Rich Beem gave Hong Kong Open exemption to Ian Poulter to remain Euro Tour member
European Tour Ryder Cup

Rich Beem gave Hong Kong Open exemption to Ian Poulter so he could keep Euro Tour membership


If Ian Poulter makes the 2016 European Ryder Cup team, he will be (continuing to) thank 2002 PGA champion Rich Beem.

When the new Official World Golf Ranking was released on Sunday night, Poulter had dropped out of the top 50 for the first time since 2006. That meant Poulter was no longer exempt into the field for the WGC-HSBC Champions in two weeks, the second of the European Tour's four playoff-type events in their Race to Duabi Final Series. Not being able to play in the event left Poulter one planned start shy of the 13 required to maintain European Tour membership, required for any European player to be a part of the Ryder Cup team. That meant Poulter needed to find a way into the Hong Kong Open, the final regular season event on the European Tour schedule.

However, with the tournament entry deadline already having come and gone two weeks before tournament week, the only way Poulter could get into the field was through a sponsor's exemption. Enter Beem, who gave up his sponsor's exemption into the tournament so that Poulter could make an unprecedented last-minute entry into the event.

Then there was the matter of getting to the Chinese protectorate. Poulter obtained a visa and received his updated passport less than two hours before his Tuesday flight.

Poulter will land in Hong Kong on Wednesday evening, giving him no practice time. Then again, that's not really the point. Showing up is.

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Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for nearly 20 years. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He is currently a +2.6 USGA handicap, and he has covered dozens of major championships and professional golf tournaments. He likes writing about golf and making it more accessible by answering the complex questions fans have about the pro game or who want to understand how to play golf better.

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