One of the distinctive charms of the U.S. Open will be missing from this year's postponed championship, as local and sectional qualifying for the event has been canceled. The United States Golf Association announced the decision Monday and said that staging the numerous events around the country, with three sectionals held outside of the United States, proved to be too difficult amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Typically more than half the field makes its way into the tournament via sectional qualifiers held approximately a week before the U.S. Open. Those 36-hole events, with club pros, amateurs, mini-tour players, and nonexempt tour pros, are part of what makes the tournament truly "Open.'' Criteria for an all-exempt field is still to be determined.

"As you can imagine, this was an incredibly difficult decision, as qualifying is a cornerstone of the USGA championships,'' said John Bodenhamer, senior managing director of championships. "We take great pride in the fact that many thousands typically enter to pursue their dream of qualifying for the U.S. Open, and we deeply regret that they will not have that opportunity this year. But this structure provides the best path forward for us to conduct the U.S. Open in 2020.''

Originally scheduled for June 18-21, the tournament has been postponed until Sept. 17-20 at Winged Foot in Mamaroneck, New York. The association said it is planning to go ahead with spectators but is prepared to play without them.

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