Bryson DeChambeau not yet eligible for U.S. Ryder Cup points
In his first start as a professional, Bryson DeChambeau had a week to remember in Hilton Head at the RBC Heritage.
Thanks to Sunday's final-round 68, DeChambeau, the 2015 U.S. Amateur and NCAA National Champion – playing on a sponsor exemption – finished in a tie for fourth.
Why then, perhaps you're wondering, is DeChambeau's name nowhere to be found in the latest U.S. Ryder Cup points standings?
Taking into account the qualifying process for U.S. players, which – in part – states that players receive 1 point for every $1,000 earned in 2016 regular PGA Tour events, you may have expected to see DeChambeau's name at No. 74 on the most up to date points list. But that isn't the case.
And there's a good reason. In order to collect Ryder Cup points, PGA of America Senior Director of Membership Services Tom Brawley explained to us that "a player must have an A-3 PGA of America Member Classification."
An A-3 classification is reserved for "Exempt PGA Tour, Champions Tour, Nationwide Tour, LPGA Tour and Futures Tour players."
While DeChambeau is a professional now, he's playing on sponsor exemptions and does not have official status on the PGA Tour, which means he is ineligible for PGA A-3 status at this time.
It is possible, however, that DeChambeau could earn status on Tour depending on how he finishes events prior to the PGA Championship that would make him an A-3 member.
"One week after taking low amateur honors at the Masters, DeChambeau earned a check for $259,600 along with 123 FedEx Cup points [at the RBC Heritage]," Brawley said. "Both will go a long way toward securing his status for the rest of the season and beyond, as DeChambeau needs to accrue at least 361 FedExCup points to earn special temporary membership that would bring with it unlimited sponsor invites this season."
Brawley noted that per the PGA Tour DeChambeau still has six sponsor invitations at his disposal. He planned on using one of them this week for the Valero Texas Open, but – by virtue of his top-10 finish on Hilton Head – he gained entry into the Texas Open without needing to use an exemption. If a non-exempt player finishes inside the top 10 at a PGA Tour event, he automatically earns a spot in the following week's field, provided it isn't a major, a World Golf Championships event, or an invitational. If that's the scenario, the player gets a spot in the next "regular" PGA Tour event on the schedule.
This isn't anything new. As Brawley explained, two-time major winner Jordan Spieth found himself in a similar scenario in 2013.
"Speith had gained temporary status on Tour in March of 2013, then full status when he won the John Deere Classic in July of 2013, and was able to be elected to A-3 prior to the 2013 PGA Championship, which he then played in," Brawley said.
Spieth went on to qualify for the 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup team at No. 7 in the final standings when points closed that year for automatic qualifiers at the PGA Championship.
Lastly, Brawley pointed out that DeChambeau's efforts until he potentially gains A-3 classification are not for naught when it comes to the Ryder Cup.
"His Ryder Cup points are being held in abeyance and would be awarded retroactively should be gain A-3 classification," he said.