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The Open to have new qualifying venues

For the first time, golfers will not have to go to Britain to qualify for the Open.

The international final qualifying rounds for next year's championship at Troon will take place in Africa, Asia, Australia, North and South America and Europe, the Royal & Ancient Club of St. Andrews said.

The new system does not affect this year's Open at Royal St. George's in Sandwich, England.

"We wanted to make it easier for world-ranked players who might not otherwise be exempt to attempt to qualify in the continent where they play most of their competitive golf," R&A secretary Peter Dawson said.

Each international qualifying round will have a maximum of 120 players. Players unable to get a place can transfer straight to the local qualifying rounds.

Congressional Country Club in Maryland will be one of the sites for 36-hole international qualifying rounds for Troon next year.

Others are Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Victoria, Australia; and Sunningdale, England. The African venue, in South Africa, has not been decided.

Africa, Asia and Australasia will be guaranteed at least four qualifying places. The United States and Europe will each be guaranteed at least 12.

The Open field will remain at 156. It's expected that about 96 players will be exempt.

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