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R&A updates exemption categories for the 2021 Open Championship

December 19, 2020

Martin Slumbers, R&A chief executive, has let it be known that all those golfers—106 in total—who qualified for the lone men’s major that was canceled in 2020, the Open Championship, are already in the field for the 2021 Open at Royal St. George’s. But on Friday, the R&A helped clear up who might be joining them, announcing an updated listing of exemption criteria for golf’s oldest major.

The governing body has introduced new categories to help round out the field. All players not already exempt that meet these criteria will be added:

• Top 50 on the Official World Golf Ranking as of May 23

• Top five players (and ties) among the top 20 in the FedEx Cup standings after the 2021 Travelers Championship

• A minimum of eight sports via regional and final qualifying, which will take place in June (more info on these events will come at a later date).

“In light of these exceptional circumstances, we have carefully reviewed our exemption categories and made adjustments so that players can earn places in the Championship from results achieved in both the 2020 and 2021 seasons as well as retaining opportunities through our qualifying events,” said Johnnie Cole-Hamilton, the R&A’s executive director of championships.

In addition, the R&A noted that its use of tournaments on various tour around the world that it has dubbed Open Qualifying Series events, will not be in place for additional exemptions into the 2021 Open. These would include a handful of summer PGA Tour events where the top two or three finishers in the tournament not already into the Open would qualify.

Here is a complete list of the exemption categories and all players who have already qualified (players can qualify in multiple categories, names are bold in the one in which they first qualify).

Open Champions aged 60 or under on 19 July 2020

Mark Calcavecchia, Ian Baker-Finch, 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

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Open Champions for 2010-2019

2010 - Louis Oosthuizen, 2011 - Darren Clarke, 2012 - Ernie Els, 2013 - Phil Mickelson, 2014 - Rory McIlroy, 2015 - Zach Johnson, 2016 - Henrik Stenson, 2017 - Jordan Spieth, 2018 - Francesco Molinari, 2019 - Shane Lowry

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First 10 and anyone tying for 10th place in The 148th Open at Royal Portrush in 2019

Shane Lowry, Tommy Fleetwood, Tony Finau, Brooks Koepka, Lee Westwood, Rickie Fowler, Robert MacIntyre, Tyrrell Hatton, Danny Willett, Patrick Reed

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The first 50 players on the OWGR for Week 21, 2021

To be taken from the Official World Golf Rankings on May 23 2021

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The first 30 in the final Race to Dubai rankings for 2019

Jon Rahm, Tommy Fleetwood, Bernd Wiesberger, Shane Lowry, Matt Fitzpatrick, Rory McIlroy, Matt Wallace, Louis Oosthuizen, Tyrrell Hatton, Erik van Rooyen, Robert MacIntyre, Marcus Kinhult, Victor Perez, Kurt Kitayama, Danny Willett, Benjamin Hebert, Matthias Schwab, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Mike Lorenzo-Vera, Jorge Campillo, Sergio Garcia, Paul Waring, Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Romain Langasque, Joost Luiten, Justin Harding, Ian Poulter, Paul Casey, Haotong Li, Francesco Molinari

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The first 10 in the final Race to Dubai rankings for 2020

Lee Westwood, Matt Fitzpatrick, Patrick Reed, Tommy Fleetwood, Collin Morikawa, Victor Perez, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Aaron Rai, Tyrrell Hatton, Louis Oosthuizen

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BMW PGA Championship winners for 2017-2020

2017 - Alex Noren, 2018 - Francesco Molinari, 2019 - Danny Willett, 2020 - Tyrrell Hatton

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The first 5 European Tour members and any European Tour members tying for fifth place, not otherwise exempt, in the top 20 of the Race to Dubai rankings on completion of the 2021 BMW International Open.

TBC following the BMW International Open on June 27 2021

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U.S. Open winners for 2016-2021

2016 - Dustin Johnson, 2017 & 2018 - Brooks Koepka, 2019 - Gary Woodland, 2020 - Bryson DeChambeau, 2021 - TBC on 20 June 2021

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Masters winners for 2016-2021

2016 - Danny Willett, 2017 - Sergio Garcia, 2018 - Patrick Reed, 2019 - Tiger Woods, 2020 - Dustin Johnson, 2021 - TBC on 11 Apr 2021

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PGA Championship winners for 2015-2021

2015 - Jason Day, 2016 - Jimmy Walker, 2017 - Justin Thomas, 2018 & 2019 - Brooks Koepka, 2020 - Collin Morikawa, 2021 - TBC on 23 May 2021

