The Royal and Ancient are introducing a new nine hole event to be played just before the start of the Open Championship. Thirty amateur players from 13 qualifying competitions across Scotland will play nine holes of the championship course. The idea is to boost participation and to encourage the nine hole format as a valid form of play. The competiton will be open to men and women, boys and girls and in 2017 will expand to include clubs from all over Great Britain and Ireland vying for the 30 places. Three time major champion Padraig Harrington said that it is a wonderful opportunity for regional amateur golfers to play the championship course in top condition before the best golfers in the world compete and to reinforce the message that nine hole golf is a popular alternative for those with busy lives.