Not that it will do much good, but with six spots still open in the US Open field for next week and only one more golfer likely to actually qualify via the top-50 list in the world rankings, it is not too late for the USGA to extend a last-minute special exemption to Tom Lehman. Back on May 17, the best golf writer in the country, Tom Boswell, made the case (with a little prompt from me). Now a new story is out reminding people of Lehman’s history at Congressional, where the Open is being played this year. This new article and Boswell’s actually understate Lehman’s role in the Open: Not only is he one of only two men ever to enter the Open’s final round either holding or sharing the lead for three consecutive years, but he is the only man ever to enter the final round in the final pairing (i.e. either in first or second place) for FOUR consecutive years, because he did it again the next year as well before fading to 6th place.
He is the only man still active who is all of the following: A four-time top contender at the US Open, a two-time-in-a-row top contender at the Masters, a British Open champion, the world’s top-ranked player after Tiger joined the Tour, a former Ryder Cup captain, the leading player on the senior tour this year with three victories, a winner of two of the past five senior major titles, and somebody who led a regular tour event earlier this year and finished in the top 15 in another one.
The USGA should invite Lehman to play — both for old times’ sake, and because he remains seriously competitive today.