The change will make it easier for mid-ranked PGA Tour and European tour players to qualify. The Loch Lomond World Invitational in Europe and the Western Open in the United States, both held the week before the Open, will each have eight new exempt spots essentially making them both Open qualifiers. Each of these places will go to players who have yet to qualify. The number of exemptions available from regular qualifying events will be reduced from approximately 48 to around 36 spots.
Also, the top seven on the PGA Tour and European money lists will be qualified, up from the top five in recent years.
'We have taken the opportunity to review all exemption categories with the intention of giving more emphasis to players who are in form close to the Open,' said R&A championship secretary David Hill.
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