U.S. Open cancels first stage of qualifying

(Reuters) - The first stage of qualifying for this year’s U.S. Open has been canceled due to coronavirus concerns, the U.S. Golf Association (USGA) announced on Tuesday.

The championship scheduled for June 18-21 at Winged Foot in Mamaroneck, New York is still on, however, with the USGA labeling speculation as to its status as premature.

“We will continue to monitor all available guidance and regulations from (health authorities) to do what is in the best interests of our community,” it said in a statement.

The news follows the announcement last Friday that the first major of the year, the April 9-12 Masters, had been postponed.

The second major, the PGA Championship, scheduled for May 14-17 at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, is in doubt, though no announcement has been made.

More than 9,000 players usually try to qualify for the U.S. Open, with all but a few of the most elite starting with local qualifiers.

Qualifiers had been scheduled for more than 100 locations in the U.S. and one in Canada between April 27 and May 12.

The USGA said it will “look to redesign qualifying going forward as events unfold”.

The second stage, known as sectional qualifying, is still currently scheduled.

Qualifying has also been scrapped for the U.S. Women’s Open, which has only one stage due to a lower number of entries.

Qualifiers had been scheduled at more than two dozen sites in the U.S., and one each in Japan, South Korea, China and England from April 21 to May 14.

The Women’s Open is slated for June 4-7 at the Champions course in Houston.

Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Ken Ferris