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Open Championship qualifying overhauled

ESPN staff
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Phil Mickelson claimed the Claret Jug this year © AP
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Qualification for the Open Championship has undergone an overhaul with a new international qualifying series brought in, the R&A have confirmed.

International Final Qualifying has been replaced by the Open Qualifying Series, which will utilise current global Tour events including the AT&T National and Irish Open to offer places at next year's event at Hoylake.

The changes are intended to make qualifying for the Open "more convenient" and "more rigorous", according to R&A chief Peter Dawson.

"It's a win for the players, a win for the Open and a win for the tours as well," Dawson told BBC Sport.

"The new move will allow the same range of players to have a go at entering the Open but be more straightforward in terms of their schedules, so they won't have a separate tournament to play in.

"More and more it will introduce a 72-hole qualifying event, which is more rigorous than our previous 36-hole International Final Qualifying events."

Ten worldwide Tour events will now offer Open qualification, alongside the four qualifying events based in the UK for those who make it through the 13 regional qualifying tournaments. There are 44 available places in all across the PGA Tour, European Tour, the PGA Tour of Australasia, the Sunshine Tour and the Japan Golf Tour.

November 28's Australian Open will be the first event to offer qualification, with PGA Tour players able to seal their place in the Open's 156-man field at the AT&T National, Greenbrier Classic and John Deere Classic in the three weeks before the Championship.

There will be three qualification places up for grabs at the Irish, French and Scottish Opens on the European Tour.

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