Stars show support for Open Qualifying Series

Wed 10 Dec 2014

Stars show support for Open Qualifying Series

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Chonburi, December 10: Former Open Champion Darren Clarke and reigning US Open winner Martin Kaymer believe that the Thailand Golf Championship has taken on extra significance this year with the incorporation of the Open Qualifying Series (OQS) within the tournament.
A total of four places at the 144th Open Championship, to be played next July at St Andrews, will be up for grabs at Amata Spring Country Club, the award-winning venue for this week's Asian Tour's US$1 million event, and Clarke is fully behind the initiative.
“It is the biggest and best tournament in the world – there's nothing bigger than The Open,” said Clarke, who enjoyed the finest moment of his distinguished career at The 140th Open at Royal St George’s in 2011, where he held off Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson to lift the Claret Jug amid jubilant scenes.
“I think the Qualifying Series gives the guys – as opposed to a two-day event – a longer period to perform better over the tournaments. I think it's a wonderful idea.”
The Open Qualifying Series replaced International Final Qualifying for The Open, which was introduced in 2004 and involved standalone 36-hole qualifying events. The Series gives players the opportunity to qualify at events on the Asian Tour, the Japan Golf Tour, the PGA TOUR, the European Tour, the PGA Tour of Australasia and the Sunshine Tour with a total of 44 places in The Open available.
Although Clarke and the other star names in the Thailand Golf Championship field – which includes Kaymer, defending champion Sergio Garcia, two-time Masters winner Bubba Watson, Ryder Cup heroes Lee Westwood and Victor Dubuisson and local favourite Thongchai Jaidee – are already assured of their places at St Andrews, The Open spots on offer will go to the leading four players who finish inside the top-12 who are not already exempt.
Kaymer, who is playing in Thailand for the very first time, echoed Clarke's thoughts and said the Open Qualifying Series represents a wonderful chance for Asian players to showcase their skills on the greatest golfing stage of them all.
“I think it's a great opportunity for a lot of the Asian players to follow Thongchai a little bit,” said Kaymer, who collected his second major title this summer after a dominant display at historic Pinehurst. "Obviously he has played The Open before and he knows how great it is to play that event and hopefully some of the Asian players will get that experience, too."
Ends.
About the Asian Tour
As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia. This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include Abacus (Official Apparel Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Sponsor), Oakley (Official Eyewear and Footwear Sponsor), PRG (Official Accessories Supplier), Saxo Capital Markets (Official Statistics Partner), Srixon (Official Ball), Titleist (Official Web Partner) and Rolex (Official Timekeeper). The Asian Tour has offices in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Also, visit us at www.asiantour.com, www.facebook.com/asiantourgolf, www.twitter.com/asiantourgolf, www.youtube.com/theasiantour and www.weibo.com/asiantourgolf.