By Alex Myers
Matthew Fitzpatrick is one of the most decorated 24-year-olds the golf world has ever seen. The 2013 U.S. Amateur champ already has five European Tour titles and in 2016 became one of the youngest Ryder Cup competitors in the event’s history. But even with all that under his narrow belt and an Official World Golf Ranking comfortably in the top 50, Fitzpatrick will tee it up in a PGA Tour Monday qualifier in a couple weeks.
The Englishman released his upcoming schedule on Tuesday and it’s one of the most bizarre three-week schedules you’ll ever see for a golfer of his caliber. Check out the Monday qualifier for the Genesis Open that’s sandwiched between starts at Pebble Beach and a World Golf Championship:
AT&T Invitational Pro-Am
Week off (Monday Qual for Genesis)
— Matt Fitzpatrick (@MattFitz94) January 29, 2019
in Rome on this side of the Atlantic, right?
Of course, the oddest part is Fitzpatrick not being in the Genesis field despite being in the much, much, much more exclusive WGC-Mexico Championship. With no cut and big money along with big world ranking points at stake, the WGC events are a coveted invite, even one which Tiger Woods was shut out of until he returned to the top 50 of the OWGR last year.
So why does Fitzpatrick have to attempt the Monday qualifying route? It’s simple. He doesn’t have PGA Tour status and the annual tour stop at Riviera is very popular. Last year, Fitzpatrick joined the PGA Tour as a special temporary member, but he failed to earn his tour card for the 2018-2019 season through the non-member FedEx Cup points list. Fitzpatrick’s only PGA Tour start so far this season came in October at another World Golf Championship, the WGC-HSBC Champions, where he finished T-54.
Speaking of Woods, he’s the host of the Genesis Open. And this just happens to be Fitzpatrick’s Twitter cover image. . .
Guess Matt didn’t lobby hard enough for a sponsor exemption.
In any event, we wish Fitzpatrick good luck these next few weeks, but especially at the Monday qualifier. Those things are brutal.