British Open organizers have overhauled the qualification process for golf’s oldest major championship to make it tougher and ease a congested golfing calendar.
The Royal & Ancient Golf Club, which governs the sport outside the U.S. and Mexico, is moving away from its 36-hole qualifying events so that players can instead secure their berths via 72-hole tournaments on the PGA Tour, the European Tour, the PGA Tour of Australasia, the Japan Golf Tour and the Sunshine Tour.
“The new Open Qualifying Series will create an exciting build-up to the Open as players bid to secure their places in the weeks leading up to the championship,” Peter Dawson, chief executive of the R&A, said on the competition’s website.
“We believe it will enhance the qualification process by giving players the opportunity to qualify at 72-hole championships as well as being more convenient in terms of their scheduling,” he added.
As many as 32 players will qualify from the 14 Open Qualifying Series tournaments, which begin with the Australian Open at the end of next month and end with the John Deere Classic next July.
A further 12 spots are available in final qualifying, held at four 36-hole events in Scotland and England.
Past champions, the top 50-ranked players in the world and the top 30 on the money list on the U.S. and European tours will be among 112 players exempt from qualification,
Next year’s Open will take place July 17-20 at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club, Hoylake.