Akshay Bhatia’s PGA Tour Special Temporary Status explored

Mexico Open at Vidanta - Round Two
Mexico Open at Vidanta - Round Two

Akshay Bhatia was all anyone could watch at the Mexico Open. The young golfer played extremely well en route to a very nice finish, but one of the biggest reasons he was watched is because he's not a full member of the PGA Tour.

He is currently a Special Temporary member, which is a title reserved for very few players in a season. What does this mean?

In short, a Special Temporary member on the PGA Tour has the ability to accept as many sponsors exemptions to PGA Tour events as he’d like for the rest of the season. This is unlike other non-members that have a limit on the exemptions they can accept.

Bhatia is still technically a member of the Korn Ferry Tour, which is sort of like a minor league for the PGA Tour. He won its season-opener in 2022 but flamed out and missed the cut to make the Tour. He then missed all three of the finals events which kept him from an official membership card.

Though he cannot qualify for the FedEx Cup, his placement on those standings is all that matters. Should he have as many points as number 125 on that list or higher, he will get promoted to the PGA Tour.

Additionally, if Bhatia were to win a Tour event as a Special Temporary member, he would be promoted. He nearly did that at the Mexico Open, and entered the final round tied for second with Jon Rahm.

He ended up placing fourth and was unable to get his membership, but it does set him up to finish the season and earn a berth the old-fashioned way. As long as he doesn't completely flame out, it looks like Akshay Bhatia will be a full member next season.

Tom Kim and Will Zalatoris are the most prominent examples of Special Temporary members in recent memory and now they are both staples of the Tour.


Will Akshay Bhatia make the PGA Tour now or at the end of the season?

Akshay Bhatia finished fourth, which might be a little disappointing given how well he was playing. He was so close to a PGA Tour membership but his placement makes it that much more realistic.

When will Akshay Bhatia make the PGA Tour?
When will Akshay Bhatia make the PGA Tour?

Akshay Bhatia admitted he wanted to win but knows the long game:

“I know I'm capable of winning. Obviously won on the Korn Ferry Tour (at the 2022 Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay), so I know what the feelings feel like going into tomorrow. We're just going to have fun.”

Bhatia has quite a few events left in the season to land a win. Will he do that? Possibly. He has played well and has obviously won before. Had he played a little better on the final day of the Mexico Open, he might have won.

If he can put together a strong performance in another tournament, he can certainly win and get promoted. If not, he's still in line to earn the membership at the end of the season whether he's won anything or not.

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Edited by Tejas Rathi