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U.S. Open Golf 2010: Vijay Singh's Exemption Into the Tournament Is a Joke

PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL - MARCH 05:  Vijay Singh of Fiji reacts to a birdie on the 17th hole during the second round of the Honda Classic at PGA National Resort And Spa on March 5, 2010 in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
Ron FurlongAnalyst IIJune 9, 2010

Vijay Singh has been granted a last minute exemption by the USGA to be able to play in next week's U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

The reason for the exemption, as given by the USGA, is that Vijay has been battling injuries all year that have resulted in him falling to his current world ranking of 61st.

The 47-year-old Singh is healthy now, which the USGA uses as another part of their reasoning for the exemption.

This of course brings up a definite question. If he is healthy now, why couldn't he go through qualifying like everyone else?

Don't get me wrong, I love Vijay and it will be great to see him at Pebble Beach. But this exemption is a joke.

There is no reason Singh could not have qualified on his own, or at least attempted to do so.

In April, Tom Watson was offered a special exemption from the USGA to play in the U.S. Open as well, and he accepted. That exemption was different. It was given to a past champion of the U.S. Open (Singh has never won), and of course this year's Open is at the site of Watson's memorable win in 1982.

Plus, he's Tom Watson. Enough said.

Tom Lehman, who is 51, went through qualifying and made the field. Eric Compton, with his heart condition, went through qualifying and made the field.

Vijay has always been known for an extraordinary work ethic and a steady practice regime. Makes me wonder, why would he accept a free ride?

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