the week at Erin Hills, Thursday is supposed to be the best day.
What helps Diaz is a change this year in USGA policy that allows alternates to play Erin Hills before they are in the field. Previously, alternates could only use the practice facilities and walk the golf course. Now, one alternate per section can play the golf course in the afternoon.
Love, who goes by “Dru,” got an early start by arriving over the weekend and playing Sunday, before U.S. Open week officially begins. He had a familiar face carrying his bag his father, Davis Love III, the former PGA champion and two-time Ryder Cup captain who played in 23 U.S. Opens.
Dru Love will be the third generation from his family to play the U.S. Open. Davis Love Jr. played six times.