Uncover the 10 players absent from The Open Championship – Missed out on the fairway?
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Uncover the 10 players absent from The Open Championship – Missed out on the fairway?

open championship

In a departure from expectations, the upcoming edition of The Open Championship at Hoylake will be devoid of several notable golfing icons. Despite being hailed as golf’s most democratic championship, akin to the U.S. Open, The Open Championship features its own qualifying system, albeit on a smaller scale, offering only 19 available spots into the tournament. Consequently, a number of prominent players who would normally expect exemptions into the year’s final major have been denied entry due to the limited number of exemptions.

Adding to the challenge this year is the fact that LIV Golf events, which many golfers participate in, do not grant Official World Golf Ranking points. As a result, several LIV golfers found themselves outside the top 50 cutoff required for qualification into The Open Championship. While some attempted to qualify, others decided not to participate. In addition, several players will be absent from this week’s return to Royal Liverpool due to injuries or other personal circumstances.

Here are ten of the most notable names that will be missing from the competition at Hoylake:

  1. Sergio Garcia: Having successfully played his way into the U.S. Open through final qualifying, the 2017 Masters Champion was not as fortunate in his attempt across the pond. Falling three shots short in his final qualifier at West Lancs, Garcia will miss The Open Championship for the first time since he was just 17 years old in 1997.
  2. Lee Westwood: Westwood’s absence is a notable one, considering he had participated in every Open Championship since 1995. The 50-year-old LIV golfer experienced a resurgence in his career at the beginning of the decade, winning the 2020 Race to Dubai title and contending in several PGA Tour events in the spring of 2022. However, his decision to join LIV Golf has seen his world ranking plummet to 395th, and he has not competed in a major since July of the previous year.
  3. Ian Poulter: Another former European Ryder Cup stalwart who joined LIV Golf, Poulter last played in a major tournament at St. Andrews in the previous summer. Similar to Westwood, he did not attempt final qualifying for The Open Championship.
  4. Will Zalatoris: While Zalatoris was present in England recently, his visit was unrelated to golf. Withdrawing just before the Masters, he underwent back surgery later that week. His recovery is expected to extend until the end of the season, but he recently announced his ability to resume chipping, sharing a picture of himself attending the Wimbledon tournament.
  5. Mito Pereira: As a LIV Golfer hailing from Chile, Pereira participated in the first three majors of the year. However, his descent to 59th in the Official World Golf Rankings proved insufficient to secure a spot in The Open Championship, which requires a top-50 ranking. Nevertheless, he managed to qualify for the U.S. Open based on the top-60 exemption.
  6. Michael Block: Known for his impressive performance as a club pro at the PGA Championship, Block tried his hand at final qualifying for The Open Championship but fell short, unlike his successful attempt at U.S. Open final qualifying. With disappointing rounds of 77-76 at Dundonald, the 47-year-old failed to meet the qualifying criteria.
  7. Webb Simpson: The winner of the 2012 U.S. Open and the 2018 Players Championship experienced his first major absence since 2012 after failing to qualify for the Masters in April. Simpson struggled at the PGA Championship and did not make the cut at LACC either. With just one top-10 finish this season and more missed cuts than successful ones, it has been a challenging year for him.
  8. Marc Leishman: Having left the PGA Tour to join LIV Golf, Leishman has not participated in a major tournament since the previous year’s Open Championship. Although he had the opportunity to qualify for this year’s final major by participating in the Tour Championship before making the transition, his 2022 season ended at the BMW Championship.
  9. Matt Kuchar: While Kuchar remains an alternate for The Open Championship, his ranking of 58th in the Official World Golf Rankings leaves him narrowly outside the cutoff. Although he managed to secure a place in the PGA Championship and U.S. Open this year, he has not competed in the year’s final major since 2021.
  10. Tiger Woods: Woods, a three-time winner of The Open Championship, including his most recent victory in 2006 at Hoylake, had a poignant potential farewell at St. Andrews during last year’s 150th Open. It seemed likely that he would make his return to England for an Open Championship for the first time since the 2014 edition at the start of 2023. However, he withdrew from the Masters in the midst of the third round, underwent ankle surgery, and has been absent from competition ever since.

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