R&A to review Open qualification again
Open organisers are satisfied with the revamped qualification process for this year's championship, but will review what happened at last month's U.S. leg of international qualifying.
A field of 120 was initially meant to be chasing the 15 spots on offer at Congressional Golf Club for the Open, but 46 players withdrew over the weekend and a further seven failed to arrive for their Monday teeoffs.
"Obviously the number of withdrawals that we experienced at Congressional was extremely disappointing," Royal and Ancient Golf Club (R&A) chief executive Peter Dawson told a news conference at Royal Troon on Wednesday, a day before the Open begins.
"We've taken the view that we need to understand why that occurred before reacting to it in any way.
"And we are looking forward to a meeting later this week with the PGA Tour, who have agreed to come and give their views and an explanation of what occurred.
"Until we hear, it's difficult to say what action is going to be taken for future years. We need to do this in a very measured way."
International qualifying tournaments were introduced by the R&A for the first time this year to make it more convenient and less expensive for overseas-based players to qualify for the third of the year's four majors.
The 36-hole qualifier at Congressional on June 28 was one of five that took place around the world between January and June. Previously, qualifying rounds were held only in Britain, usually on courses local to the Open venue.
Dawson feels that, overall, the new qualification process has been a success.
"We set out to open up the championship to as international a field as possible and we have succeeded, I think," he said.
"The numbers have gone up compared with last year from 111 to 378 world-ranked players teeing it up in the championship, if you include the qualifying events as part of the championship.
"We were also concerned to maintain local final qualifying to give club professionals, amateurs and the like the chance of getting into the championship.
"This year I'm delighted to say that we have 18 spots, if you include the scratchings, that have come from local qualifying, and 11 of those have come from people who played in regional (qualifying).
"It would be a miracle if we had got it dead right and we do have small adjustments to make, although I will stress we are happy with the overall principle."
One area that almost certainly will be tweaked for next year's Open, Dawson added, was the exemption category for the world's top 50 players.
The leading 50 in the world rankings as of May 27 this year automatically qualified for this week's championship at Troon, but Argentina's Angel Cabrera missed out by three days.
The big-hitting Cabrera, currently ranked 36th, returned to the top 50 by finishing second at the Volvo PGA Championship at Wentworth on May 30.
"We need to look at situations like that, clearly," Dawson said. "There is a case for looking at the top 50 on two separate dates, but this is one of the things we will consider."
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