Ever wondered how players qualify for The Open? We have put together the guide detailing every way a golfer can make their way into the field
Welcome to the fascinating world of professional golf, where skill, determination, and strategy converge. As you watch the cream of golfing talent take to the greens in The Open Championship, one of the oldest and most prestigious tournaments in the sport, have you ever found yourself pondering over the journey these players have undertaken to earn their place in this elite lineup? Behind every golfer teeing off at The Open, there’s an untold tale of tireless practice, dogged perseverance, and a grueling qualification process that has tested and ultimately affirmed their place among the world’s best.
This guide has been meticulously crafted to answer your questions and satiate your curiosity about the multi-faceted qualification process for The Open Championship. We dive deep into the intricate pathways that lead a golfer to the coveted tournament, revealing a world where hard work, consistent performance, and strategic career planning are just as important as the ability to deliver that perfect swing. From understanding the significance of world rankings, the role of other major tournaments, the Open Qualifying Series, to the last-minute Regional and Final Qualifying, we illuminate every avenue that leads to The Open.
By unravelling these facets, this guide invites you into an often unseen side of professional golf – a world that extends beyond the rolling greens, beyond the hushed anticipation of a crucial putt, and beyond the triumphant lift of the Claret Jug. It invites you to appreciate the intense competition and high stakes involved in simply earning the right to compete in The Open Championship. This guide, therefore, isn’t just about understanding a process, but about appreciating the journey each golfer undertakes to grace the grand stage of The Open. Join us as we traverse this compelling journey to The Open.
Open Championship Qualifying: Exemptions
Win The Open and be 60 or under
If you have already won The Open, you are allowed to compete in the field until the age of 60.
Win The Open
The last 10 winners of The Open will be exempt to play at Royal Liverpool.
The first 10 and ties at the 2022 Open
If you came 10th or tied for 10th at The 150th Open at St Andrews in 2022, you will get a spot this year.
The top 50 in the Official World Golf Rankings
If you are ranked in the top 50 of the Official World Golf Rankings in week 21 of the OWGR calendar, you’ll be eligible for The Open.
The top 30 in the 2022 Race to Dubai Rankings
If you placed in the top 30 of the Race to Dubai Rankings of 2022, you’ll earn a place at Hoylake.
Win the BMW PGA Championship
If you have won the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in the last four years, you have a place at The Open.
The top five players on the Race to Dubai Rankings after the 2023 BMW International Open
The first five DP World Tour members or any who tied for fifth, who aren’t otherwise exempt, in the top 20 of the Race to Dubai Rankings after the BMW International Open will have a spot at The Open.
Win the US Open
Winners of the last five US Opens will have a spot at The Open in 2023.
Win the Masters
Winners of the last five Masters tournaments will have a spot at The Open in 2023.
Win the PGA Championship
Winners of the last six PGA Championships will have a spot at The Open in 2023.
Win The Players Championship
Winners of the last three Players Championships will have a spot at The Open in 2023.
The top 30 players from the 2022 FedEx Cup Points List
The top 30 players from the 2022 FedEx Cup Points List will earn a spot at The Open.
The top five PGA Tour members on the FedEx Cup Points List after the 2023 Travelers Championship
The first five PGA Tour members or any who tied for fifth, who aren’t otherwise exempt, in the top 20 of the FedEx Cup Points List after the Travelers Championship will have a spot at The Open.
Win the VISA Open de Argentina
The winner of the VISA Open de Argentina in 2022 has a place at The Open.
Win the PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit
The winner, or anyone tying first, of the PGA Tour of Australasia’s Final Order of Merit will be exempt for The Open.
Win the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit
The winner, or anyone tying first, of the Sunshine Tour’s Final Order of Merit will be exempt for The Open.
Win the Japan Open
The winner of the Japan Open in 2022 has a place at The Open.
Finish in the top two of the Japan Golf Tour money list
The first two, or anyone tying the first two, of the Japan Golf Tour’s Final Official Money List will be exempt for The Open.
Via the Japan Golf Tour money list
The first place and anyone tied for first place, not exempt in a cumulative money list taken from all official 2023 Japan Golf Tour events up to and including the 2023 Japan Golf Tour Championship.
