PGA Championship: Joaquín Niemann receives special exemption to Bellerive
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Joaquín Niemann had to renounce invitations to the U.S. and British Opens this summer, losing his McCormack Medal exemption upon turning professional in April. The move proved to be astute: in just eight starts on the PGA Tour, the 19-year-old was able to secure his tour card for the 2019 season. Unfortunately for Niemann, unless he wins this week's RBC Canadian Open, the Barracuda Championship or the Wyndham Championship, his season will come to a close, as he is not allowed to compete in the tour's FedEX Cup Playoffs due to his status as a special temporary member.
However, according to father, Niemann will receive a final parting gift for his extraordinary run, one that hopefully alleviates the sting of surrendering the Open invites. Niemann's father told the Chilean Golf Federation and the Latin America Golf Channel that the fledgling star has received an invitation to play in this year's PGA Championship.
"Yes, this afternoon the PGA of America confirmed that Joaquín received a special invitation to the tournament," said Jorge Niemann to Latin America Golf Channel. "The plan now is for Joaquín to play those tournaments and then return to Chile for three weeks."
If true—the PGA Championship field has not reflected Niemann's invitation, and a Golf Digest request to the PGA of America for confirmation has not been returned—Niemann would be the first Chilean to compete for the Wanamaker Trophy. (Update: "Mr. Niemann is now indeed a member of the field after receiving a special invitation," said a PGA of American spokesperson. "We look forward to seeing him in a few weeks at Bellerive Country Club.")
This won't be Niemann's first major appearance. He qualified for last year's U.S. Open at Erin Hills, and received a Masters berth thanks to winning the Latin America Amateur Championship. Niemann missed the cut in both outings.
For the campaign, Niemann has four top 10s and six top 25s, highlighted by a T-5 at the Greenbrier. He is scheduled to play with Byeong Hun An and Blayne Barber at Glen Abbey in the Canadian Open's first two rounds.
This year's PGA Championship will be conducted at Bellerive , just outside St. Louis, beginning on August 9. Justin Thomas is the reigning champ.