w international qualifying series featuring the Emirates Australian Open is being introduced for The Open Championship which takes place at Royal Liverpool (Hoylake) from 13-20 July, 2014.
The Open Qualifying Series will comprise 14 events in nine countries on five continents and will offer players the opportunity to qualify for golf’s oldest Major Championship at prestigious events on the PGA Tour, the European Tour, the PGA Tour of Australasia, the Japan Golf Tour and the Sunshine Tour.
The Qualifying Series will commence with the Emirates Australian Open which runs from 28 November – 1 December, 2013.
Nine qualifying places will be available on both the PGA and European Tours. Players will be able to qualify on the PGA Tour at each of the AT&T National, The Greenbrier Classic and the John Deere Classic*. In Europe, players will be able to qualify at the Irish Open, the Alstom Open de France and the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open prior to The Open.
Qualifying places will also be available at the Mizuno Open on the Japan Golf Tour, The Open Qualifying Series – Thailand and the Joburg Open in South Africa.
Peter Dawson, the Chief Executive of The R&A, said, “This is a significant change to the qualifying process for The Open and one which will make the Championship as open as possible to players from around the world.
“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. 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.
“We are very much looking forward to The Open 2014 Qualifying Series getting underway next month in Australia.”
Golf Australia Chief Executive Officer Stephen Pitt said the announcement was a terrific development for one of the most respected championships in the Asia-Pacific region.
“Naturally we are delighted that the Emirates Australian Open has been chosen as the host championship for the The Open Qualifying Series – Australia. It adds further prestige to Australia’s most coveted title and gives our competitors a wonderful opportunity to earn direct qualification into golf’s oldest Major,” Pitt said.
“Headed by Masters champion Adam Scott, it certainly adds even more excitement to this year’s championship at Royal Sydney Golf Club. Not only will the fans witness the battle for the Emirates Australian Open title but we’ll also see three players earn their places at The Open Championship at Royal Liverpool next July.”
Defending Emirates Australian Open champion Peter Senior said, “I think this is a fantastic development both for the event itself and for the PGA Tour of Australasia. It will add another dimension to the tournament, giving the guys the chance to secure places in The Open Championship.
“It is a great experience to play in The Open and to take on some of these wonderful links courses. I have played it in many times and was fortunate enough to qualify through International Final Qualifying for St Andrews in 2010. The field at Royal Sydney will know there is an added incentive for them to play well and try to secure a place in The Open at Royal Liverpool.”
Tim Finchem, the Commissioner of the PGA Tour, said, “We welcome this initiative from The R&A which will offer qualifying places at three events on the PGA Tour in the lead-up to The Open. This will give the players a clear pathway to secure their place in The Open at three prestigious events and create some added interest as players try to qualify for the world’s oldest Major Championship.”
George O'Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour, said: “Incorporating the new Qualifying Series within three of The European Tour’s strongest tournaments on three of Europe’s finest courses will ensure qualifiers of the highest quality progress through to The Open Championship in July. We are delighted to support The R&A in this change which will be warmly welcomed by The European Tour membership.”
The Open Qualifying Series will replace International Final Qualifying (IFQ) for The Open Championship which was introduced in 2004 and involved 36-hole qualifying events in Australasia, Asia, Africa, America and Europe.
Final Qualifying for The Open Championship has also been changed for 2014. Final Qualifying will continue to offer three places at each of four events in the UK but for the first time next year they will be played at four venues covering Scotland and the North-west, Central and South-coast regions of England to provide a more accessible route into The Open for competitors qualifying from the 13 Regional Qualifying events around the country. The venues are: Gailes Links, Hillside, Woburn and Royal Cinque Ports.
For more information visit TheOpen.com..