International final qualifying dates set for 2004 British Open
BY iseekgolf.com | European PGA Tour | 2004 British Open | General | 27 Aug 2003
International qualifying events for the 2004 Open Championship have now been finalised on five continents, opening the way for more players from around the world to gain direct entry into the championship at Royal Troon from their home territories.
These international final qualifying events will be open to any players holding Official World Golf Ranking points who have not gained exemption into the championship by any other qualification. Maximum fields of 120 will play 36 holes.
First continent to stage the new qualifying system will be Africa, where the Atlantic Beach Golf Club in Cape Town will be the venue on January 8-9, 2004. A minimum of four players will qualify directly into the Open. Closing date for entries is December 4, 2003.
On January 19-20 2004 the Kingston Heath Golf Club in Melbourne will play host to Australasian qualifying with a minimum of four players going to Royal Troon. Closing date for entries is December 11, 2003.
Asian qualifying will take place at Saujana Golf & Country Club, Kaula Lumpur, Malaysia on March 30-31. A minimum of four players will gain their places in the Open field. Closing date for entries is February 19, 2004.
The Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland, will hold the 36-hole USA qualifying on June 28 and there will be a guaranteed minimum of 12 players making the trip to Troon. Closing date for entries is May 27, 2004.
European final qualifying will be on the same day, June 28, over Sunningdale Golf Club’s Old and New courses in Berkshire, England where the minimum guaranteed entry into the championship will be the leading 12 players. Closing date for entries is May 27, 2004.
“By introducing five international final qualifying competitions throughout the world, we will make it easier for world ranked players who might not otherwise be exempt, to attempt to qualify for the Open,” said Michael Tate, Assistant Secretary of the R&A.
“It might seem that with only 12 places from local final qualifying it is going to be much harder for amateurs and club professionals to play in the Open. However, we have carefully analysed data from recent championships and have concluded that most world ranked players will opt to play in one of the IFQs, leaving the LFQs for players with less or no world ranking points. If anything, it should therefore be no more difficult, and in fact may be easier for amateurs and club professionals to gain one of the exempt places from LFQ.”
If more than 120 players enter for any of the international final qualifying events, the highest points holders in the world rankings will make up the starting field. Eligible players may enter any one of the five international events or may chose to enter local final qualifying which will be held at Glasgow Gailes, Irvine, Turnberry Kintyre and Western Gailes on Saturday and Sunday, July 10-11, 2004.
Source – The Open