ORLANDO, Fla. – Francesco Molinari of Italy tied for fifth at Bay Hill, leaving him 39 FedExCup points away from being able to take up special temporary membership on the PGA Tour. That would allow him unlimited exemptions the rest of the year.
Molinari would need to be at least equal to No. 125 – in either FedEx Cup points or money – after the Wyndham Championship, which would make him eligible for a PGA Tour card next season. But that assumes he wants to play more in America.
He has been one of the few European players from the top 50 who has not shown an inclination to be a PGA Tour member. The other is Paul Lawrie. Molinari had a chance a few years ago when he tied for third at Doral, but he chose to stay in Europe.
''It was not great timing,'' he said. ''We had just moved to London and my son was born.''
''You never know,'' Molinari said at Bay Hill. ''The best players in the world are playing here, and you want to challenge yourself.''
Molinari won the HSBC Champions in its first year as a World Golf Championship in 2010, but the PGA Tour did not treat it as a regular WGC (complete with official money and a three-year exemption) until last year.