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2017 British Open field: Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth lead qualifiers at Royal Birkdale

The Open Championship has arrived! It is the oldest, most unique major championship in the game. It is also the most diverse and international field of all the majors thanks to an almost year-long qualifying process that offers berths into the field on all six inhabited continents.

The Open Qualifying Series, as it is now officially branded, started last November at the Australian Open, one of the premier events Down Under. And it ended late Sunday night in the middle of America at the John Deere Classic in the Quad Cities region, where Bryson DeChambeau made a furious back nine charge to earn his first ever berth into The Open.

DeChambeau rounds the field out at an even 156 players on Monday morning. That’s where the field will stay, matching the U.S. Open and PGA Championship as the largest field in golf. The Masters takes a much different approach and starts to have a panic attack if their field may approach and exceed triple digits. And if someone drops out at the Masters, there are no alternates waiting in the wings to fill in and take the spot. The invitees are who they are and they do not change.

At the British Open, alternates are at the ready, including James Hahn, who left San Francisco for one long-ass flight to Manchester without a guarantee that he’ll ever hit a ball that counts at Birkdale.

There are no high-profile injury concerns so Hahn may be on a plane back Thursday before hitting a shot, but you have to admire his efforts.

While there are many overlapping ways in which a field is built at the majors (e.g. winners of the other majors from the past five years), each has their own unique swath of exemptions that make up its identity. As noted above, the Masters has its exclusiveness and small size. The U.S. Open fills up half its field with sectional…

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