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

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

A photo of Luke Clanton Luke Clanton waves after making his putt on the sixth hole during the third round of the 2024 U.S. Open at Pinehurst Resort & C.C. (Course No. 2) in Village of Pinehurst, N.C. on Saturday, June 15, 2024. (Jeff Haynes/USGA)

Luke Clanton is looking to make history at the 2024 Rocket Mortgage Classic, hoping to become the second amateur to win on the PGA Tour in 2024.

No matter how he finishes on Sunday, Clanton made the 36-hole cut in the unique event. Will he earn prize money from the 2024 Rocket Mortgage Classic prize pool as a result? After all, the winner of this week's event will earn $1,656,000.

The short answer is no. Currently, Clanton 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.

No matter how Clanton finishes, the prize money he would otherwise win is paid out to professionals in the field. Clanton doesn't count toward the final payout, meaning he is skipped and not considered to be part of the payout. Were Clanton 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.

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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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