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Due to a new age limit for the Open Championship, five-time winner Tom Watson has two more years of exemptions left. (Photo: Getty Images)

R&A announces changes to entry criteria for 2008 Open

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The runners-up at the British Amateur and U.S. Amateur championships will have a little easier road to Royal Birkdale, thanks to a series of amendments to the entry criteria for the 2008 Open Championship announced recently by the R&A. The Championship Committee also also intends to lower to 60 the age limit exemption for past Open champions.

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland -- The R&A has made a series of amendments to the entry criteria for the 2008 Open Championship to be played at Royal Birkdale Golf Club.

The main changes are that the runners-up in The Amateur and U.S. Amateur Championships and the European Amateur Championship will be exempt from Regional Qualifying. So, too, will the 10 highest-ranked entrants, not otherwise exempt, on The R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking as at WAGR Week 22.

The Championship Committee also intends to alter, over time, the age limit exemptions for Past Champions. Therefore, the existing Past Champions' exemption has been changed to allow those currently aged between 60 and 65 to be eligible until the age of 65, while those under 60 will be eligible until they reach 60 years of age.

Main changes are listed below:

E. ENTRY AT LOCAL FINAL QUALIFYING STAGE is open to:

(14) (In part) The runner-up in each of The Amateur Championship 2008, for whom a blank entry will be made, the U.S. Amateur Championship 2007 and the European Amateur Championship 2007. E(14) is applicable only if the entrant concerned is still an amateur on July 7, 2008.

(15) The leading 10 players in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, not otherwise exempt, as at WAGR Week 22. E(15) is applicable only if the entrant concerned is still an amateur on July 7, 2008.

F. PLAYERS EXEMPT FROM REGIONAL, LOCAL FINAL AND INTERNATIONAL FINAL QUALIFYING

(2) Past Open Champions born between July 20, 1942 to July 19, 1948

(3) Past Open Champions aged 60 or under on July 20, 2008

(10) The leading player, not exempt, in the first 5 and ties of each of the 2008 European Open and the 2008 Barclays Scottish Open.

(18) The leading player, not exempt, in the first 5 and ties of each of the 2008 AT&T National and the 2008 John Deere Classic.

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