Tiger Woods, the iconic 15-time major winner, has been granted a special exemption to participate in the 124th US Open, scheduled to be held next month at Pinehurst, as announced by the US Golf Association on Thursday. This decision comes as a significant nod to Woods’ illustrious career and his impact on the sport, despite recent challenges including severe leg injuries from a 2021 car crash.

Now 48, Woods, a three-time US Open champion, has faced difficulties in managing the physical demands of the sport, particularly walking 72 holes—a challenge he met at last month’s Masters where he finished 60th. This marked the first time he completed 72 holes in a major since his car accident, signaling a positive turn in his recovery. Reflecting on his participation, Woods expressed his reverence for the tournament, “The US Open, our national championship, is a truly special event for our game and one that has helped define my career,” he said.

Woods is looking forward to the competition, especially given the historical significance of Pinehurst in the realm of golf. “I’m honored 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 stated.

The prestigious Pinehurst course has been the battleground for several memorable US Open tournaments, with victories by Payne Stewart in 1999, Michael Campbell in 2005, and Martin Kaymer in 2014. Woods himself has a storied history with the US Open, having clinched the title in 2000, 2002, and 2008, and holds a record-tying 82 PGA Tour wins along with Sam Snead.

Despite his triumphant past, Woods’ recent appearances at the US Open have been sparse due to injuries and recovery efforts. He has only finished 72 holes once since 2013, taking 21st in 2019 just months after a dramatic Masters victory. His last participation was at Winged Foot in 2020, where he did not make the cut.

John Bodenhamer, USGA chief championships officer, highlighted Woods’ integral role in the history of the US Open. “The story of the US Open could not be written without Tiger Woods,” he remarked. “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.”

As Woods prepares for his 23rd US Open appearance, the golf world eagerly anticipates his next major start at the PGA Championship at Valhalla in Louisville, Kentucky, in just two weeks.



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