Sydney - Double Major winning Rory McIlroy may have no concern for some time in being exempt into golf's oldest major but it hasn't stopped him lending his support to the new British Open Championship Qualifying Series.
The famed Claret Jug has been on display all week on the first tee of this week's Australian Open host course at Royal Sydney.
The R&A has abandoned a series of 36-hole International Final Qualifiers around the globe and instead selected four national open's (Australian, Irish, French and Scottish) plus a number of other events including two on the PGA Tour where players can now gain entry into the Open Championship through a 72-hole tournament.
The 2013 Australian Open is the first of the new Qualifiers and with the top three place-getters inside the top-10 at the close of the event, and not otherwise exempt, will earn a place in next year's Open Championship at Hoylake.
"It's a great new idea and a much better opportunity for players to try and qualify for The Open," said McIlroy after moving to within two shots of the lead on the second day of the Australian Open.
"Staging a 36-hole qualifier, as the R&A has been doing for a few years now, on the Monday ahead of a regular tournament is not the ideal preparation heading into a tournament like the Irish Open, so to merge qualifying into a 72-hole event makes more sense.
"It's a lot fairer system I feel and also to have three spots available into The Open in events such as the Irish Open is a huge lift for those competing."
McIlroy is not only looking for a first success this season but if triumphant in Sydney he will be only the second European to lift the Stonehaven Trophy.