Pebble Beach will be host to a record nineteen European Tour members in the US Open, held between June 12-18.
Paul Lawrie of Scotland is among six European Tour players who will be making their debuts over the fantastic links on the Monterrey Peninsula.
Open Champion Lawrie is joined by other first-timers Angel Cabrera of Argentina, Spain’s Sergio Garcia, Bob May of America and 1999 Ryder Cup players Jarmo Sandelin of Spain and Frenchman Jean Van de Velde.
European No.1 Colin Montgomerie, who finished third behind Kite on his US Open debut at Pebble Beach, will be back in California next month attempting to win his first major after two runner-up placings in the US Open in 1994 and 1996, losing both times to Ernie Els.
Nine past champions are among the 68 players currently exempt. As well as Nicklaus, Watson, Kite and Els, the field includes Steve Jones, Corey Pavin, Hale Irwin, Curtis Strange and Lee Janzen.
Sadly, the year 2000 will be only the seventh time that a defending champion has not attempted to defend his US Open title. Last year’s champion, Payne Stewart, was killed in a plane crash in October 1999. Prior to that, Ben Hogan did not defend in 1950 as he was recovering from injuries sustained in a road accident.
Exempt European Tour players are:
Thomas Bjorn (Denmark) Angel Cabrera (Argentina) Darren Clarke (Northern Ireland) Ernie Els (South Africa) Nick Faldo (England) Sergio Garcia (Spain) Retief Goosen (South Africa) Padraig Harrington (Ireland) Miguel Angel Jimenez (Spain) Bernhard Langer (Germany) Paul Lawrie (Scotland) Bob May (USA) Colin Montgomerie (Scotland) Greg Norman (Australia) Jose Maria Olazabal (Spain) Jesper Parnevik (Sweden) Jarmo Sandelin (Sweden) Jean Van de Velde (France) Lee Westwood (England)