The R&A has announced an international qualifying series as a new route of entry into the world's leading golf tours and will be introduced for The Open Championship taking place at Royal Liverpool (Hoylake) from 13-20 of July, 2014.
The Open Qualifying Series, which will commence on 28 November this year, will cover 14 events in nine countries across five continents and provide more opportunities for players to feature in golf's oldest Major Championship on the PGA Tour, the European Tour, the PGA Tour of Australasia, the Japan Golf Tour and the Sunshine Tour.
The new format, which will put nine qualifying places up for grabs on the PGA and European Tours, will benefit players across the world.
Peter Dawson, the Chief Executive of The R&A, said in a press release to GiveMeSport:
“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.”
Padraig Harrington, who has won The Open on two occasions, believes the change will also attract a higher number of top-quality entrants to tournaments across the European Tour.
“I really do think it will attract more players to the Irish Open, especially those who are not already exempt for The Open Championship, and some quality players will be in that category," he explained.
"The Scottish Open and the French Open are also going to be involved which will also make those events stronger, whilst ensuring that The Open will have the strongest possible field. It’s a nice boost for the European Tour from The R&A.”
The Open Qualifying Series will be deployed in place of the International Final Qualifying (IFQ) for The Open Championship which was implemented in 2004 and involved 36-hole qualifying events in Australasia, Asia, Africa, America and Europe.
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