Planet Golf — 26 January 2024 by GW staff and news services
Dunlap decides to turn pro after PGA win

Nick Dunlap, who recently became the first amateur in 33 years to win on the PGA TOUR, announced Thursday that he is turning professional and intends to accept PGA TOUR membership. The announcement came in a press conference on the University of Alabama campus in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

“It was the easiest, hardest decision that I’ve ever had to make,” Dunlap said on Thursday. “I was very fortunate that everyone had the same opinion about it, and my teammates were awesome and very supportive. It goes back to the family that Alabama has; they were very supportive and wanted me to chase my dreams.”

Dunlap, a sophomore at Alabama, won The American Express in La Quinta, California, on Jan. 21. He is the first player to win the U.S. Junior Amateur, U.S. Amateur and a PGA TOUR event while still an amateur and is the second-youngest TOUR winner since World War II (behind only Jordan Spieth).

By virtue of his American Express win, Dunlap is exempt on TOUR through the end of the 2026 season.

Dunlap, 20, will be exempt for the season’s remaining seven remaining Signature Events, THE PLAYERS Championship and all Full-Field Events in 2024 He’s also exempt for The Sentry in 2025.

“The opportunity to pick and choose your schedule on the PGA TOUR is unbelievable,” Dunlap said.

Dunlap also is exempt into three of this year’s majors: the Masters, U.S. Open and the PGA Championship. He is exempt into the Masters and the PGA Championship by virtue of his win at The American Express. His win at the 2023 U.S. Amateur earned him a spot in this year’s U.S. Open. The tournament allows the reigning U.S. Amateur champion to compete as a professional, so he maintains that exemption. The R&A has yet to announce exemption criteria for The 152nd Open Championship.

Because he was an amateur when he won The American Express, Dunlap does not receive the FedExCup points or Presidents Cup points from his victory. He is eligible to receive FedExCup points in all TOUR events moving forward. He will not receive retroactive earnings for The American Express victory, either. Dunlap, who was the top-ranked amateur in the world when he turned pro, is ranked 68th in the Official World Golf Ranking.

An exciting professional career is ahead for him. And it all started Thursday.

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