US Open: Ernie Els given special exemption to play Pebble Beach

Ernie Els has been awarded a special exemption to play in the US Open at Pebble Beach this summer, 25 years on from winning his maiden major title.

The South African – a two-time winner of the US Open – was given the spot by the USGA for the second year running, making him the first player since Hale Irwin to receive special exemptions in consecutive years.

The four-time major champion’s previous five-year US Open exemption for winning the 2012 Open Championship expired in 2017, while Els missed the cut in last year’s appearance at Shinnecock Hills.

Els won his first major at the 1994 US Open, where he came through a three-man playoff at Oakmont, before lifting the trophy a second time at Congressional three years later.

The 49-year-old, one of 19 players to win the US Open on multiple occasions, will make his 27th consecutive US Open appearance from June 13-16 in California, having previously registered 10 top-10 finishes in the event.