Bryson DeChambeau has had a decorated collegiate and amateur golfing career. Through his unique outlook and unorthodox golf equipment -- with jumbo grips and constant-length shafts -- the 22-year old has become the most famous amateur golfer since Tiger Woods. DeChambeau, 22, has backed up his quirkiness with some amazing recent performances, like finishing runner-up at the Australian Masters, or posting a first round 64 to lead the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
After DeChambeau hits the world stage this April at Augusta, he will turn pro and try and go the sponsor exemption route to getting his PGA Tour card. Under PGA Tour rules, he is allowed to receive a maximum of seven sponsor exemptions. Add to that the invitations into the Memorial and Quicken Loans National, that came with his 2015 U.S. Amateur win, and it gives the Californian a total of nine events to earn enough money for a 2017 PGA Tour card.
It has been reported that DeChambeau, has received the first sponsor exemption to next months RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links. The event will take place from April 11-17.
“From what I’m hearing and seeing and reading from other professionals and others, he’s the real deal,” tournament director Steve Wilmot told local Hilton Head, SC newspaper The Island Packet. “We’re certainly looking forward to him playing here.”
DeChambeau the defending U.S. Amateur and NCAA champion has been showing signs of turning pro since last September when he left SMU. The school's golf program was sanctioned by the NCAA and as a result not allowed to compete in the postseason this year. He is just one of five players in history to hold both titles at the same time.
The most recent was Ryan Moore in 2004 and the first was Jack Nicklaus in 1961. The other two are Phil Mickelson in 1990 and Tiger Woods in 1996.
Since leaving SMU DeChambeau has successfully competed all around the world. In January he turned heads when he posted his first-round leading 64 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, ahead of most of the world's top pros who were in the field. Rickie Fowler eventually won the event that included a world-class field.
Earning a PGA Tour card via sponsor exemptions isn't as rare as it may seem. Jordan Spieth famously won the 2013 John Deere Classic as a 19-year old while playing under sponsor exemption to earn his PGA Tour card.