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The R&A has announced some key changes to its exemption criteria for The Open ahead of this year’s visit to Royal Troon.

The most important update is the adjustment to the Champions’ exemption category. Up until now, winners of the Claret Jug have been eligible to compete until the age of 60, but future Open champion’s will now only be able exempt until they are 55.

But the R&A’s announcement’s was also significant for what was not declared.

Some LIV golfers may have been hoping for a reprieve from golf’s oldest major due to the increasing difficulty to qualify without access to ranking points on the breakaway league.

• Jon Rahm urges majors to consider ‘left out’ LIV Golf star

• R&A makes significant changes to Open exemptions

However, there will be no specific concessions for players competing on Greg Norman’s tour.

R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers, who is departing his role at the end of the year, has explained why that was the case.

“Quite a few of the (LIV) guys went and travelled and I would look at how many of them did that,” Slumbers told Sports Illustrated.

“We decided to create those opportunities. And I’d add there are a minimum of 16 players in Final Qualifying. We felt that is the next best step of progression on this road.

“We don’t want to take sides. We let the tours sort themselves out. But I think we gave every single player in LIV an opportunity to get into the Open.”

Slumbers has instead opted to offer wider qualifying opportunities across multiple OWGR-sanctioned tours.

A new exemption category will allow five players to qualify through the International Federation List across the Asian Tour, Japan Golf Tour, the PGA Tour of Australasia and the Sunshine Tour.

“There was a change to OWGR methodology two years ago and there was a concern that we wanted to make sure that there was a separation of the rankings for the non-main tours,” Slumbers added. “That’s why we created the federated list.

• LIV Golf stars excluded from Presidents Cup selection

• LIV Golf star claims standard is ’10 times better’ than DP World Tour

“The top four come from the Order of Merit winners. There’s five spots in there. A few years ago we took the Asian Tour exemption away but that effectively comes back in now. So we’ve created other opportunities.”

LIV player Andy Ogletree looks likely to earn his spot at Royal Troon through the International Federation Ranking list following his strong performances on the Asian Tour.

Dean Burmester, Louis Oosthuizen, Joaquin Niemman and David Puig have also secured their entry by winning Open Qualifying Series events.

Jon Rahm, Cameron Smith, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, Phil Mickelson, Tyrrell Hatton and Adrian Meronk are the only other LIV golfers to have guaranteed spots in the final major of the year.

Talor Gooch was LIV’s individual champion in 2023 and played in three majors last year, but is currently ineligible for the big four after sliding to number 476 in the world rankings.

LIV will remain unsanctioned by the Official World Golf Ranking board after the circuit officially withdrew its application for points this week.


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Ben Parsons joined bunkered as a Content Producer in 2023 and is the man to come to for all of the latest news, across both the professional and amateur games. Formerly of The Mirror and Press Association, he is a member at Halifax Golf Club and is a long-suffering fan of both Manchester United and the Wales rugby team.

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