St Andrews, Scotland: The road to The Open begins in Australia this week with three players in the field at the Emirates Australian Open set to secure their place at St Andrews in 2015.
The Australian Open is the first of 14 events in nine countries on five continents that will make up the 2015 Open Qualifying Series. In total, 44 places are available in the field for the 144th staging of golf’s most international Major championship from July 16-19.
The leading three players, who finish in the top-10 at The Australian Golf Club in Sydney and who are not already exempt, will earn a place in The Open. In the event of a tie, the qualifying place(s) will go to the player with the highest position in the Official World Golf Ranking at the commencement of the event.
Six players in the 156-man field have already secured exemptions for The Open, including Open champion and world number one Rory McIlroy who will defend his Australian Open title this week.
Adam Scott, the 2013 Masters champion and 2012 Open runner-up, is also exempt along with fellow Australians John Senden and Geoff Ogilvy. American Ryder Cup player Jordan Spieth and US Amateur champion Gunn Yang of South Korea are also set to play in The Open at the Home of Golf in July.
The Open Qualifying Series gives players the opportunity to qualify at events on the PGA Tour, European Tour, PGA Tour of Australasia, Asian Tour, Japan Golf Tour and Sunshine Tour.
Peter Dawson, Chief Executive of The R&A, said: “The Open Qualifying Series proved very successful in its first year in 2014 and was welcomed by players and spectators. We are delighted to welcome two new events to the Series this year, on the Asian Tour and the PGA Tour, and look forward to working with each of the Tours once again.
“One of our key aims with the Series is to continue to enhance the global appeal of The Open and we want to give players the opportunity to qualify through events in their region of the world.”
The 2015 Open Qualifying Series will include the Thailand Golf Championship at Amata Spring from December 11-14, for the first time. The Series continues with the Joburg Open in South Africa in February and the Mizuno Open in Japan in May.
Three European Tour events form part of the Series, the Irish Open hosted by The Rory Foundation, played in May at Royal County Down; the Alstom Open de France in July and the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open.
On the PGA Tour, the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands in Connecticut from June 25-28 will be part of the Series for the first time, replacing the Quicken Loans National which has been moved to another date in the schedule. The Series continues at the Greenbrier Classic and the John Deere Classic in July.