LA JOLLA, Calif. (KGTV) - The US Open is considered the most "democratic" tournament of the year in golf because anyone can play their way in.
But just because it's possible doesn't mean it's easy.
In fact, qualifying for the US Open may be one of the hardest things to do in all of sports.
"It's a grind," says Pierceson Coody, the #3 ranked amateur golfer in the world. He qualified this year for the first time.
The US Golf Association allows anyone with a 1.4 handicap or better to sign up for hundreds of qualifying tournaments throughout the spring. A golfer with a 1.4 handicap typically shoots around even par every time they play.
This year, 9,069 golfers signed up for the qualifying process. From those, only 814 advanced to one of 11 "final qualifying tournaments" in the weeks leading up to the US Open.
Golfers in those final qualifiers had to finish near the top of their tournament to earn a spot. They played 36 holes in one day, twice a typical round of golf. That tests their physical and mental abilities.
"It's just a tough day," adds Spencer Ralston, who also qualified. "You go out there, and you either got it that day, or you don't."
Only 88 golfers made the US Open field from the qualifying process. The rest of the 156-man field are either tour pros ranked in the top 65 in the World Golf Rankings or golfers who automatically qualified by winning other tournaments.
For many, just making the tournament is a dream come true.
Fabian Gomez qualified for the first time this year. At 42 years old, he's a seasoned pro with two wins on the PGA Tour. But he's never played in the US Open.
"It was the only Major that I needed to complete my grand slam," Gomez says, noting that he's played in golf's other three major tournaments. "That is something I was trying for many years."
Something many golfers try and never get. But for players with a driver and a dream, it's always a possibility, no matter how tough.