Patrick Reed was given lifetime membership to the European Tour on Friday, becoming just the fourth American player behind Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Tom Watson to receive the honor.
According to European Tour CEO Keith Pelley, Reed was bestowed lifetime membership thanks to his win at the Masters.
“Patrick’s masterful performance at Augusta National last April was full of character and determination, which is everything we’ve come to expect from him," Pelley said. “Patrick is a global player who has fully embraced the European Tour and he has been extremely popular with our fans wherever he has played because of that.”
The timing of the award is curious. Nicklaus, Palmer and Watson were honored in retirement, while the 28-year-old Reed is in the prime of his career. Some fans online speculated why players like Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson—with 19 major victories between them, including four Open Championships—have not received this title. While the defense could be made that Reed, unlike Woods and Mickelson, has held Euro Tour membership, it then raises the question why Brooks Koepka was left out. Koepka, who's captured three majors in the past two seasons, began his career on the Euro circuit, winning the tour's Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year in 2014, and continues to make a handful of Euro Tour appearances.
Even Euro Tour player Eddie Pepperell seemed confused by the move. "Despite Patrick being a fantastic player, this feels odd," Pepperell wrote on Twitter.
For his part, Reed finished second in the Race to Dubai last fall, becoming the highest-ranking American in the Euro Tour's postseason standings.
“For the European Tour to have faith in me and give me this opportunity means everything," Reed said. "I hope to show everyone and show the tour how proud I am and represent the tour really well in the game of golf."
Reed becomes the 55th player to receive lifetime designation. Prior to Reed, the latest honoree was Francesco Molinari, who was granted the title in December.
Reed is playing in this week's Euro Tour-sanctioned Saudi International.