Jonas Blixt, Martin Laird among 18 players added to Open Championship
Eighteen players have gained exemptions into the Open Championship at Muirfield through money lists on the European and PGA Tours and others because of their Official World Golf Ranking.
Richard Sterne, Brett Rumford, Mikko Ilonen, Thomas Bjorn and Marc Warren qualify off the European Tour money list. Billy Horschel, Boo Weekly, Russell Henley, Jimmy Walker and Harris English earn spots for Muirfield off the FedEx Cup rankings.
The European quintet gain automatic exemptions under Open Championship Category 8 as the first five players tying for fifth place, not otherwise exempt, in the top 20 of the Race to Dubai on completion of the French Open. The PGA Tour five qualify under Category 15 as the first five PGA Tour members tying for fifth place, not exempt, in the top 20 of the PGA Tour FedEx Cup points list on completion of The Greenbrier Classic.
Also added on Monday morning were Jonas Blixt, Martin Laird, Fredrik Jacobson, Marc Leishman, Graham DeLaet, Kyle Stanley, Chris Wood and Ken Duke because of their Official World Golf Ranking.
Sterne finished four shots off the lead in second place at last week’s French Open after winning his sixth European Tour event at the Joburg Open in February. The 32-year-old South African finished tied for 34th at The Open in 2009. He is currently fourth on the European money list.
Rumford is fifth on the European Order of Merit. The Australian has five European Tour wins, including back-to-back victories this year in the Ballantine’s Championship in Korea and the Volvo China Open. His best finish in The Open was T-16 at Royal Liverpool in 2006.
Ilonen claimed his third European Tour title at the Nordea Masters in Sweden in June. The Finn won the British Amateur Championship in 2000 at Royal Liverpool, and then finished T-9 at The Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes the following year. He sits eighth on the European money list.
Bjorn will play in his 16th Open Championship. He’s finished second twice, at St. Andrews in 2000 and Royal St. George’s in 2003. He might have won 10 years ago if not for three shots from a greenside bunker on the par-3 16th hole en route to a double-bogey five. He lost by a stroke to Ben Curtis. The 42-year-old was runner-up at the BMW International Open in Germany and the Lyoness Open in Austria last month. He lies 13th on the European order of merit.
Warren was T-2 at this year’s BMW PGA Championship and is 17th on the European money list. The Scot will make his Open Championship debut at Muirfield.
Horschel won his maiden event on the PGA Tour at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in April. He is fifth on the FedEx Cup list.
Former Ryder Cup player Weekley won the Crowne Plaza Invitational in May. He finished T-13 at The Open in 2009. He is ninth on the FedEx Cup table.
Henley won the Sony Open in Hawaii in January. The former University of Georgia player lies 14th on the FedEx standings.
Walker finished joint runner-up at the Greenbrier Classic last week and moved to 17th in the FedEx race. The 34-year-old will make his Open debut at Muirfield.
English won the FedEx St. Jude Classic last month and is 18th on the FedEx table. The 23-year-old, who played in the 2011 Walker Cup at Royal Aberdeen, made his Open debut at Royal Lytham & St. Annes last year and placed 54th.