The Open

R&A announces Open Championship exemptions; LIV Golf players remain in field

February 21, 2023

Ross Kinnaird

The R&A announced on Tuesday its exemption criteria for the 151st Open this summer at Royal Liverpool. Following the lead of the Masters and U.S. Open, LIV Golf members will be able to compete in the championship.

In releasing its schedule for the qualifying events and exemption categories for the 2023 event, the R&A listed players who have already earned an invite to Hoylake in July. Past Open champions like Phil Mickelson, Henrik Stenson, Louis Oosthuizen and reigning winner Cameron Smith are in, as are LIV members who finished top 10 at St. Andrews last year (Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau). Brooks Koepka and Patrick Reed will compete through their major championship wins since 2018, with Thomas Pieters and Richard Bland are in by finishing in the top 30 in last year’s Race to Dubai standings. Other LIV notables include Joaquin Niemann and Talor Gooch, who grabbed spots in the field by finishing in the top 30 in the 2022 FedEx Cup standings.

That LIV members will be allowed in this year’s Open is not necessarily a surprise, as R&A chief Martin Slumbers signaled as much last fall. “We’ll go public in January/February with what we are going to do with regard to LIV golfers,” Slumbers told Golf Digest. “But if you want a guide, go back to what I said in July. We’re not banning anyone. We are not going to betray 150 years of history and have the Open not be open. The name says it all. And that’s important. What we will do is ensure that there are appropriate pathways and ways to qualify. I’m looking forward to seeing Cam Smith tee-up around 9:40 a.m. on the first day of the Open next year. The Open needs to set itself aside from what’s going in terms of disagreements and make sure we stay true to our principle, which is to have the best players in the world competing.”

The Open Qualifying Series will return, with field invites available for the top finishers at the PGA Tour’s Arnold Palmer Invitational, Wells Fargo Championship and Memorial, along with the DP World Tour co-sanctioned Genesis Scottish Open. The DP World Tour also will have spots available at the Betfred British Masters and Made in HimmerLand events.

Other invites will be on the line at the World City Championship presented by the Hong Kong Golf Club, the Korea Open and the Japan’s Mizuno Open. Spots were already awarded at the Joburg Open and Australian Open.

There also will be regional and final qualifying spots, with 16 spots open through four final sites. The R&A also announced a new exemption has been added for elite amateur golfers in which the player who accumulates the most points awarded by the World Amateur Golf Ranking in the St Andrews Links Trophy, the Amateur Championship and European Amateur Championship will earn a place in the Open.

“We have created an exciting schedule of events which takes in many regions around the world and provides the chance for golfers to earn a place in the Open at Royal Liverpool,” said Johnnie Cole-Hamilton, executive director of champions at the R&A. “We are grateful to our colleagues at the professional tours for their support and look forward to seeing who emerges from each event to book a sought-after place in the Championship this year.”

The 151st Open begins July 20 at Royal Liverpool.

151st Open Championship exemption categories

Open Champions aged 60 or under on July 23, 2023

John Daly, Justin Leonard, Paul Lawrie, Tiger Woods, David Duval, Ernie Els, Ben Curtis, Todd Hamilton, Padraig Harrington, Stewart Cink, Louis Oosthuizen, Darren Clarke, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy, Zach Johnson, Henrik Stenson, Jordan Spieth, Francesco Molinari, Shane Lowry, Collin Morikawa, Cameron Smith

Open Champions for 2012-2022

Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy, Zach Johnson, Henrik Stenson, Jordan Spieth, Francesco Molinari, Shane Lowry, Collin Morikawa, Cameron Smith

First 10 and ties at The 150th Open 2022

Cameron Smith, Cameron Young, Rory McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood, Viktor Hovland, Brian Harman, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Cantlay, Jordan Spieth

Top 50 players on the OWGR (Week 21, 2023)


Top 30 in the Final Race to Dubai Rankings for 2022

Rory McIlroy, Ryan Fox, Jon Rahm, Matt Fitzpatrick, Tommy Fleetwood, Viktor Hovland, Will Zalatoris, Adrian Meronk, Shane Lowry, Thomas Pieters, Tyrrell Hatton, Jordan Smith, Alex Noren, Thriston Lawrence, Adrian Otaegui, Rasmus Hojgaard, Ewen Ferguson, Robert MacIntyre, Richie Ramsay, Yannik Paul, Callum Shinkwin, Victor Perez, Pablo Larrazabal, Richard Bland, Adri Arnaus, Thorbjorn Olesen, Hurly Long, Connor Syme, Shubhankar Sharma, Guido Migliozzi