Win the Senior Open
The winner of the 2022 Senior Open has a place at The Open.
Win the Amateur Championship
The Amateur champion of 2023 has a place at The Open.
Win the US Amateur
The US Amateur champion of 2022 has a place at The Open.
Win the European Amateur
The European Amateur champion of 2023 has a place at The Open.
Win the Mark H McCormack Medal
This medal is awarded to the player who is ranked first in the World Amateur Golf Ranking following The Amateur, the US Amateur and the European Amateur.
Win the Asia-Pacific Amateur
The Asia-Pacific champion of 2022 has a place at The Open.
Win the Latin America Amateur
The Latin America Amateur champion of 2023 has a place at The Open.
Win the Open Amateur Series
This new exemption is awarded to the player who accumulates the most points across the St Andrews Links Trophy, the Amateur Championship, and the European Amateur Championship.
The Open Qualifying Series
This series takes place across 11 events throughout the 2022/2023 season which gives players the chance to qualify for The Open:
South Africa – Joburg Open
Australia – Australian Open
USA – Arnold Palmer Invitational
Hong Kong – The World City Championship presented by the Hong Kong Golf Club
USA – Wells Fargo Championship
Japan – Mizuno Open
USA – the Memorial Tournament
Korea – KOLON Korea Open
England – Betfred British Masters
Denmark – Made in HimmerLand
Scotland – Genesis Scottish Open
In 2023, Final Qualifying For The Open will take place across four golf courses in the UK: Dundonald Links, Royal Cinque Ports, Royal Porthcawl, and West Lancashire.
The R&A announced the places for The Open through Final Qualifying have increased from 16 to 19 this year.
An additional place will be allocated to three of the four venues being used for Final Qualifying based on a strength of field calculation carried out when all competing golfers have started the first round and the actual strength of field is known.
The players will be notified of the revised allocation of places before they commence their second round.
In the thrilling world of professional golf, earning a place in The Open Championship represents a pinnacle of achievement, a testament to skill, consistency, and sheer determination. As we conclude our journey through the detailed and multifaceted qualification process for The Open, we’re reminded of the tireless effort and enduring spirit golfers invest in reaching this grand stage. Whether it’s through world rankings, performance in other significant tournaments, or surviving the grueling Open Qualifying Series, the road to The Open is a testament to the pursuit of excellence that defines this beautiful sport. So the next time you watch The Open, remember the journey these players have made to stand on that first tee – it’s a story of ambition, resilience, and golf at its best.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the qualification process for The Open Championship? Qualification for The Open Championship is a multi-step process that includes several routes. These include exemptions based on performance in specific professional tournaments, world ranking, and a series of regional and final qualification events known as The Open Qualifying Series.
2. Who is eligible to participate in the Open Qualifying Series? Professional golfers and amateur golfers with a handicap not exceeding 0.4 are eligible to participate in the Open Qualifying Series.
3. What are the performance-based exemptions for The Open Championship? There are several performance-based exemptions, including success in other major tournaments, high placements in previous Open Championships, and a high position in the world golf rankings. Specifics can change year to year and should be verified with official sources.
4. How do world rankings affect qualification for The Open Championship? A certain number of spots in The Open Championship are reserved for top-ranked golfers. The exact number can vary from year to year, but golfers with high world rankings are often able to secure a place in the tournament.
5. Can amateur players qualify for The Open Championship? Yes, amateur players can qualify for The Open Championship. They need to have a handicap not exceeding 0.4 and must succeed in the Open Qualifying Series or meet certain other performance-based criteria.
6. What are Regional and Final Qualifying events? These are tournaments held in the lead-up to The Open Championship where golfers compete for a limited number of spots in the tournament. Golfers who aren’t otherwise exempt can enter the Regional Qualifying, and successful competitors then progress to the Final Qualifying stage.
7. How has the qualification process for The Open Championship changed over the years? The qualification process for The Open Championship has evolved to reflect changes in the golfing landscape, with adjustments made to accommodate the growing number of professional tours around the world and the increasing competitiveness of professional golf. The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews (R&A) continues to revise the process as needed to ensure that the field for The Open Championship represents the best golfers from around the world.
Follow NCG on Twitter!
Could the golf ball be rolled back for everyone?