Qualifying begins April 1 for new Virtual Open at The Olympic Club
(LIBERTY CORNER, N.J.) – The USGA and World Golf Tour (WGT) by Topgolf have launched the USGA eSports Grand Slam Presented by Lexus, a series of four live eSports championships offering contestants an opportunity to compete for a variety of prizes, including a grand prize VIP trip to the 2022 U.S. Open Championship at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass.
Through the support of Lexus, the USGA and WGT will host four events on WGT platforms throughout the year for the first time ever. The eSports Grand Slam will include the Virtual U.S. Open and Match Play Challenge, both of which have been held in previous years, and will introduce the Virtual Open at The Olympic Club and the Grand Slam Series Finale.
The USGA eSports Grand Slam leads off with the Virtual Open at The Olympic Club. Contestants can play unlimited qualifying rounds of 18-hole stroke play from now through April 30. The top 10 scorers from the qualifier will advance to a livestreamed, 18-hole stroke play championship event on Monday, June 7.
“We are thrilled to launch the USGA eSports Grand Slam presented by Lexus, particularly since our fans have been clamoring for more ways to engage with our championships,” said Navin Singh, chief commercial officer of the USGA. “The increased number of events and renowned courses that will be featured this season is a reflection of our shared commitment to providing fans the unique experience of competing online on the same golf courses that will host our championships.”
The series offers fans a chance to compete on four iconic USGA championship venues, three of which are hosting a USGA championship in 2021.
The Olympic Club, the site of the 76th U.S. Women’s Open Championship from June 3-6, is the host venue for the first event in the eSports Grand Slam. Located in the southwestern corner of San Francisco, Calif., The Olympic Club’s Lake Course has hosted five U.S. Opens and three U.S. Amateur championships. It is hosting its first U.S. Women’s Open.
The South Course at Torrey Pines Golf Course, in San Diego, Calif., is the host of this year’s Virtual U.S. Open, with qualifying to take place in May and June leading to a live championship event on Saturday, July 17. Torrey Pines will host its second U.S. Open from June 17-20, having hosted Tiger Woods’ unforgettable Monday playoff victory over Rocco Mediate in 2008.
Oakmont Country Club is the venue of the Match Play Challenge at Oakmont, the third event in the USGA eSports Grand Slam. Oakmont’s illustrious USGA history features 16 past USGA championships, including nine U.S. Opens and two U.S. Women’s Opens. The Pennsylvania club will host the 121st U.S. Amateur Championship on Aug. 9-15.
WGT players will compete in a bracket-style match play format for the Match Play Challenge at Oakmont following the stroke-play qualifying round. The top 64 finishers from the qualifier will be placed in four 16-player brackets, where competitors will square off in head-to-head rounds. The winner from each bracket will earn a spot in the 4-player live finale on Saturday, Sept. 18.
The 2021 USGA eSports Grand Slam schedule is as follows:
Event #1 – Virtual Open at The Olympic Club: Monday, June 7
Qualifying Rounds: April 1-30
Event #2 – Virtual U.S. Open: Saturday, July 17 (Torrey Pines)
Qualifying Rounds: May 1-June 30
Event #3 – Match Play Challenge at Oakmont: Saturday, Sept. 18
Qualifying Rounds: Aug. 9-Sept. 5
Event #4 – Grand Slam Series Finale: Saturday, Dec. 11 (Pinehurst)
Qualifying Rounds: Oct. 25-Nov. 22
The Grand Slam Series Finale will be played on Course No. 2 at Pinehurst Resort and Country Club. Best known for undulating, crowned greens, Pinehurst No. 2 has witnessed some of the most memorable moments in USGA history, hosting three U.S. Opens, two U.S. Amateurs and one U.S. Women’s Open. In 2014, it became the first course to host the U.S. Open and U.S. Women's Open Championships in consecutive weeks.
The Grand Slam Series Finale will consist of the same format as the Match Play Challenge at Oakmont following the 18-hole stroke play qualifying round. The live 4-player championship event will feature two semifinal matches and championship match with the winner to receive a VIP trip to the 2022 U.S. Open at The Country Club at Brookline.
The first-place prize for each of the four events includes a $1,000 prepaid gift card, $500 USGA Shop card, an engraved championship trophy and a custom cornhole set. The runner-up in all four events will receive a custom cornhole set as well, along with a $500 prepaid gift card and $250 USGA Shop card. Third- and fourth-place finishers will also receive prepaid gift cards and USGA Shop cards.
All four championship events will be streamed live on the USGA YouTube, Twitch and Twitter channels. In 2020, the USGA Match Play Challenge livestream received 317,000 views, with more than 2.5 million total minutes watched. The 2020 Virtual Open accepted 128,830 player entries totaling over 790,000 rounds played.
All USGA eSports Grand Slam events are free to enter. Download the WGT Golf app on iOS, Android or Amazon devices, or play the desktop version, all available free at https://m.wgt.com/.