The Royal & Ancient are due to announce that, as of 2009, the Open Championship will exempt the top 30 players from the FedEx Cup standings.

The PGA Tour’s season-ending extravaganza was somewhat of an anticlimax when Camilo Villegas won a dead rubber affair last week – after Vijay Singh had claimed the first two play-offs.

But the prospect of 30 players qualifying automatically for one of the game’s most coveted trophies, will add even more value to the play-offs, besides the multi-million pound bonuses.

American duo Briny Baird and Ken Duke will be lining up at Turnberry next year after their top 30 finishes – Baird making his debut, and Duke his first Open Championship appearance since 1997.

In the past, just the top 20 on the Tours’ Money Lists were relieved of qualifying duties, but now the top 30 from the FedEx Cup standings will join the top 30 from Europe’s new Race to Dubai standings.

Although most of those players missing out will undoubtedly qualify through other means, such as world ranking or past performances in the Open Championship, this qualification procedure will provide an extra incentive to reach The Tour Championship.