Sectional Qualifying for the 2012 U.S. Open Championship
Sectional qualifying is the final stage before U.S. Open hopefuls get to the championship proper. The USGA offers 13 sectional sites – 11 in the U.S. and two overseas in Japan and England. Generally, about 750 golfers compete at the sectional qualifying level for about half of the 156 available spots in the U.S. Open.
Sectional qualifying is a grueling 36-hole one-day marathon, with only a handful of available spots at each site. Qualifying spots are determined by the field's numbers and strength. The USGA established two "tour" sites in Columbus, Ohio, and Memphis, Tenn., for members of the PGA Tour who either have just competed at The Memorial (Columbus) or are preparing to play the FedEx St. Jude Classic (Memphis).
In 2005, the USGA established two international qualifiers; one in Japan (Japan, Asia and Australasian tours) and another in England (European Tour). In its first year, Michael Campbell of New Zealand not only qualified in England, but went on to claim the U.S. Open title at Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina.