California (Reuters) – American veteran Rocco Mediate earned a late entry to the U.S. Open on Sunday when he was awarded the spot reserved for the winner of the St. Jude Classic in Memphis.
British world number three Lee Westwood, who clinched the St. Jude title in a three-way playoff, had already gained a place in the field for the year’s second major and Mediate benefited as the first alternate.
A five-times PGA Tour winner and a popular figure with the fans, Mediate lost a 19-hole playoff to world number one Tiger Woods for the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines in California.
The 47-year-old American, who has struggled with back injuries over the years, has competed in 14 U.S. Opens since turning professional in 1985.
The U.S. Open, being held at Pebble Beach Golf Links for a fifth time, starts Thursday. American Lucas Glover won the title last year at Bethpage Black in New York.
(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)