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PGA Championship special exemptions extended to Rickie Fowler, John Catlin

Rickie Fowler
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Rickie Fowler might've missed the year's first major, but he won't be sitting out the second one.

The PGA of America confirmed to NBC Sports' Will Gray on Tuesday that Fowler and John Catlin have each received special invites to play the PGA Championship on May 20-23 at Kiawah's Ocean Course.

Fowler was initially believed to be on the outside looking in for the PGA, as his 2018 U.S. Ryder Cup team exemption only applied if he stayed inside the top 100 in the Official World Golf Ranking by the May 10 cutoff date (Fowler is currently No. 111). Though there is still time for Fowler to qualify that way, some people noticed that Fowler was already listed in the official field for Kiawah.

The PGA said that Fowler and Catlin, who is No. 82 in the world, had been invited to play "based on their performances, playing records and OWGR position."

Fowler missed last month's Masters Tournament, his first missed major since the 2010 U.S. Open. He also is not yet qualified for June's U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, though he's in the Open Championship at Royal St. George's in July.