Jimmy Walker will make his first British Open start later this month. (Getty Images/Trotman)
By Sean Martin, PGATOUR.COM
Jimmy Walker’s 71 on Sunday at The Greenbrier Classic left him two shots short of his first PGA TOUR victory, but his runner-up finish was enough for him to earn another prize.
Walker was one of five players to earn an exemption into the British Open via the FedExCup standings after The Greenbrier Classic. Billy Horschel, Boo Weekley, Russell Henley and Harris English also earned their way to Scotland's Muirfield on July 18-21 by being among the top five in the FedExCup standings who were not yet exempt for the British Open. They also had to be among the top 20 in the FedExCup standings to be eligible for the exemption.
Walker’s good play at the Greenbrier moved him from 24th to 17th in the FedExCup. At the start of the week, seven players not yet exempt for the British Open were ahead of him in the FedExCup standings. Charles Howell III, who missed The Walker will be making his first British Open appearance and his first start in a major since last year’s PGA Championship.
“I hear Muirfield is pretty awesome, so I'm excited,” Walker said. “I'll get ready.”
Horschel and Henley also will be making their British Open debuts. Harris English played his first British Open last year, finishing 54th. Weekley has played three British Opens, but none since 2009, when he finished a career-best 13th. Henley and English were teammates at the University of Georgia and on the 2011 Walker Cup team, which lost to Great Britain & Ireland at Scotland's Royal Aberdeen.
Five European Tour players – Richard Sterne, Brett Rumford, Mikko Ilonen, Thomas Bjorn and Marc Warren – qualified for the British Open via the most recent Race to Dubai standings.
Eight players also were added to the field based on the Official World Golf Ranking. The OWGR is used, if necessary, to fill the 156-player field. Greenbrier winner Jonas Blixt, Martin Laird, Fredrik Jacobson, Graham DeLaet, Kyle Stanley, Chris Wood and Ken Duke were added to the field Monday, as was Scotland's Stephen Gallacher, who got in as the first alternate after John Daly withdrew.
The winners of this week’s John Deere Classic and Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open also will earn British Open exemptions if not already in the field.