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Golf: US Open Qualifying to be Held Outside US For First Time

Qualifying for the men's U.S. Open golf championship will be held outside the United States this year for the first time ever.

The move is intended to encourage participation from a growing number of international golfers who are exempt from local first-stage qualifying, but who usually have not competed in the final stage of qualifying in the United States "because of scheduling and travel-related issues."

International qualifiers for the 2005 U.S. Open will be played outside Kobe, Japan, on May 30 and near London on June 6. Eleven sectional qualifiers in the United States will held June 6 to 7.

Last year for the first time, organizers of the British Open held four international qualifying tournaments outside of Europe to make it more convenient and less expensive for overseas-based golfers to take part.

This year's U.S. Open will be held at Pinehurst in North Carolina from June 16 to 19.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters.