Ryder Cup star Pieters eyeing US tour card
Ryder Cup rookie sensation Thomas Pieters wants to repeat his impressive showing at Hazeltine by pushing for full membership of the US PGA Tour early next year.
The 24-year-old Belgian will contest four events, including two on the regular PGA Tour, ahead of making his US Masters debut in April. Last week’s Ryder Cup at Hazeltine saw Pieters become the first European rookie to win four points on his first appearance, although the United States won the match 17-11.
Pieters will begin his tilt at earning full membership of the PGA Tour for 2017/18 in February’s Genesis Open at the Riviera Club in suburban Los Angeles — the same course where as an amateur he won the 2012 National Collegiate Athletic Association title.
“I’ve played a lot of amateur golf in the US so I’m looking forward to going back there at the start of the new year, and particularly Riviera, where I won before,” said Pieters at St Andrews on Wednesday ahead of this week’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on the Scottish course.
His management team indicated that all four events, plus the Masters, along with a number of other invitations throughout 2017 will count towards Pieters securing full 2017/18 Tour membership. Meanwhile the quietly spoken Pieters, now ranked 39 in the world, sought to play down his impressive Ryder Cup debut. “It’s tough to talk about my individual performance when you lose on a team,” he said. “You go there as a team, so you win or you lose as a team. “I did play great and I’m really happy to have earned four points. But three of those points were with Rory (McIlroy) so I don’t see it as my four points.” Pieters is hopeful the experience of contesting a Ryder Cup will stand him in good stead. “I feel I can learn a lot from playing in the Ryder Cup and more than I think I would learn playing in the Majors,” he said. Pieters joins fellow Hazeltine European team members Danny Willett, Lee Westwood, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Rafa Cabrera Bello at this week’s $5 million (£4 million, 4.4 million euros) tournament at St Andrews. — AFP