Rickie Fowler was eligible to play in every central dating to the 2010 British Open at St. Andrews, a streak that ended at the Masters when he fell out of the top 50 in the world. Jason Day could be next in line for significant spots being in jeopardy. Day missed the cut at the Masters for the second time in five months.
He has finished outside the top 30 in 12 of his last 16 tournaments, with six missed cuts and one withdrawal. The former world No. 1 has dropped to No. 58. Day has a lifetime exemption to the PGA Championship, May 20-23 at Kiawah Island, from his 2015 victory at Whistling Straits. But the five-year exemption to the other majors from that PGA win expires this year, and he is not yet eligible for the U.S.
The top 60 in the world after the PGA Championship are exempt from U.S. Open qualifying. Day currently is at No. 58. The Australian has been eligible for every major since the 2010 British Open. He did not play the Open in 2012 at Royal Lytham & St. Annes because he chose to stay home in Ohio after the birth of his first son.
Adam Scott was in a similar situation three years ago when he was outside the top 60. He made it through U.S. Open qualifying and kept his streak of being eligible for every major since the 2001 British Open.
Also on the bubble for the U.S. Open is two-time Masters champion, Bubba Watson. His major streak also dates to the 2010 Open at St. Andrews. Along with the cutoff for the top 60 after the PGA Championship, there will be another cut-off on June 7 after the Memorial and the Porsche European Open on the European Tour.
After that, the only way in is through qualifying, except in Europe. Because of the pandemic, the U.S. Open is swapping out a 36-hole qualifier in England with an impressive money list of three tournaments through the European Open. And then there’s the case of Phil Mickelson, six times a runner-up at the only major he has never won. Mickelson had said last year before the pandemic, he would not ask for a special exemption. With qualifying scrapped in the previous year, the USGA expanded the world ranking qualification to include the top 70, and Mickelson made it to Winged Foot. The five-time major champion currently is No. 112.