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R&A shakes up Open Championship qualifying procedures

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The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, which administers the game throughout the world, save America and Mexico, announced a suite of changes to the ways in which players can qualify for the Open Championship, the R&A’s premier event.

The change largely consists in the elimination of a number of 36-hole qualifiers held all over the world in the lead-up to the third major championship of the year. Instead, a number of top professional tournaments in the weeks preceding the Open Championship will give spots in the field to some of the top finishers not already exempt. Those tournaments have been branded the “Open Qualifying Series.”

In the United States, the AT&T National and The Greenbrier Classic will serve double-duty, each giving the top four not-yet-exempt players spots in the Open Championship. These two qualifiers-within-a-tournament replace an eight-spot, 36-hole qualifier traditionally held in Dallas each May. The John Deere Classic, true to form of the last few years, will continue to give the single highest finisher from its field not already exempt a spot into the Open Championship.

The R&A is also giving similar extra prestige to three European Tour events. In the same way as the aforementioned PGA Tour events, three spots will be given at the Irish, French and Scottish Opens. These events replace a 36-hole qualifier traditionally held at Sunningdale Golf Club in Surrey, England prior to the Open Championship.

Additional spots will be up for grabs in top existing events in Australia, South Africa, Japan and Thailand.

Local Final Qualifying will continue to exist, giving many less-heralded players the opportunity to gain entry into the Open Championship in a similar way as do a handful of underdogs each year in the U.S. Open. But now, the four sites at which Local Final Qualifying is held are locked in for the foreseeable future: Hillside, Woburn and Royal Cinque Ports in England and Glasgow Gailes in Scotland.

With other new high-level tournaments filling up the worldwide professional golf calendar, the R&A was able to trim some of the clutter in the form of the 36-hole qualifiers that often complicated players’ travel plans during an already hectic summer. In addition, the expense of running those qualifiers can be diverted elsewhere.

The system will be implemented immediately, with the first spots awarded at November’s Australian Open. Next year’s Open Championship will be played in July in Hoylake, England, where Tiger Woods won on a bone-dry Royal Liverpool Golf Club in 2006.

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Tim grew up outside of Hartford, Conn., playing most of his formative golf at Hop Meadow Country Club in the town of Simsbury. He played golf for four years at Washington & Lee University (Division-III) and now lives in Pawleys Island, S.C., and works in nearby Myrtle Beach in advertising. He's not too bad on Bermuda greens, for a Yankee. A lifelong golf addict, he cares about all facets of the game of golf, from equipment to course architecture to PGA Tour news to his own streaky short game.

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Tour Photo Galleries

Wedge Stamping Caviar: Have More Fun Edition

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Pop open a tin of the finest beluga, GolfWRXers… In all seriousness, it’s less jelly-like substance, more richness of intrigue than salt-cured roe at Wedge Stamping Caviar as we present to you some of the finest instances of hammer-and-stamp work on the PGA Tour.

In this initial serving, we’re mining photos from October and November at PGA Tour stops, including the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, the Cadence Bank Houston Open, and the RSM Classic.

So grab your mother-of-pearl spoon and dig in — with restraint, please.

The traditional K.I.S.S. stamping on a BV proto: first and last initial, demonstrated here by Andrew Landry. Bonus points for the bounce angle (8) stamp.

When your last name is something imposing/interesting, you’re definitely stamping it on your wedge as Cole Hammer has done here in a “University of Texas” colorway.

Simple, perfect stamping for Xuewen Luo. 

Patrick Cantlay is still rolling with a SM7. Ultimate K.I.S.S. to stick with a previous generation wedge with stamped initials. Bent loft (47 degrees) is a classy touch. 

Excellent #perspective on Kevin Roy’s 54-degree Vokey.

Anytime a custom grind wears off the loft number, it’s caviar. Lovely patina on Woodland’s Wilson, too. 

Another favorite motif: Tiny initials pattern (as demonstrated by Palmer Jackson). 

The Webb Simpson traditional. Maybe the longest-serving stamping on Tour. 

Not a stamping on Akshay Bhatia’s Jaws Raw, but we’ll serve it up anyway for reasons immediately discernible to the seasoned palate. 

 

 

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Tour Photo Galleries

Photos from the 2022 RSM Classic

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GolfWRX was live this week from the RSM Classic in Sea Island, Georgia, for the last event of the 2022 calendar year.

We saw a few pros testing some 2023 prototypes — Jason Dufner in Cobra Aerojet woods — and got a look at a few potential new putters from Toulon.

We have: Eight general galleries. 12 WITBs — including some lefty love for Akshay Bhatia — and a ton of putters for your perusal.

Check out links to all our photos below!                                           

General Albums

WITB Albums

Pullout Albums

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Equipment

Photos from the 2022 Cadence Bank Houston Open

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GolfWRX was on site this week ahead of the 2022 Cadence Bank Houston Open at Memorial Park Golf Course.

The year is winding down, but the wraparound 2022-2023 season is just getting underway, so players are poised to do a bit of tinkering ahead of January equipment launches. To that end, we got an in-hand look at Justin Rose’s new prototype “JR” irons. We also spotted new shafts from KBS and Mitsubishi as well as new grips from SuperStroke.

Check out all of our photos below.

General Albums

WITB Albums

Pullout Albums

See what GolfWRXers are saying in the discussion thread.

 

 

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