Golfnutter: Open qualifying quirks

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Just prior to this column being submitted, the Open de France will be drawing to a close.  The French Open’s leading three players in the top 12, who are not already exempt, will qualify for the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool, starting Thursday next.

At the same time across the Atlantic, at the Greenbrier Classic in West Virginia, the leading four players in the top 12, not already exempt, will also qualify.

Iwata, Pan, Wu and Tsukada – Amata Spring’s Open qualifiers. (Photo/theopen.com)Iwata, Pan, Wu and Tsukada – Amata Spring’s Open qualifiers. (Photo/theopen.com)

These tournaments are part of an Open Qualifying Series that comprises 14 events in nine countries, played on five continents.  They include three PGA Tour and three European Tour events, as well as tournaments drawn from the Sunshine Tour, the Australasian Tour, the Japan Golf Tour, and Thailand’s Asian Qualifying held at the Amari Spring Country Club, just up the road in Chonburi.

Players qualifying from these events will join those who are exempt from qualifying due to their eligibility through one of the following:

1. The Open Champions aged 60 or under on 20 July 2014.

2. The Open Champions for 2004-2013.

3. The Open Champions finishing in the first 10 and tying for 10th place in The Open Championship 2009-2013.

4. First 10 and anyone tying for 10th place in the 2013 Open Championship at Muirfield.

5. The first 50 players on the OWGR for Week 21, 2014.

6. First 30 in the Race to Dubai for 2013.

7. The BMW PGA Championship winners for 2012-2014.

8. First 5 European Tour members and any European Tour members tying for 5th place, not otherwise exempt, in the top 20 of the Race to Dubai on completion of the 2014 BMW International Open.

9. The US Open Champions for 2010-2014.

10. The Masters Tournament Champions for 2010-2014.

11. The PGA Champions for 2009-2013.

12. The PLAYERS Champions for 2012-2014.

13. The leading 30 qualifiers for the 2013 TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP.

14. First 5 PGA TOUR members and any PGA TOUR members tying for 5th place, not exempt in the top 20 of the PGA TOUR FedExCup Points List for 2014 on completion of the 2014 Travelers Championship.

15. Playing members of the 2013 Presidents Cup Teams.

16. First and anyone tying for 1st place on the Order of Merit of the Asian Tour for 2013.

17. First and anyone tying for 1st place on the Order of Merit of the Tour of Australasia for 2013.

18. First and anyone tying for 1st place on the Order of Merit of the Southern Africa PGA Sunshine Tour for 2013.

19. The Japan Open Champion for 2013.

20. First 2 and anyone tying for 2nd place, on the Official Money List of the Japan Golf Tour for 2013.

21. First 2 and anyone tying for 2nd place, not exempt having applied B(6) in a cumulative money list taken from all official 2014 Japan Golf Tour events up to and including the 2014 Mizuno Open.

22. The Senior Open Champion for 2013.

23. The Amateur Champion for 2014.

24. The US Amateur Champion for 2013.

25. The International European Amateur Champion for 2013.

26. The Mark H McCormack Medal (Men’s World Amateur Golf Ranking) winner for 2013.

FQ Glasgow – Gailes Links

FQ Hillside

FQ Royal Cinque Ports

FQ Woburn

These eligibility criteria can stretch credibility.  Remember Erik Compton, the golfer on his third heart?  He doesn’t qualify.  Why should he – because he finished second in the US Open last month.

So, some dude who finishes fourth in the Greenbrier Classic, third in the French Open, or any number of aspirants who get a top-ten finish in a range of events at various Wirral links around Royal Liverpool, gets a start.  Whilst this year’s US Open runner-up, one of only three players to complete Pinehurst’s sternest of tests under par, does not.  Yeah right.

The same applies to the runners-up in other majors, the Masters and the PGA Championship.  Yet, if a player made either Presidents Cup team last year, he qualifies.  I don’t get it.

Telegraph golf correspondent, James Corrigan, has been on to this story for some weeks.  In addition to Compton’s story, he tells of the saga surrounding Charley Hull, the British teenager, who earlier this year became the youngest player ever to appear in the Solheim Cup.  After helping her side to its first-ever victory on US soil, she was soon ranked in the world’s top 35.  She finished 7th in this year’s first major, the Kraft Nabisco, and rose to No 1 on the Ladies European money list.

But despite Hull’s impressive credentials, she was still not eligible to play in this year’s Women’s US Open, held the week following the men’s event at Pinehurst.

Hard to determine which is the biggest oversight – Compton or Hull?

Back to Compton, it now appears that due to changed circumstances, he will be invited to Royal Liverpool after all.  Due to a raft of reasons, including withdrawals and players qualifying in more than one category, the R&A now find they are 12 players short of the 156 required for a full field.

Thus they have turned to category five, above, and raised the top 50 in the OWGR to 75.  Following his US Open heroics, Erik Compton’s OWGR means he will be at Hoylake after all.

Now, if they could just give Charley Hull an invite…….

Golfnutter