The USGA and World Golf Tour by Topgolf have announced their 2022 lineup for the USGA eSports Grand Slam Presented by Lexus, which offers competitors an opportunity to compete for a variety of prizes, including a grand prize VIP trip to the 2023 U.S. Open Championship at The Los Angeles (Calif.) Country Club.
With the support of Lexus, the USGA and WGT will host four events on WGT platforms throughout the year. The eSports Grand Slam includes the Merion Open, the Virtual U.S. Open and two match-play challenges contested virtually at recent U.S. Open venues Chambers Bay and Erin Hills. All four of the 2022 Grand Slam series events will include courses that are hosting USGA championships this year.
Merion Golf Club, the site of this year’s Curtis Cup Match from June 10-12, is the host venue for the first event in the eSports Grand Slam, the Merion Open. Contestants can play unlimited qualifying rounds of 18-hole stroke play from now through April 7. The top 10 scorers from the qualifier will advance to a live-streamed, 18-hole stroke play championship event on April 23. Located in the Philadelphia suburb of Ardmore, Pa., Merion has hosted a USGA-record 18 championships and five U.S. Opens, most recently the 2013 U.S. Open won by Justin Rose for his first major title.
The Virtual U.S. Open will begin qualifying on May 30, with the championship round being livestreamed across popular streaming platforms on July 9. The configuration of holes for the 14th Virtual U.S. Open will be played on a composite of the best holes from historic U.S. Open venues.
The series concludes with two match-play events: the Match Play Challenge at Chambers Bay and the Match Play Challenge at Erin Hills. Qualifying for the Chambers Bay event will run from July 25-Aug. 26, with the semifinals and final being contested in a live-streamed event on Sept. 10. Qualifying for the Erin Hills event takes place Oct. 24-Nov. 27, with the semifinals and final being streamed live on Dec. 10.
WGT players will compete in a bracket-style match play format for the two Match Play Challenges, 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 four-player live finale.
Chambers Bay and Erin Hills are familiar to USGA fans, as Jordan Spieth won the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay and Brooks Koepka became a household name by winning the 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills for his first major. Each course will host its fourth USGA championship this year, with the U.S. Women’s Amateur at Chambers Bay from Aug. 8-14, and the U.S. Mid-Amateur at Erin Hills from Sept. 10-15.
The 2022 USGA eSports Grand Slam schedule is as follows:
- Event #1 – Merion Open: April 23
- Qualifying Rounds: March 15-April 7
- Event #2 – Virtual U.S. Open: July 9 (Composite Best of U.S. Open Course)
- Qualifying Rounds: May 16-June 30
- Event #3 – Match Play Challenge at Chambers Bay: Sept. 10
- Qualifying Rounds: July 25-Aug. 26
- Event #4 – Match Play Challenge at Erin Hills: Dec. 10
- Qualifying Rounds: Oct. 24-Nov. 27
The grand prize for the Virtual U.S. Open includes an exclusive Lexus VIP Experience at the 2023 U.S. Open, custom-engraved Virtual U.S. Open Trophy, $500 prepaid gift card, $500 USGAshop eGift Card and a prize pack. Second- through 10th-place finishers will receive prizes including a variety of prepaid gift cards. The first-place prize for the Merion Open and two Match Play Challenges will include a $500 prepaid gift card, $500 USGAshop eGift Card, custom-engraved trophy and a prize pack. Top finishers in the Merion Open (second-fifth place) and Match Play Challenges (runner-up and semifinalists) will also receive prepaid gift cards, USGAshop cards and prize packs. In total, Lexus will award $10,000 in prizes this year.
All four championship events will be streamed live on the USGA YouTube, Twitch and Twitter channels. In 2021, the USGA Match Play Challenge livestream received 317,000 views, with more than 2.5 million total minutes watched. The 2021 Virtual Open accepted 128,830 player entries, with more than 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/.