The PGA TOUR announced today that Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Joaquin Niemann of Chile have accepted Special Temporary Membership for the remainder of the 2017-18 PGA TOUR Season.
Kiradech and Niemann, who are both in this week’s FedEx St. Jude Classic field, bring the total number of active international PGA TOUR members to 87 from 27 countries. Both players needed to earn 269 non-member FedExCup points to become eligible for Special Temporary Membership, equal to the number of points earned by the player at No. 150 in last season’s FedExCup standings.
Kiradech, 28, is the first native of Thailand to accept PGA TOUR membership. In eight PGA TOUR starts in 2017-18, he has two top-five finishes – a pair of T5s at the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship and the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. He surpassed the required total of 269 non-member FedExCup points following a T30 at THE PLAYERS Championship. Most recently, he finished T13 at the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide, bringing his total to 340.
Kiradech came into the 2017-18 PGA TOUR Season ranked 147th in the Official World Golf Ranking. Following his T13 at the Memorial, he climbed to No. 31.
In 34 career starts on the PGA TOUR, Kiradech has collected five top-10s, highlighted by a T3 showing at the 2013 CIMB Classic. He is the winner of five international titles, most recently the 2018 ISPS HANDA World Super 6 in Perth, Australia on the European Tour.
At 19 years, 6 months, 28 days, Niemann is the youngest player since Sergio Garcia in 1999 (19 years, 4 months, 29 days) to accept Special Temporary Membership on the PGA TOUR.
The former No. 1-ranked amateur in the world made his professional debut at the 2018 Valero Texas Open, finishing sixth. In five starts as a professional during the 2017-18 season, the 19-year-old has three top-10s, and most recently held shares of the 18- and 36-hole leads at the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide en route to a tie for sixth.
Niemann becomes the only current member from Chile. He won 23 tournaments as an amateur and was the Mark H. McCormack Medal winner in 2017 as the top-ranked player in the World Amateur Golf Ranking.
As Special Temporary Members, Kiradech and Niemann are eligible for unlimited sponsor exemptions for the remainder of the 2017-18 season as they attempt to earn PGA TOUR cards for the 2018-19 season through the Non-member FedExCup Points List.
Special Temporary Members are not eligible for the FedExCup Playoffs, but Special Temporary Members or non-members who subsequently become regular PGA TOUR members by winning an official event during the season will be counted on the FedExCup points list, along with any FedExCup points earned as a non-member (excluding those won at World Golf Championships events as a non-member) and thus be eligible for the FedExCup Playoffs.
To earn their cards for 2018-19 PGA TOUR Season, both players will need to match or surpass the points earned by the 125th ranked player at the end of the current season.