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Tiger accepts special exemption into US Open at Pinehurst

Tiger Woods, a 15-time major winner, has accepted a special exemption into the 124th US Open next month at Pinehurst, the US Golf Association announced on Thursday.

The 48-year-old golf legend, a three-time US Open champion, has struggled just to walk 72 holes after suffering severe leg injuries in a 2021 car crash.

But Woods has said he hopes to play once a month this year and finished 60th in last month’s Masters, finishing 72 holes in a major for the first time since his comeback from the crash at the 2022 Masters.

“The US Open, our national championship, is a truly special event for our game and one that has helped define my career,” Woods said in a statement.

“I’m honored to receive this exemption and could not be more excited for the opportunity to compete in this year’s US Open, especially at Pinehurst, a venue that means so much to the game.”

The tournament will be staged on June 13-16 at the famed North Carolina layout, where US Open titles were won by the late Payne Stewart in 1999, New Zealand’s Michael Campbell in 2005 and Germany’s Martin Kaymer in 2014.

Since 2013, Woods has finished 72 holes at the US Open only once, taking 21st in 2019 only two months after winning the Masters. He missed the cut in 2015, 2018 and 2020 and did not play in the other years.

Woods won the 2000, 2002 and 2008 US Opens and his 82 PGA Tour triumphs matches Sam Snead for the all-time record.

Woods will make his 23rd US Open appearance, playing the tournament for the first time since 2020 at Winged Foot.

“The story of the US Open could not be written without Tiger Woods,” USGA chief championships officer John Bodenhamer said.

“From his 15-stroke victory at Pebble Beach in 2000 to his inspiring win on a broken leg at Torrey Pines in 2008, this championship is simply better when Tiger is in the field and his accomplishments in the game undoubtedly made this an easy decision for our special exemption committee.”

Woods is expected to make his next major start in two weeks at Valhalla in Louisville, Kentucky, at the PGA Championship.

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