Bjorn leads British Open exemptions

The Dane is one of 10 players who have secured places in next week’s third major of the season

Thomas Bjorn. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

Thomas Bjorn. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA Wire


Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn has confirmed his 16th appearance at the British Open as he and nine others qualified after securing exemptions.

The 42-year-old, who tied for second in 2000 and led the 2003 tournament by two shots with three to play, only to take three to get out of a bunker and hand the title to unknown Ben Curtis, has qualified via his position in the Race to Dubai.

Scotland’s Marc Warren will make his Open debut as his joint-second at the BMW PGA Championship in May meant he was high enough up the rankings to earn a place.

Three other European Tour players — South African Richard Sterne, Australian Brett Rumford and Swede Mikko Ilonen — also clinched their spots the same way.

Joining them will be five PGA Tour counterparts who made the grade via their places in the FedEx Cup rankings.

Florida’s Billy Horschel, who enjoyed his breakthrough win at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in April and finished fourth at last month’s US Open, will make his debut as will 34-year-old Jimmy Walker, courtesy of his runners-up spot at the Greenbrier Classic yesterday, and Sony Open winner Russell Henley.

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Ex-United States Walker Cup player Harris English will also play at Muirfield, having finished joint 54th at Royal Lytham and St Annes last year.

A further eight have secured their places in the 142nd Open Championship as the highest-ranked non-exempt players in the world golf rankings at the end of last week.

Swedish duo Jonas Blixt and Fredrik Jacobsen, Scotland’s Martin Laird, Australian Marc Leishman, Canada’s Graham DeLaet, American pair Kyle Stanley and Ken Duke and England’s Chris Wood have all been handed spots.