2016 British Open Field: McIlroy, Spieth Headline Qualifiers at Troon
By Brendan Porath
The field for the 145th Open Championship is now set, with the last four players completing the 156-man group for Royal Troon. The final four punched their ticket via the Scottish Open on Sunday afternoon. Initially, there was a qualifying spot up for grabs at the Greenbrier Classic, but the PGA Tour cancelled that event due to the devastating floods in West Virginia. That spot shifted to last week's Barracuda Championship in Reno, the opposite-field event to the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
The last four players in the field are Tyrrell Hatton, Nicolas Colsaerts, Matteo Manassero and Richie Ramsay. As you'd expect from a Scottish Open, they're all European Tour regulars. Manassero was, at one time, an amateur and teenage phenom expected to do big things. He's had some success, to be sure -- this is not some flop. But after four early wins on the European Tour, he's wandered in the wilderness in recent years, tumbling from the world rankings and losing exemptions to the majors and biggest events. He was always a lock to have a spot in the top tournaments, but that's not been the case recently. So it was good to see him shoot up the leaderboard at Castle Stuart and finish high enough to earn a late invite to The Open Championship (the first four players, not already exempt, finishing inside the top 12 of the Scottish Open got the spots)
Colsaerts is another talented Euro we haven't heard much from in recent years. He plays almost exclusively overseas, but did crush American hopes in Chicago at the 2012 Ryder Cup. That's how most American golf fans came to know him and he's not been much of a factor on the worldwide golf scene since then. His last win came at the 2012 Volvo Match Play. But the Belgian can still crush it as far as anyone off the tee and shot an inward 30 on Sunday afternoon to get a spot in the field of his third Open.
There can, of course, be a withdrawal or two in the practice rounds this week. The Americans who were iffy have already taken their names out of the field before making the trip. Brooks Koepka was the last to do so, pulling out on Saturday afternoon with an ankle injury, the same one that forced him to walk off in the middle of the Bridgestone. The No. 16 player in the world joined Daniel Berger, Stewart Cink, Tiger Woods and Billy Hurley III as other Americans not making the trip for a few different reasons. South Africa's Jaco Van Zyl withdrew from both The Open and the PGA Championship to rest up and focus on the Olympics, which is quite a departure from all the other players from his country withdrawing for either apathy or Zika fears (Charl Schwartzel, Louis Oosthuizen, Branden Grace).
Here's the full 156-man field, broken up by the different exemptions set out by the R&A. Each player is listed just once under the first exemption they fall under on The Open's list -- e.g. Rory McIlroy is exempt in seven different ways, but listed here just once under the first exemption: past Open Champions.
Past Open Championship winners (60 and younger)
Top 10 (including ties) from 2015 Open Championship
First 50 in World Rankings
Top 30 in European Tour's "Race to Dubai" Playoff Standings
Miguel Angel Jimenez
First 5 (and ties) Euro Tour members in Race to Dubai Standings at end of June 2016, not otherwise exempt
Andrew "Beef" Johnston
Qualifiers for PGA Tour's FedExCup finale -- 2015 TOUR Championship
First 5 (and ties) PGA Tour members in FedExCup Standings at end of June 2016, not otherwise exempt
Winners of the other three majors from the past 5 years
Playing Members of the 2015 Presidents Cup teams
2015 Australasia Tour Order of Merit winner