DUBLIN, Ohio – Patrick Rodgers officially unlocked PGA Tour membership Sunday at the Memorial, but he sure didn’t make it easy on himself.
A runner-up last month at the Wells Fargo Championship, Rodgers entered the week needing only nine FedEx Cup points – the equivalent of a top-60 finish – to secure special temporary membership. After rounds of 69 and 66, that appeared to be a foregone conclusion as he entered the weekend inside the top 10.
But a third-round 78 ended any chance of contention, and his final round proved even more tumultuous. Rodgers was 4 under after seven holes before playing Nos. 11-16 in 6 over, with a triple bogey on No. 16, to tumble precariously near the top-60 bubble. He rebounded with birdies on Nos. 17 and 18 to finish the tournament at 2 under and well inside the number.
“Definitely made it interesting,” Rodgers said. “I hit a lot of good shots with just the wrong club, so it was frustrating. And then obviously made a mess of 15 and 16. But proud of the way I hung in there.”
With STM status secured, Rodgers now has access to unlimited sponsor exemptions through the end of the season – the same path that Jordan Spieth used to get onto the Tour in 2013. At No. 6 on the current Web.com Tour money list, Rodgers will have a card for next season one way or another, but he plans to spend the rest of the summer focusing on the PGA Tour.
“Even though this is temporary status, I still need to get sponsor exemptions to play out here,” he said. “So I’ve been fortunate to have plenty of opportunities so far, and I need more to reach my dream of playing out here next year.”
Rodgers is making his ninth PGA Tour start of the season this week, having earned a spot by winning the Nicklaus Award last year as the top golfer in NCAA Division I. While he originally planned to play in next week’s Web.com Tour event in Cleveland, Rodgers may now instead head down to Memphis for the FedEx St. Jude Classic, which has yet to allocate its final sponsor exemption.
Rodgers is planning to play in a U.S. Open sectional qualifier Monday in Columbus, and appears to be a prime candidate for a sponsor exemption in the Travelers Championship later this month.
“I have to sit down with my manager and my team and decide my schedule going forward,” he said.