British Open spots up for grabs in Australia under new system
(Reuters) - Three slots at next year's British Open will be up for grabs at the Australian Open in November as part of a new qualifying system for golf's oldest major championship.
The 'Open Qualifying Series', comprising 14 events on different tours around the world, will replace the previous system of staging 36-hole international qualifying tournaments.
"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," R&A Chief Executive Peter Dawson said in a statement.
Events on the U.S. PGA Tour, the European Tour, the PGA Tour of Australasia, the Japan Golf Tour and the Sunshine Tour will offer 32 spots for the July 17-20 event next year at the Royal Liverpool golf club.
The revamped qualifying series will start with the Australian Open to be held at the Royal Sydney Golf Club from November 28-December 1.
"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," added Dawson.
"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."
The 36-hole final qualifying will have 12 spots available from four events in Scotland and England prior to the Open.
"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," Tim Finchem, Commissioner of the PGA Tour, said.
"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."
(Writing by Sudipto Ganguly; Editing by Peter Rutherford)
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