The Open: Changes announced to qualifying system for oldest major championship
The Royal & Ancient Club has announced a revamp of the way players can qualify for the Open Championship.
Last Updated: 28/10/13 4:52pm
A new 'Open Qualifying Series' of 10 worldwide tour events will instead determine 32 spots in the field, starting with the Australian Open next month.
Qualifying through regularly-scheduled tour events replaces the 36-hole qualifiers that had been run since 2004, with R&A chief executive Peter Dawson admitting the reasons for the change included giving players a more rigorous test over 72 holes during competition play.
The Australian Open will provide the first three qualifiers for Royal Liverpool (July 17-20) and another three places will be up for grabs in South Africa's Joburg Open.
In Asia, four places will be available at both the Open Qualifying Series event in Thailand and the Mizuno Open in Japan.
In Europe, three players not already eligible for the tournament will be able to qualify at the Irish, French and Scottish Opens.
More places available
And in the United States, four places will be available at the AT&T National and the Greenbrier Classic, with one more at the John Deere Classic, which takes place a week before The Open.
The only 36-hole qualifying tournaments that will remain will be held on four links courses just before The Open.
They will be held on permanent sites around Britain - Glasgow-Gailes Links in Scotland, Hillside in the north west of England, Woburn in Bedfordshire and Royal Cinque Ports in Kent where three places each will be available.
"There were not in any way problems with the qualifiers. They weren't the cheapest to stage," Dawson said.
"We just felt we weren't getting in the media the build-up in the Open. And the fact these events are on television, and there's going to be an Open qualifying leaderboard, we think it will give the Open more anticipation."