Nick Dunlap turns pro after winning on PGA Tour
25 Jan 2024
by Sean Melia of AmateurGolf.com
see also: , Nick Dunlap Profile
Nick Dunlap will debut as a pro at Pebble Beach. (Ryan Suh/AP)
After winning the American Express, Nick Dunlap had a world of options laid at his feet. He has made the choice to turn professional and take advantage of the opportunities as a PGA Tour member. He'll make his first professional appearance on February 1 at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
Dunlap's amateur career will go down in the history books. Along with Tiger Woods, he is one of two men to win the U.S. Junior Amateur and U.S. Amateur. He broke a 33-year streak when he won on the PGA Tour as an amateur. That puts him next to Phil Mickelson, who won the 1991 Northern Telecom Open, and Tiger Woods in the record books. Not bad.
In the summer of 2023, Dunlap also won the Northeast Amateur and the North & South Amateur, both Elite Amateur Series events. He was also a member of the winning Walker Cup team at St. Andrews.
So why would Dunlap turn pro now?
As the U.S. Amateur champion, he had a likely invite to The Masters along with guaranteed spots in the U.S. Open and Open Championship. Those tournaments would keep many amateurs from turning pro. However, with the win on the PGA Tour, Dunlap earned a likely professional invite to The Masters along with a birth in the PGA Championship.
The U.S. Open does not require the U.S. Amateur winner to remain an amateur to compete in that championship. However, the Open Championship, like The Masters, does require the U.S. Amateur champion to remain an amateur to keep the invite.
So, Dunlap traded the PGA Championship for the Open Championship. Considering the Open Championship isn't until July, Dunlap can still earn his way into that major championship. He has more than six months to do so.
In addition, Dunlap now has his PGA Tour card through the 2026 season. That PGA Tour card was never going to disappear. He could have turned pro in September of 2024 or September of 2025 and still utilized that PGA Tour card until 2026.
However, the added bonus to turning pro now is that Dunlap can play in all seven remaining Signature Events this year. That is a fabulous opportunity to make a ton of money, as some of those events have no cuts and boast the largest purses. A nice way to start a professional career.
Two things that Dunlap will not get as he turns professional: FedEx Cup points from his win last week or the winner's paycheck of $1.5 million from the American Express.