Crane needs help to get into British Open field

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SILVIS, Ill. – Ben Crane needs help to get into the British Open next week, but as first alternate he’s ready to make a 4,000-mile gamble he’ll make it into the field.

With Jason Day announcing Wednesday that he is withdrawing from the British Open to stay home with his wife and their newborn son, Crane’s chances improve. And with Webb Simpson expected to withdraw for the same reason, Crane will be helped yet again.

But with the 156-player British Open field “overbooked” with qualifiers, Crane’s chances of getting in remain uncertain. Still, he’s planning to get on the private charter Sunday night in the Quad Cities and fly to the British Open with 23 other players who have already qualified.

“The way it’s been figured out, I’m actually third alternate right now, even though I’m the first alternate,” Crane said after playing the John Deere Classic pro-am on Wednesday. “The British Open’s field size right now is 158, and that’s taking out Jason Day and Webb Simpson. The British Open doesn't take alternates until the field size reaches 155, I believe. So, I need three people to fall out of the field.”

The British Open is reserving one spot for a best finisher among the top five at the John Deere Classic who isn’t already qualified for the year’s third major. If Sunday’s top five at TPC Deere Run are all already qualified for the British Open, that helps Crane.

Crane is planning to take the 4,000-mile flight to England uncertain if he will get a chance to play. At majors, withdrawals occur less.

“I know Brian Davis has gone over and been first alternate all week and not gotten in,” Crane said. “It is a major championship. For the most part, even if guys are hurt, they are going to try to play two or three holes before they WD.

“If it was another tournament, I probably would just stay home, but it’s one of the biggest tournaments in the world and, of course, very rooted in the history of the golf. So I’m definitely going to give it a go.”