ORLANDO, FLORIDA – MARCH 09: Matthew Fitzpatrick of England acknowledges the crowd after holing a putt for par on the par 3, 17th hole during the third round of the 2019 Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard at the Arnold Palmer Bay Hill Club on March 09, 2019 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
By Alex Myers
Matthew Fitzpatrick couldn’t quite pick up his first PGA Tour victory at last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational, but he’s accepted a pretty good consolation prize. On Wednesday, the PGA Tour announced the Englishman has accepted a special temporary membership for the remainder of the 2018-2019 season.
The 54-hole leader at Bay Hill finished runner-up, the best finish of his PGA Tour career, to earn enough non-member FedEx Cup points for the special temporary membership for a second straight season. Fitzpatrick is the first player to earn the membership this season.
According to the PGA Tour, Fitzpatrick was the highest-ranked (No. 33 in the Official World Golf Ranking) player without a tour membership. He is now eligible to accept an unlimited amount of sponsor exemptions into PGA Tour events for the remainder of the season (that means no more Monday qualifiers) as he tries to accumulate enough points for full membership next season. However, Fitzpatrick is still not eligible to compete in the FedEx Cup Playoffs unless he wins a PGA Tour event before they start.
Fitzpatrick is in the field at this week’s Players Championship, where he has a 2:09 p.m. ET tee time at TPC Sawgrass on Thursday. The 24-year-old and 2013 U.S. Amateur champ is already a five-time winner on the European Tour.