Nick Dunlap didn’t see a cent of the winner’s prize of $1.51-million (R29-million) after clinching his first PGA Tour title on Sunday.
The 20-year-old American sophomore at the University of Alabama become the first amateur golfer to win on the PGA Tour since Phil Mickelson in 1991 when emerging victorious at the American Express tournament.
However, as an amateur, Dunlap was ineligible for the payout, which was instead pocketed by the runner-up, South Africa’s Christiaan Bezuidenhout.
According to Rule 3, relating to prizes, on the US Golf Association website, “an amateur playing in a scratch competition is allowed to accept any prize, including prize money, up to a limit of £700 or $1,000 in value, per competition, unless the national governing body has set a lower limit.”
That equates to around R19,000.
Dunlap, though, was still able to lift the American Express trophy because the prize limit rule does not apply to the “value of trophies and other similar prizes”.
Despite missing out on the winner’s cheque on Sunday, Dunlap will become eligible to take PGA Tour membership at any time in the 2024 PGA campaign.
Then he would receive the benefits of any PGA Tour winner, which include membership through the 2026 season plus entries into The Masters and PGA Championship and any unplayed “signature” events.
Dunlap already has berths in this year’s Masters, PGA and Open from his 2023 US Amateur triumph if he is an amateur when the Major tournaments tee off.
Dunlap says he is in no rush to make a decision that will affect himself, his family and his Alabama teammates.
“I have no idea [when he will turn pro], I really don’t. It’s really cool to have that opportunity in the first place. It’s a conversation I need to have with a lot of people before I make that decision.”
If Dunlap decides to postpone PGA Tour membership, he has 30 days after this season to turn pro and accept membership for next year.
If he doesn’t turn pro after this season, he would have to wait until the end of the 2025 season to do so.
Photo: Orlando Ramirez/Getty Images