No matter how Irish amateur Paul Dunne finishes on Monday at the Old Course, the 22-year-old won't collect a dime of the $10 million 2015 British Open prize pool.
As an amateur, Dunne is barred from receiving any money for his finish at St. Andrews, including the $1.8 million first-place prize. Dunne could have declared himself a professional player and earned prize money this week, but he would have had to make that declaration before teeing off on Thursday.
If Dunne wins, the first place money is given to highest-finishing professional in the field. If he finishes in any other solo position, the money will slot down another position to the next highest-finishing pro or pros. The money any amateur would earn were they a pro is redistributed evenly among the professionals in the field.
Under the Rules of Golf, amateur golfers are allowed to receive prizes of no more than $750 for how they finish in a tournament. They can also receive trophies that are "permanently and distinctively engraved." So, the Claret Jug would count. So, too, would the Silver Medal, awarded to the low amateur.
However, were Dunne to win on Monday, missing out on the first-place check wouldn't be much of a problem. Dunne would be worth millions in an instant, likely to turn pro immediately after winning and signing lucrative endorsement deals for equipment and apparel, including with Under Armour, which doesn't currently pay Dunne for wearing their golf gear.
We also get the sense that Dunne put a few bucks on himself to win this week. He went off in U.K. sportsbooks at 15oo-to-1 odds ahead of the tournament.
"Hopefully I can steal from the bookmakers a little more tomorrow," Dunne said to ESPN after his Sunday third round. "I've felt comfortable all week. I've played well ... If it were an amateur event, I would't be surprised by my scores. Just lucky it happened in the biggest event in the world."
If Dunne doesn't win, he could still well turn pro immediately after and be a made man. After all, he's the first amateur since Bobby Jones in 1927 to have at least a share of the 54-hole lead in the Open Championship.
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