Ian Poulter hasn’t missed an Open Championship since 2001 – and he’s not planning on breaking that streak.
The LIV star, as well as Majesticks team-mate Henrik Stenson, will tee up in Hong Kong for the Asian Tour’s World City Championship, one of the 15 events announced by the R&A as part of the Open Qualifying Series in 2023.
Stenson already has his place confirmed at the 151st Open at Royal Liverpool as a former Champion Golfer, but his English friend can’t say as much.
There will be four places up for grabs at this tournament which kicks off on March 23. Poulter is yet to record a top-10 in eight regular-season events with LIV Golf.
The designated events on the Asian Tour, PGA Tour, DP World Tour, Japan Golf Tour, Sunshine Tour, and the PGA Tour of Australasia will have 34 places up for grabs for hopefuls who are by no other means exempt.
Unfortunately for Poulter, he currently has no place in the field at Hoylake after his move to LIV Golf restricted his access to Official World Golf Ranking points.
The 47-year-old, who recently admitted to eating irregularly and feeling “awful” after receiving abuse for moving to the Saudi-backed tour, is currently ranked 149th in the OWGR having fallen 60 places since making a “business decision” to leave the PGA Tour.
Last summer, Poulter was one of a number of players to be fined by the DP World Tour and suspended from a handful of events after competing on the LIV Golf schedule without an official release.
The European Ryder Cup legend still played in the Genesis Scottish Open last July after an appeal to his suspension was upheld.
The event at the Renaissance Club is the final part of the Open Qualifying Series that offers three places to players who haven’t qualified to that point.
The golf world awaits the verdict of the hearing that took place with the formerly-named European Tour at the beginning of February which could offer clues on Poulter’s future playing rights on the circuit.
“Without knowing the outcome of the hearing, I am regarding Hong Kong as my qualifier for The Open,” Poulter said in a recent interview with the Telegraph. “I don’t want to miss Hoylake, but that might prove my only chance.
“If I do not make it, people will probably say, ‘Well, that’s the end of him.’ It wouldn’t be. I’ll keep battling. I’m back to my fighting weight after all.”
If the former World No 5 can continue to appear in DP World Tour events, this could open more avenues to playing in the major tournament he finished second in 2008.
Depending on Poulter’s plans in 2023, the Open Qualifying Series event in Fanling wouldn’t be the only chance for him to play at the Wirral venue in July.
The Mizuno Open (May) and the KOLON Korea Open (June) are alternative pathways in Asia and there is also the process of Regional and Final Qualifying in the UK.
Final Qualifying takes place across four venues on July 4 where 16 hopefuls will fill spots at Burnham & Berrow, Dundonald Links, Royal Cinque Ports, and West Lancashire.
We could have a case where Poulter and a number of other big names from LIV Golf rely on Final Qualifying to pursue their dream of hoisting the Claret Jug.
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