10 surprising players you won’t see at The Open Championship

Fireball's GC's Sergio Garcia reacts on the 5th during day three of the LIV Golf League at the Centurion Club, Hertfordshire. Picture date: Sunday July 9, 2023.

Sergio Garcia at LIV London. He'll miss his first Open this year since 1997.

Getty Images

Like the U.S. Open, which is often described as golf’s most democratic championship, The Open Championship also features qualifying, albeit on a much smaller scale, with 19 spots available into the championship.

This ultimately means several names you might expect to be exempt into the year’s final major aren’t because there are fewer exemptions. Additionally, this year, because LIV Golf events still do not award Official World Golf Ranking points, many LIV golfers found themselves outside the top 50 cutoff.

Some tried qualifying and some did not.

Other players are out of this week’s return to Royal Liverpool due to injury or other reasons.

Here are 10 of the biggest names you won’t see at Hoylake this weekend.

Sergio Garcia

After playing his way into the U.S. Open last month through final qualifying, the 2017 Masters Champion was not as fortunate across the pond. He ended up falling three shots short in his final qualifier at West Lancs. Garcia will miss his first Open Championship since 1997, when he was just 17 years old.

Lee Westwood

As if Garcia’s run wasn’t impressive enough, until this week, Westwood had played in every Open Championship since 1995! The 50-year-old LIV golfer did enjoy a bit of a career renaissance at the beginning of the decade, winning the 2020 Race to Dubai title, and contending a number of times on the PGA Tour in the spring of 2022. However, after joining LIV Golf, he is down to 395th in the world and hasn’t played a major since last July.

Ian Poulter

Majesticks GC's Ian Poulter during day two of the LIV Golf League at the Centurion Club, Hertfordshire. Picture date: Saturday July 8, 2023.
Ian Poulter at LIV London. Getty Images

The third of the three former European Ryder Cup stalwarts who joined LIV Golf, Poulter also last played a major at St. Andrews last summer. Like Westwood, he did not attempt final qualifying.

Will Zalatoris

Zalatoris was in England last week, but not to play golf. Zalatoris withdrew right before the Masters and had back surgery later that week. He’s out through the end of the season, but he did recently announce he can begin chipping again. The same post also shared a picture of him taking in Wimbledon.

Mito Pereira

The Chilean LIV Golfer played in the year’s first three majors but is now down to No. 59 in the Official World Golf Rankings. That was enough to get him into the U.S. Open via the top-60 exemption, but the Open only takes the top 50.

Michael Block

The PGA Championship club pro darling took a stab at final qualifying, but unlike his attempt at U.S. Open final qualifying, didn’t contend. The 47-year-old, who finished T15 at Oak Hill, shot rounds of 77-76 at Dundonald.

Webb Simpson

Webb Simpson of Charlotte, North Carolina during the second round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic at the Detroit Country Club on Friday, June 30, 2023 in Detroit, Michigan.
Webb Simpson at the Rocket Mortgage Classic. Getty Images

The 2012 U.S. Open and 2018 Players Champion missed his first major since 2012 when he didn’t qualify for the Masters in April. He badly missed the cut at the PGA Championship and didn’t make the field at LACC either. He has recorded just one top-10 this season and has missed more cuts than made.

Marc Leishman

The six-time PGA Tour winner also hasn’t played a major since last year’s Open Championship after leaving the Tour for LIV Golf. The Aussie could have qualified for this year’s final major by qualifying for the Tour Championship before leaving for LIV Golf, but his 2022 season ended at the BMW Championship.

Matt Kuchar

(Kuchar is an alternate for the field)

The 45-year-old made the field at the PGA Championship and U.S. Open this year, but like Pereira, a ranking of 58th in the OWGR leaves him just on the outside looking in. He hasn’t played the year’s final major since 2021.

Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods of the USA walking up to the 18th green during the third round of the 2023 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 08, 2023 in Augusta, Georgia.
Tiger Woods hasn’t played since the Masters Getty Images

Woods won his most recent of three Open Championship titles in 2006 at Hoylake and had an emotional *potential* farewell to St. Andrews a year ago at the 150th Open. He looked as though he would return to England for an Open for the first time since the 2014 edition at the beginning of 2023, but he withdrew at the Masters in the middle of the third round, had ankle surgery and hasn’t played since.

Jack Hirsh

Golf.com Editor

Jack Hirsh is an assistant editor at GOLF. A Pennsylvania native, Jack is a 2020 graduate of Penn State University, earning degrees in broadcast journalism and political science. He was captain of his high school golf team and recently returned to the program to serve as head coach. Jack also still *tries* to remain competitive in local amateurs. Before joining GOLF, Jack spent two years working at a TV station in Bend, Oregon, primarily as a Multimedia Journalist/reporter, but also producing, anchoring and even presenting the weather. He can be reached at jack.hirsh@golf.com.



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