Can an amateur turn pro after a PGA Tour tournament ends to collect prize money?
Amateur Golf PGA Tour

Can an amateur turn pro after a PGA Tour tournament ends to collect prize money?

A photo of golfer Phil Mickelson LA QUINTA, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 17: Phil Mickelson tees off on the 17th hole during the second round of The American Express tournament at the Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course at PGA West on January 17, 2020 in La Quinta, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Nick Dunlap is in a unique position at the 2024 The American Express, as he seeks to become the first amateur to win on the PGA Tour since Phil Mickelson did it in 1991 in Arizona.

If Dunlap wins, he can turn pro, take PGA Tour status and begin his professional career sooner than he anticipated. However, can he earn the $1,512,000 winner's share of the purse if he does go on to claim victory?

The quick answer is no. No matter what happens on Sunday in the final round at PGA West, Nick Dunlap isn't making a single penny in prize money, and that's because of the Rules of Amateur Status in golf.

Before any golf tournament starts, an amateur entrant can declare their intent to play as a professional on the spot, making them eligible for prize money offered in that tournament. However, once a tournament starts, a player cannot go from being an amateur to being a professional during the event -- or even right after it ends. So if Dunlap goes on to win, he can't declare himself a professional golfer right at the end and collect the winner's prize money (or any other prize money if he doesn't win).

Since Dunlap did not turn professional ahead of the tournament, he won't collect money today. That means the pros in the field will be battling it out for the first-place prize money.

If Dunlap goes on to win The American Express, whoever finishes in second place will win the first-place prize money. Whoever finishes in third place will win the runner-up's prize money, and so forth.

In the event Dunlap doesn't win the tournament, then he is also skipped on the final payout table, in accordance with how PGA Tour prize money is split among ties. For example, if Dunlap finishes in a three-way tie for third place on Sunday, then the two pros will take an equal split of third- and fourth-place money combined together. Dunlap wouldn't get a cut of that money, and he wouldn't bring in fifth-place money into the split equation.

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