By Cam Huffman
There will be more on the line at this year’s Greenbrier Classic than money and a trophy.
The Open Championship (British Open) is scrapping its 36-hole qualifying tournaments and will instead use 10 tour events from five continents to determine 32 spots in this year’s event. Twelve spots will still be available from 32-hole qualifying from four links courses, but the other spots will go to top finishers in those 10 events, which will include The Greenbrier Classic.
The new system, announced by Royal & Ancient chief executive Peter Dawson on Monday, will be called the “Open Qualifying Series” and will start next month at the Australian Open. It is designed to build more interest in the weeks leading up to the tournament.
On the PGA Tour, the British Open will select the top four players not already eligible if they finish in the top 12 at the AT&T National and The Greenbrier Classic. One spot will be available from the John Deere Classic, which will be held a week before the Open. Those spots will replace spots formerly reserved for the U.S. qualifier in Dallas, Texas.
“It is an honor and a privilege to be one of only three tournaments selected to represent the PGA Tour within the new Open Qualifying Series,” said Jim Justice, chairman and owner of The Greenbrier. “The tournament’s participation in the series will only help to increase the caliber of players in what is already one of the most competitive fields on Tour and add to the excitement of the event for our fans.”
Outside of the United States, qualifying spots will be awarded at The Irish Open, The French Open, The Scottish Open, The Australian Open, The Joburg Open (South Africa), The Open Qualifying Tournament (Thailand) and The Mizuno Open (Japan).
“We welcome this initiative from The R&A, which will offer qualifying places at three events on the PGA Tour in lead-up to The Open,” said PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem. “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.”
The fifth year of The Greenbrier Classic, is scheduled for June 30 through July 6 on The Old White TPC course at The Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs.
The Open Championship will take place July 13-20 at Royal Liverpool.
— E-mail: chuffman@
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