U.S Open has more than 9K entries

Updated: April 27, 2012, 6:26 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Whoever wins this year's U.S. Open can do it knowing he beat out 9,005 other golfers who attempted to win the year's second major championship.

The United States Golf Association, which stages the U.S. Open, said it received the fourth highest number of entries in history, including golfers from all 50 states and 71 different countries. The highest number -- 9,086 -- came in 2009 for the event held at Bethpage State Park in New York.

Local 18-hole qualifying begins April 30-May 17 and 36-hole sectional qualifying will be May 21 in Japan, May 28 in England and June 4 at 11 sites throughout the United States.

Fifty-three golfers, including defending champion Rory McIlroy, are exempt into this year's U.S. Open that will be held at The Olympic Club's Lake Course in San Francisco, Calif. on June 14-17. That number likely will increase as the top 60 in the world rankings on both May 21 and June 11 will be able to tee it up in San Francisco. Also, winners of the Players Championship and BMW PGA Championship in England also receive exemptions.

To attempt to qualify for the U.S. Open, a golfer must have a handicap of 1.4 or lower or be a professional.