2019 British Open: A Major Championship in Ireland

When and where it happens, plus qualifying info

Hole No. 15 on the Dunluce links at Royal Portrush Golf Club
A view across the Dunluce course at Royal Portrush. David Cannon/Getty Images  

The Open Championship is one of the four major championships of men's golf and takes place annually in July. The 2019 British Open will be the 148th time the tournament is played. But it will be only the second Open played outside of Great Britain.

2019 British Open

  • Dates: July 18-21, 2019
  • Location: Royal Portrush (Dunluce Links) in Portrush, Northern Ireland
  • Ticket info
  • Defending champion: Francesco Molinari

The 2019 British Open Golf Course

Prior to 2019, only one Open in the tournament's long history was played off the island of Great Britain. And Royal Portrush was that links; in 2019, it hosts again. Royal Portrush is in Northern Ireland, founded in 1888. It has also been the site of several Amateur Championships; here are the previous majors at Royal Portrush and their winners:

  • 2014 British Amateur: Bradley Neil
  • 1993 British Amateur: Iain Pyman
  • 1960 British Amateur: Joe Carr
  • 1951 British Open: Max Faulkner

In addition, Royal Portrush has been the site of the European Tour's Irish Open on four occasions. The most recent of those took place in 2012 and Jamie Donaldson was the winner. The other three times Portrush was the Irish Open site happened prior to the 1950s. (Those champions were Harry Bradshaw in 1947, Bert Gadd in 1937 and Charles Whitcombe in 1930.)

Royal Portrush includes two 18-hole links, the Dunluce and Valley links.  The Dunluce links are the championship course and will be the site of the 2019 Open.

For daily play, the championship tees on the Dunluce course tip out at 7,337 yards. The par is 72 or 71, depending on how the 11th hole — which can play as a par-4 or par-5 — is set up. Some major and minor changes to the Dunluce course are being made prior to the 2019 Open, the most significant of which is the construction of two brand new holes, which will become the course's new seventh and eighth hole. The current holes seven through 16 will shift back two places, becoming the new holes nine through 18.

Field for the 2019 British Open

The field at Open Championships is filled partially through regional and final qualifying tournaments, and partially through exemptions from qualifying granted to tour pros who meet any of approximately 30 criteria established by the R&A. Here is a rundown of those criteria (which are subject to change prior to 2019 Open):

  • British Open winners from the previous 10 years, plus earlier Open champions age 60 or younger.
  • Golfers finishing in the Top 10 (including ties) at previous year's Open.
  • Top 50 golfers in the Official World Golf Ranking (with a specific cutoff date) and Top 30 from last season's Race to Dubai.
  • Previous three winners of the BMW PGA Championship.
  • Top 5 European Tour members in the current Top 20 of the Race to Dubai.
  • Previous five champions at the U.S. Open, The Masters and the PGA Championship.
  • Previous three winners of The Players Championship.
  • The 30 golfers who qualified for the previous season's Tour Championship on the PGA Tour.
  • Top 5 PGA Tour members not already exempt who are inside the Top 20 of the current FedEx Cup points list.
  • Members of the 2018 Ryder Cup teams.
  • Money leaders of the Asian Tour, Tour of Australasia and Sunshine Tour during the previous golf season.
  • Winner of the previous year's Japan Open.
  • Top 2 (plus ties) on the previous season's Japan Tour money list, plus the leading 2 (including ties) on the current season's Japan Tour money list.
  • Current Senior British Open champion.
  • Reigning champions of the British Amateur, U.S. Amateur and International European Amateur.
  • The Mark H McCormack Medal winner from the previous season (must remain amateur).
  • Additionally, 40+ spots in the field go to golfers who qualifying via the Open Qualifying Series tournaments at events in Europe, Asia and the United States.

View the Exemption section of TheOpen.com for more details.

And yes, golfers who meet certain criteria can enter a British Open qualifier and try to play their way into the field.