What You Need to Know About the 2020 British Open

The sixth green of Royal St. George's during Open Championship week.
Royal St. George's, site of the 2020 British Open.

Peter Muhly / Getty Images 

When the 2020 British Open is played on July 16-19, it will be the 149th time golf's oldest major championship takes place. The defending champion, Shane Lowry, won the 2019 Open by six strokes.

2020 British Open

  • Short Description: The 2020 British Open is the 149th playing of the Open Championship, one of the four major championships in men's professional golf.
  • Key Players: Brooks Koepka, Shane Lowry, Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Dustin Johnson
  • Start Date: July 16, 2020
  • End Date: July 19, 2020
  • Location: Royal St. George's Golf Club in Sandwich, Kent, England

How to Get Tickets

Tickets that remain available can be purchased through the official website's Tickets section. However, several options are already sold out, including final-round (Sunday) tickets, plus the weekend bundle and four-day pass packages.

Golfers hoping to go to one of the sold-out rounds should check ticket brokers on the secondary market, but expect to pay a hefty premium over the £95 face value. For example, as of September 2019, final-round tickets for the 2020 British Open were going for a minimum of $234 on VividSeats.com and $225 on Stubhub.com. Those prices will only increase as the tournament dates draw nearer.

Golf Course (Previous Opens at Royal St. George's)

Royal St. George's Golf Club is in Sandwich, Kent, England, on the southeast coast. The course has previously hosted 14 British Opens and 14 British Amateur Championships.

The first Open at Royal St. George's, in 1894, was also the first one played outside of Scotland. The golf course's championship tees for daily play stretch to 7,204 yards. The par is 70. It is open for play to the general public.

The list of previous Opens at Royal St. George's, with year, winner and score:

  • 1894: J.H. Taylor, 326
  • 1899: Harry Vardon, 310
  • 1904: Jack White, 296
  • 1911: Harry Vardon, 303
  • 1922: Walter Hagen, 300
  • 1928: Walter Hagen, 292
  • 1934: Henry Cotton, 283
  • 1938: Reg Whitcombe, 295
  • 1949: Bobby Locke, 283
  • 1981: Bill Rogers, 276
  • 1985: Sandy Lyle, 282
  • 1993: Greg Norman, 267
  • 2003: Ben Curtis, 283
  • 2011: Darren Clarke, 275

How Players Qualify for the 2020 Open Championship

Golfers get into the field of the British Open either by meeting one of many exemption criteria—which vaults them directly into the field without the need for playing a qualifying tournament—or through a series of qualifying tournaments known as the Open Qualifying Series.

The Open Qualifying Series consists of tour events on all of the world's top professional tours: the PGA Tour, the European Tour, the PGA Tour of Australasia, the Asia Tour, the Korean Tour, the Japan Golf Tour and the Sunshine Tour. When a tour event is designated part of the Open Qualifying Series, that means the top finishers in that event who have not yet gained entry into the Open are rewarded with a spot in the British Open field.

The specific tournaments in the 2020 Open Qualifying Series have not yet been announced. In 2019, the series consisted of 13 tournaments played in 11 different countries, and awarded 46 golfers their place in the Open.

In addition to the OQS, Final Qualifying is a last-chance tournament played in the U.K. about a week prior to the British Open.

Exemption Categories

The majority of golfers will get into the field for the 2020 British Open by meeting one of the exemption criteria:

  • Past Open winners and high finishers: All previous Open winners age 60 and younger are exempt from qualifying. So are the Top 10 finishers in the previous year's Open.
  • Winners of other majors and designated tournaments: The last five winners of The Masters, PGA Championship and U.S. Open get in. So do the last three winners of The Players Championship and BMW PGA Championship. The winners of the 2019 Open de Argentina, 2019 Japan Open and 2020 Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup Golf get in, too.
  • World Rankings/Tour Points lists: Golfers in the Top 50 of the world golf rankings as of Week 21 in 2020 get in. So do the Top 30 finishers on the European Tour's 2019 Race to Dubai; the Top 30 qualifiers for the PGA Tour's 2019 Tour Championship; and the Top 5 golfers (not already exempt) from the PGA Tour's 2020 Fed Ex Cup points list through the 2020 Travelers Championship. Spots also go to Order of Merit winners from 2019 on the Asian Tour, PGA Tour Australasia and Sunshine Tour; the Top 2 from the Japan Tour money list in 2019 and the highest player on the Japan Tour's 2020 list not already exempt.
  • Amateur champions: Winners of the 2020 Amateur Championship and European Amateur, plus the 2019 U.S. Amateur and Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, get in. So does the winner of the 2019 Mark H. McCormack Medal that goes to the world's top-ranked amateur golfer.
  • Others: Spots also go to the 2019 Senior Open Championship winner, plus all members of the 2019 Presidents Cup teams.