Will Phil Qualify for Winged Foot?

With the recent discussion of Phil’s incredible streak on the OWGR Top 50 coming to an end, it just occurred to me that he may not be exempt for the 2020 US Open unless he is able to get his game going between now and then. He has not won a major in the past 5 years, did not make the 2019 Tour Championship, has not won a full points tour event since Pebble, and now could slip outside the OWGR Top 60 before the May 18 & June 15 cut-offs.

I know the USGA is fairly generous with special exemptions, and will likely find a spot for Phil anyway, but is it possible he could be playing in Sectional Qualifying in 2020?

My money says this is how he gets in. I dunno, Phil just seems like the kind of guy that’s “above” qualifying.

If Ernie can get one in 2019 and 2018 (and Furyk in 2018 as well), I expect that we will be seeing Mickelson in 2020.

USGA Records: Special Exemptions


If Phil went through sectional qualifying and eventually won the US Open, it would immediately become a top 3 victory in the history of the sport. Movie studios would be throwing money at scripts before he signed his scorecard.


I know, it is highly likely they will give him the special exemption, but keep in mind that Furyk and Els are both past champions - Phil, famously, is not. Also Phil probably did not win a lot of friends at the USGA in 2018. Geoff Ogilvy seems to better fit in the usual criteria for a Special Exemption (past champion at the venue), but then again Phil really has no comparables.

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Nick Price got an exemption in 2005 - he never won the US Open, so, there’s precedent.

edit: He does have 3 majors, but, Phil has five… hard to imagine a world in which Price gets an exemption and Mickelson doesn’t.

Ernie Els is more deserving of an exemption than Phil. After the foolishness Phil pulled at Shinnecock, he should never receive a special exemption…but he of course will.


Phil and USGA is a much more contentious relationship than Ernie (2x champ).


Now I’m excited. Clearly there is precedent for someone like Phil getting one. On the other hand the powers that be definitely didn’t like his stunt at Shinnecock. I’d still have to think that economics will dictate he gets one, but it’s fun to dream that they say “ya know what??? After that fade away putter shit he can’t play”

As heard on yesterday’s SGS, Phil will be 50 as of the Senior Open. What are the chances he doesn’t qualify/get exemption for Winged Foot and fuqs everyone up at Newport CC?


Phil’s putter sweep at Shinne, was a very public middle finger to the USGA. It will be interesting to see their attitude toward him. Will they be big and gracious or small and petty?

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Phil gave the USGA the middle finger when he thought he was bigger than them and didn’t need them. Now he might need them, but honestly, they probably still need him more. If needed, he’ll get an exemption. But I wouldn’t expect to see one a few years down the road when it’s a little more honorary.

Looks like relatively few guys have gotten multiple special exemptions. Phil likely would be able to, but I doubt he’d be able to get more than two based on the guys on this list.

Of the guys with multiple exemptions, Seve was the only non-US Open champion to get them.

Just don’t see how the USGA could keep him out. He is a huge draw and with his birthday that week he could play US Open and US Senior Open in back to back weeks. They wouldnt throw away that kinda PR

Maybe they make a deal that if he is going to get a special exemption for Winged Foot, he also has to play at Newport?

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I had this exact same thought today and lean on the side of no special exemption given the love lost between the two sides over the years.

Saw the title and assumed it was for Phil (@Randy) after this past weekend’s shellacking.


I think that is the kinda backroom deal only the USGA and Phil could concoct
But it makes sense. You scratch our back and we will let you into the big show.

Any books have odds on a Phil double? Winged Foot then Newport

My conspiracy theory is USGA appears stingy with the special exemption, Phil makes a scene on social media by hinting he is scoping sectional qual sites, golf media goes nuts, USGA gives it to him at last possible moment after milking all the fake controversy.