30 November 2011, St Andrews, Scotland: The R&A has announced changes to the entry criteria for next year’s Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St Annes.
The new qualification criteria for 2012, published today alongside the entry form, includes a change that will also see the recipient of the McCormack Medal – presented to the leading player in the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) at the culmination of the amateur summer season – gain automatic qualification.
Other changes include a new exemption that will allow past Major Champions into International and Local Final Qualifying (IFQ/LFQ).
For 2012, Patrick Cantlay, as the recipient of the 2011 McCormack Medal, has been awarded a place at Royal Lytham.
He joins other non-professionals including the winners of the Amateur Championship, the U.S. Amateur and the European Amateur in qualifying automatically for The Open.
R&A Director Mike Tate said: “The Open Championship entry criteria has been designed to ensure that we have the world’s best professional and amateur players competing at Royal Lytham & St Annes.
“The WAGR has grown considerably since its launch in 2007 and now covers more than 2,500 counting events and almost 6,000 players representing 100 countries. It is only right that the player who proves to be the most consistent over the course of the amateur season competes at The Open.”
The Open Championship, golf’s oldest Major, features a number of routes of qualification for those not exempt. Along with local and regional qualifying in the UK, IFQ events will be held next year in Africa (18, 19 January, Royal Johannesburg & Kensington, South Africa), America (21 May, Gleneagles Country Club, Plano, Texas, USA), Asia (1, 2 March, Amata Spring, Bangkok, Thailand), Australasia (10, 11 January, Kingston Heath, Melbourne, Australia) and Europe (25 June, Sunningdale, Berkshire, England).
For full details visit http://www.theopen.com/en/Qualification.aspx.
The Open Championship is golf’s oldest Major. Played since 1860 on British links golf courses, it is the game’s most international Major Championship with qualifying events on every continent. For one week each year, the pursuit of the famous Claret Jug trophy is the focus of the sporting world, followed globally by millions of fans. Organised by The R&A, The Open delivers an annual economic benefit to its host region, while the Championship’s commercial success supports the development of the game, worldwide.
The World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) was established in 2007 when the men’s ranking was launched. The women’s ranking went live in 2011 and WAGR, which is now administered in partnership with the United States Golf Association, has quickly become recognised as the world’s pre-eminent amateur golf ranking system, with numerous event organisers using it as an entry criterion for their events. WAGR, which updates every Wednesday at noon GMT, encompasses a rolling 52-week period and any elite competition played over a minimum of three rounds is eligible for inclusion.
The Mark H McCormack Medal
The award is named after Mark H McCormack, the late founder of sports marketing company IMG and an avid supporter of amateur golf. The women’s Mark H McCormack Medal is awarded to the player ranked number one in the World Amateur Golf Ranking after the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship. Established in 2007, the same award goes to the player leading the men’s ranking after the European Amateur Championship or U.S. Amateur Championship, whichever concludes the last.
Previous Winners: 2011 Patrick Cantlay (USA), 2010 Peter Uihlein (USA), 2009 Nick Taylor (CAN), 2008 Danny Lee (NZL), 2007 Colt Knost (USA).