BMW PGA Championship winners for 2019-2022

2019 - Danny Willett, 2020 - Tyrrell Hatton, 2021 - Billy Horschel, 2022 - Shane Lowry

First 5 DP World Tour members and any DP World Tour members tying for 5th place, not otherwise exempt, in the top 20 of the Race to Dubai rankings on completion of the 2023 BMW International Open


U.S. Open winners for 2018-2023

2018 - Brooks Koepka, 2019 - Gary Woodland, 2020 - Bryson DeChambeau, 2021 - Jon Rahm, 2022 - Matt Fitzpatrick

Masters winners for 2018-2023

2018 - Patrick Reed, 2019 - Tiger Woods, 2020 - Dustin Johnson, 2021 - Hideki Matsuyama, 2022 - Scottie Scheffler

PGA Championship winners for 2017-2023

2017 - Justin Thomas, 2018 & 2019 - Brooks Koepka, 2020 - Collin Morikawa, 2021 - Phil Mickelson, 2022 - Justin Thomas

Players Championship winners for 2021-2023

2021 - Justin Thomas, 2022 - Cameron Smith

Top 30 players from the final 2022 FedExCup Points List

Rory McIlroy, Sungjae Im, Scottie Scheffler, Xander Schauffele, Max Homa, Justin Thomas, Patrick Cantlay, Sepp Straka, Tony Finau, Tom Hoge, Hideki Matsuyama, Joaquin Niemann, Jordan Spieth, Matt Fitzpatrick, Viktor Hovland, JT Poston, Jon Rahm, Cameron Young, Cameron Smith, Brian Harman, Billy Horschel, Collin Morikawa, Sam Burns, Adam Scott, Corey Conners, KH Lee, Sahith Theegala, Scott Stallings, Talor Gooch, Will Zalatoris

First 5 PGA Tour members and any PGA Tour members tying for fifth place, not exempt in the top 20 of the PGA Tour FedEx Cup Points List for 2023 on completion of the 2023 Travelers Championship


The 116th VISA Open de Argentina 2022 winner

Zack Fischer

Winner(s) Final Order of Merit of the PGA Tour of Australasia for 2022-23


Winner(s) Final Order of Merit of the Sunshine Tour for 2022-23


Japan Open champion for 2022

Taiga Semikawa (a)

First 2 and ties on Final Official Money List of the Japan Golf Tour for 2022

Kazuki Higa, Rikuya Hoshino

First and anyone tying for 1st place, not exempt in a cumulative money list taken from all official 2023 Japan Golf Tour events up to and including the 2023 Japan Tour Championship


Senior British Open winner for 2022

Darren Clarke

British Amateur winner for 2023*


U.S. Amateur winner for 2022*

Sam Bennett (a)

European Amateur winner for 2023*


Mark H McCormack Medal winner (Men's WORLD AMATEUR GOLF RANKING) for 2022*

N/A (Keita Nakajima turned pro)

Asia-Pacific Amateur winner for 2022*

Harrison Crowe (a)

Latin America Amateur winner for 2023*

Mateo Fernandez de Oliveira (a)

The Open Amateur Series winner 2023* (A new exemption added for elite amateur golfers, in which the player who accumulates the most points awarded by the World Amateur Golf Ranking in the St Andrews Links Trophy, The Amateur Championship and European Amateur Championship will earn a place in The Open)


* * *

OPEN QUALIFYING SERIES (Top Three from all venues)

OQS South Africa - Joburg Open

Dan Bradbury, Sami Valimaki, Christiaan Bezuidenhout

OQS Australia - ISPS Handa Australian Open

Min Woo Lee, Haydn Barron, Alejandro Canizares

OQS USA - Arnold Palmer Invitational


OQS Hong Kong - World City Championship presented by the Hong Kong Golf Club


OQS USA - Wells Fargo Championship


OQS Japan - Mizuno Open


OQS USA - The Memorial


OQS Korea - KOLON Korea Open


OQS England - Betfred British Masters


OQS Denmark - Made in HimmerLand


OQS Scotland - Genesis Scottish Open


Final Qualifying - Burnham & Berrow, Dundonald Links, Royal Cinque Ports & West Lancashire


* only exempt if they remain amateurs