The USGA announced on Wednesday that an additional 24 golfers, including two-time U.S. Open Champion Ernie Els, have earned full exemptions into the 2012 U.S. Open Championship at The Olympic Club, San Francisco.
The exemptions were handed out to players who were in the top 60 in the Official World Golf Ranking as of May 21, bringing the total number of exempt players to 77.
Aside from Els – who will make his 20th consecutive U.S. Open appearance in California between June 14-17 – other notables to gain a place through this criteria include Paul Casey, Volvo World Matchplay champion Nicholas Colsaerts and gregarious American Rickie Fowler.
Phoenix Open champion Kyle Stanley is also exempt, as are Japanese teenage sensation Ryo Ishikawa and Spanish veteran Miguel Angel Jimenez.
The winner of this week’s BMW Championship at Wentworth also earns as exemption, as do to the top 60 in the Official World Golf Ranking on June 11.
Additional qualifiers will be held at Walton Heath, Surrey on May 28, and at 11 sites throughout America on June 4.
The 24 newly exempt golfers are as follows: Sang-Moon Bae, Thomas Bjorn, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Paul Casey, Nicolas Colsaerts, Ben Crane, Simon Dyson, Ernie Els, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño, Rickie Fowler, Anders Hansen, Ryo Ishikawa, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Zach Johnson, Robert Karlsson, K.T. Kim, Martin Laird, Francesco Molinari, Kevin Na, Carl Pettersson, Ian Poulter, Alvaro Quiros, Robert Rock and Kyle Stanley.