Exemptions and Qualifying Events
The field for the tournament is 144, and golfers may gain a place in three ways. The overwhelming majority of the field is made up of leading players who are given exemptions. The rest of the field is made up of players who were successful in "Final Qualifying".
There were fourteen "exemption" categories as of 2011. Among the more significant are:
- The top 15 (and ties) from the previous year's Women's British Open.
- The top 10 Ladies European Tour members in the Women's World Golf Rankings who did not finish in the top 15 of the previous year's event.
- The top 30 LPGA members in the Women's World Golf Rankings who did not finish in the top 15 of the previous year's event.
- The top 25 on the current year's LET money list not already exempt from the previous year's event or the world rankings. (Before the world rankings were incorporated into qualifying, this category consisted of the top 35 on the money list.)
- The top 40 on the current year's LPGA Tour money list not already exempt from the previous year's event or the world rankings. (Before the world rankings were incorporated into qualifying, this category consisted of the top 70 on the money list.)
- The top 5 on the current year's LPGA of Japan Tour money list not already exempt from the previous year's event, or through the world rankings if they are also members of the LET or U.S. LPGA. (Note that these six categories have accounted for approximately 125 entries — or 5/6ths of the players in the final field.)
- Winners of any recognised LET or LPGA events in the current calendar year.
- The champions from the last 10 editions of the Women's British Open.
- The champions of the last 5 editions of one of the other three LPGA majors.
"Final Qualifying" is the traditional way for non-exempt players to win a place at the Women's British Open, although it has become much less meaningful since the tournament became an official LPGA event in 1994. In 2011, an 18-hole pre-qualifying competition was held two weeks before the Open, followed by an 18-hole final qualifying competition the Monday before the Open.
In addition, to permit overseas qualifying, five spots have been awarded to the top five entrants not otherwise qualified who won the highest places at the LPGA's Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic in the Toledo suburb of Sylvania, Ohio. However, this qualifying method is subject to change in 2011, as that tournament will go on a one-year hiatus. Three spots are also awarded to the three LET members who finish highest in the Finnair Masters and not otherwise qualified.
The Women's World Golf Rankings have only recently begun to play a significant role in qualifying. See full list of exempt categories and qualifying rules for the 2011 tournament.
Read more about this topic: Women's British Open
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