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Players Championship winners for 2018-2021

2018 - Webb Simpson, 2019 - Rory McIlroy, 2020 - Cancelled, 2021 - TBC on 14 Mar 2021

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Top 30 players from the final 2019 FedExCup Points List

Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele, Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, Paul Casey, Adam Scott, Tony Finau, Chez Reavie, Kevin Kisner, Hideki Matsuyama, Patrick Reed, Jon Rahm, Bryson DeChambeau, Jason Kokrak, Gary Woodland, Matt Kuchar, Webb Simpson, Tommy Fleetwood, Rickie Fowler, Sung-Jae Im, Patrick Cantlay, Louis Oosthuizen, Abraham Ancer, Marc Leishman, Brandt Snedeker, Justin Rose, Corey Conners, Charles Howell III, Dustin Johnson, Lucas Glover

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Top 10 players from the final 2020 FedExCup Points List

Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Xander Schauffele, Jon Rahm, Scottie Scheffler, Collin Morikawa, Tyrrell Hatton, Sebastian Munoz, Patrick Reed, Rory McIlroy

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First 5 PGA Tour members and any PGA Tour members tying for 5th place, not exempt in the top 20 of the PGA TOUR FedExCup Points List for 2021 on completion of the 2021 Travelers Championship

TBC following the Travelers Championship on 27 June 2021

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Open de Argentina 2019 winner

2019 - Ricardo Celia, 2020 - Cancelled

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Playing members of the 2019 Presidents Cup teams

Marc Leishman, Hideki Matsuyama, Louis Oosthuizen, Adam Scott, Abraham Ancer, Haotong Li, CT Pan, Cameron Smith, Sung-Jae Im, Byeong Hun An, Adam Hadwin, Joaquin Niemann, Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, Webb Simpson, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Tony Finau, Gary Woodland, Rickie Fowler, Patrick Reed, Tiger Woods

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First and anyone tying for 1st place on the Order of Merit of the Asian Tour for 2019 & 2020

2019 - Jazz Janewattananond, 2020 - Cancelled

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First and anyone tying for 1st place on the Order of Merit of the Tour of Australasia for 2019 & 2020

2019 - Ryan Fox, 2020 - TBC in March 2021

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First and anyone tying for 1st place on the Order of Merit of the Sunshine Tour for 2019 & 2020

2019 - JC Ritchie, 2020 - TBC on 28 March 2021

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Japan Open winner for 2019 & 2020

2019 - Chan Kim, 2020 - Yuki Inamori

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Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup winner for 2020 & 2021

2020 - Cancelled, 2021 - TBC on 16 May 2021

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First 2 and anyone tying for 2nd place, on the Official Money List of the Japan Golf Tour for 2019 & 2020

2019 - Shugo Imahira, Shaun Norris, 2020 - Cancelled

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The first two, not already exempt, in the 2021 Mizuno Open

TBC following the 2021 Mizuno Open

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Senior British Open winner for 2019 & 2020

2019 - Bernhard Langer, 2020 - Cancelled

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British Amateur winner for 2020 & 2021

2020 - Joe Long (a), 2021 - TBC on 19 June 2021

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U.S. Amateur winner for 2019 & 2020

2019 - Andy Ogletree (a) - now turned pro so no longer exempt via this route, 2020 - Tyler Strafaci (a)

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European Amateur winner for 2020 & 2021

2020 - Matthias Schmid (a), 2021 - TBC

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The Mark H McCormack Medal (Men's World Amateur Golf Ranking) winner for 2019 & 2020.

2019 - Cole Hammer (a), 2020 - Takumi Kanaya (a) - now turned pro so no longer exempt via this route

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Asia-Pacific Amateur winner for 2019 & 2020

2019 - Yuxin Lin (a), 2020 - Cancelled

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Latin America Amateur winner for 2020 & 2021

2020 - Abel Gallegos (a), 2021 - Cancelled

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OQS Australia - The 2019 Emirates Australian Open

Matt Jones, Aaron Pike, Takumi Kanaya

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OQS South Africa - The 2020 South African Open

Branden Grace, Marcus Armitage, Jaco Ahlers

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OQS Singapore - The 2020 SMBC Singapore Open

Joohyung Kim, Richard T Lee, Poom Saksansin, Ryosuke Kinoshita

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OQS USA - The 2020 Arnold Palmer Invitational

Danny Lee, Joel Dahmen, Keith Mitchell

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A mininum of eight spots will be available at Open Final Qualifying on 29 June 2021.