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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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Equipment

The coolest wedge stampings on the PGA Tour (RSM Classic Edition)

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Wedge stampings are the eye-popping garnish on the glorious plates of golf equipment. Maybe this isn’t exactly the right metaphor, because, well, the parsley (wedge stamp) isn’t as mouth-water as the Wagyu (wedge), but you get the point…right?

Anyway, let’s look at some wedges from the RSM Classic a couple of weeks ago and see what stampings and paintfills the pros were showcasing at Sea Island.

You may not know Anthony Cordes, but surely you’ll want to add him to your shortlist of players to passionately root for after seeing this Wedding Crashers-inspired wedge.

Bo Van Pelt is a fairly cool dude. That usually happens if your name is “Bo”—the nomenclature brings with it a certain je ne sais quoi. When you’ve got initials that sound great together—BVP—you don’t need to add any unnecessary elements to the recipe.

We’ll assume Anastissia and Victoria are Brendan Steele’s daughters, and not that he has an appreciation for royalty of antiquity. Cool stamping with the pink-filled dots.

Look past David Hearn gaming 2011 TaylorMade TP MC irons to the lead tape and stamping on his SM4 (!) wedges. The Canadian knows what he likes!

Similar to the proposition raised in the Bo Van Pelt section: “Hank” is a fairly cool name. If you’re referred to as such, get it stamped on your wedge and call it a day.

Jhonattan Vegas’ Mizuno irons always feature tidy “JV” stamping, and he’s extended the treatment to his prototype Artisan wedges, which are peeking out below.

Also on the Mizuno front, Lucas Glover has his JPX 919 irons stamped with his initials (no paintfill—nastiness), but his 52-degree wedge feature the loft it is bent to (54 degrees)—a classic stamping.

Michael Gligic was the only “MG” in the RSM Classic field, so we’re assuming these are his wedges. They could, however, be stamped with someone with a real affinity for the model.

See more photos from the RSM Classic here. 

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Tour Photo Galleries

Photos from the 2020 RSM Classic

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GolfWRX is live from Sea Island Golf Club in St,. Simons Island, Georgia for the RSM Classic.

Coming the week after the Masters, plenty of players from the tournament in Augusta are making their way 3.5 hours South to the Davis Love III-hosted event.

We have six general galleries of photos for you to check out as well as new shafts from UST Mamiya and a welcome resurrection of two decade-old White Hot putter models.

General Galleries

Other Galleries

See what GolfWRXers and join the discussion in the forums: 2020 RSM Classic WITB Photos- discussion

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Tour Photo Galleries

Photos from the 2020 Houston Open

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GolfWRX is live from the Vivint Houston Open at Memorial Park Golf Course, where players who, well, like to play before majors are playing (including Mav McNealy with some vintage Nike blades in the featured image).

The likes of Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson will be making their final tune-ups before next week’s test at Augusta National.

On the subject of tuning, players who will be competing at ANGC are getting their bags dialed and those who won’t are free to experiment as they start to consider their 2021 artillery.

General galleries

Special galleries

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