Open Championship, new qualification criteria

The R&A recently made some significant changes to the qualifying criteria for the 152nd Open Championship

by Andrea Gussoni
Open Championship, new qualification criteria
© Getty Images Sport - Grant Halverson / Stringer

The R&A recently made some significant changes to the qualifying criteria for the 152nd Open Championship, which takes place in just over four months' time. These changes, announced in advance, include several categories of exemption, with the most significant concerning the Champions League.

Open, news

Starting this year, the Champion Golfer of the Year will have a guaranteed place in subsequent editions until he reaches 55 years of age, rather than up to 60 years of age as currently expected for Past Champions.

This change is intended to provide greater stability in the field of participants over the years. Additionally, a new qualifying category has been established for players competing on the Asian Tour, Japan Golf Tour, PGA Tour of Australasia, and Sunshine Tour.

The top 5 players in these rankings, according to the International Federation Ranking List , on July 2 this year, will earn a place at the Royal Troon. A further novelty is represented by the qualification category dedicated to the African Amateur Champion.

The first edition of this tournament took place this year at Leopard Creek, and the winner, Altin van der Merwe, earned the right to participate in the Open Championship. Finally, the medical exemption will come into force, a category that has been foreseen for some time but rarely used.

The beneficiary will be Michael Hendry, who due to a serious illness had to give up his place in the 151st edition, obtained through the World City Championship in 2023. The rules of golf comprise a set of standard regulations and procedures governing the playing of the sport.

They are jointly authored and managed by the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, the global governing body for golf outside the United States and Mexico, which fall under the jurisdiction of the United States Golf Association.

A committee of experts consisting of members from both the R&A and USGA oversees and refines the rules every four years, with the latest revision effective since January 1, 2016. Changes to the rules of golf generally fall into two main categories: those aimed at improving understanding and those that, in certain cases, reduce penalties to ensure fairness.

The rulebook, titled "Rules of Golf," is regularly published and also includes regulations governing amateur status. In Italy, oversight of competitions and enforcement of the rules issued by the R&A falls under the responsibility of Federgolf.

Federgolf ensures that these regulations are adhered to by clubs, associations, and their members, and manages any resulting sports justice, safeguarding their interests abroad.