Do amateur get paid prize money when they compete on the PGA Tour?
PGA Tour

Do amateur get paid prize money when they compete on the PGA Tour?



Tony Romo is looking to make the cut for the first time in a PGA Tour event after shooting an opening-round 2-under 70 in the 2019 Safeway Open.

The former Dallas Cowboys quarterback will get through to the final two rounds on the weekend if he finishes the first two rounds inside the top 65 and ties on the tournament leaderboard, per the PGA Tour cut rule. With Romo potentially playing so well against the pros, will he earn prize money from the 2019 Safeway Open prize pool if he makes the cut?

The short answer is no. Tony Romo competes in golf tournaments as an amateur, meaning he, like any other amateur competing in a professional golf tournament, is ineligible to earn prize money in a pro golf event. Players on the PGA Tour are typically paid only if they make the cut, but only professional golfers earn money.

In the event Romo gets through the cut and completes the tournament, the prize money he would otherwise win is paid out to professionals in the field. Romo doesn't count toward the final payout, meaning he is skipped and not considered to be part of the payout. Were Romo to finish, say, fifth in the tournament, he would not be paid and the professional player finishing in sixth place will earn fifth-place money.

There is a circumstance where an amateur player can earn prize money. An amateur can earn or receive a spot into a professional tournament not predicated on them competing as an amateur player, and they can then declare themselves a professional golfer before the tournament begins. At that point, the amateur-turned-professional is then eligible to earn prize money. The newly minted professional golfer cannot then revert to amateur status after competing in the tournament.

Most amateur golfers who have no intention of pursuing a professional golf career will remain amateurs because it affects their eligibility for other competitions at the club and regional level. Many of these events explicitly exclude professional golfers, meaning amateurs are wise to stay as such unless they're planning on a career change.