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R&A announces new entry criteria for Open Championship

No less than 10 players from both the European Tour and PGA Tour will be pleased to know that the R&A has amended the entry criteria for the Open Championship to include the top 30 from each tour, up from 20 previously.

New entry criteria have been introduced for the 138th Open Championship at Turnberry to guarantee places in the Championship for the top 30 players from both the European and PGA Tour.

Previously, the exemptions were limited to the top 20 from the European Tour Order of Merit and the PGA Tour's money list from the previous season. Under the new rules, however, all 30 players who qualify for the Tour Championship in the United States will earn places, as will the top 30 from the European Tour's Order of Merit following the season-ending Volvo Masters in November.

Related Content:
-- Purchase tickets to Turnberry
-- Tour Turnberry
-- Relive our coverage of the 2008 Open Championship

"The R&A continues to monitor the ever changing golfing world and our Championship Committee aims to reflect this in the exemptions into The Open Championship," said Peter Dawson, Chief Executive of The R&A.

A number of other changes have been made to the exemption categories; IFQ-Europe will have a smaller field with 96 players playing for 10 places in the Championship; the field for IFQ-America will be 78 with 8 places available; IFQ-Australasia and IFQ-Africa will each have three places available.

The dates and locations for International Final Qualifying have now been announced for all events except IFQ-Asia. They are as follows:

IFQ-Africa: 3-4 February 2009 at Royal Durban Golf Club, Durban, South Africa
IFQ-Australasia: 10 February 2009, Kingston Heath Golf Club, Melbourne, Australia
IFQ-America: 25 May 2009 at Gleneagles Country Club, Plano, Texas, USA
IFQ-Europe: 8 June 2009 at Sunningdale Golf Club, Surrey, England

IFQ-Asia will be held at Sentosa Golf Club, Singapore, on a date as yet to be confirmed.

The amendments to qualification criteria are as follows:

Players exempt from Regional, Local Final and International Final Qualifying:

- The first 30 in the PGA European Tour Final Order of Merit for 2008
- The starting field (of 30) of THE TOUR Championship of 2008
- First and anyone tying for 1st place on the Order of Merit of the Tour of Australasia for 2008
- The exemption for the Canadian Open Champion will no longer apply.

Players gaining direct exemption to Local Final Qualifying stage:

- The 2008 English, Scottish and Welsh Amateur Champions
- The 2009 Irish Amateur Champion. Blank entry will be made for this category
- The runner-up in each of the 2008 US Amateur Championship, the 2008 European Amateur Championship and the 2009 Amateur Championship, for whom a blank entry will be made
- The exemption for the British Mid-Amateur Champion is removed.

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