Amateur Nick Dunlap Withdraws from PGA Tour Event to Consider Turning Pro
University of Alabama sophomore Nick Dunlap, who recently became the first amateur to win on the PGA Tour in over three decades, has withdrawn from the Farmers Insurance Open to contemplate his future.
Amateur Nick Dunlap Withdraws from PGA Tour Event
Nick Dunlap, the University of Alabama sophomore who on Sunday became the first amateur to win on the PGA Tour in more than three decades, has withdrawn from the field for this week's Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, California.
With his victory at the American Express in La Quinta, California, Dunlap became the first amateur to win on tour since Phil Mickelson at the 1991 Northern Telecom Championship. The 20-year-old is only the fifth amateur to win on tour since 1950 and the second-youngest champion in the past 90 years. Jordan Spieth won the 2013 John Deere Classic when he was 19.
As an amateur, Dunlap forfeited the $1.5 million winner's purse and the 500 FedEx Cup points that came with it. Now, he must decide whether to return to Alabama for the remainder of his second collegiate season or join the PGA Tour as a full-time member.
Decision about Turning Pro
"I don't know," Dunlap said after his par putt on the 72nd hole gave him a 1-shot victory over South Africa's Christiaan Bezuidenhout. "I have to take a second to let what just happened sink in a little bit. That's a decision that's not just about me. It affects a lot of people, and obviously I'm going to try to enjoy this. It's a conversation I need to have with a lot of people before I make that decision."
Discussions about Dunlap's future started Sunday night. By capturing the American Express, he earned full-time PGA Tour membership through the 2026 season. He can accept that membership until 30 days after this season ends. He earned full exemptions of a professional winner, including spots in the lucrative signature-series events such as next month's AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and the Players Championship, which have purses of at least $20 million.
"If this is what he decides to do, we support him because we've done our job," Alabama coach Jay Seawell told ESPN on Monday. "We've helped him, and he is a valuable part of our team and will be for the rest of his life. And if so, then we'll move forward and we'll support him in that. I'm going to let him make that decision with his family and all that. They've asked me to at least sit in on it, but in the end, it will be their decision."
Support from Teammates and Coach
Alabama senior Canon Claycomb said he wouldn't fault Dunlap for turning pro. Dunlap's teammates have been calling him one of the top 50 players in the world for the past several months, according to Claycomb, after he became only the second player -- Tiger Woods is the other -- to win both the U.S. Junior Amateur and U.S. Amateur.
"I don't think anybody on the team would blame him," Claycomb said. "We want Nick to do what the best thing for Nick is, and if that's him turning pro, then that's him turning pro. I know he loves the team, and I know he loves all of us, but it's not about us in this moment. It's about him and what he needs to do to be the best version of himself and to have the best opportunity to play on the PGA Tour for a long time."
Regardless of what Dunlap decides, Seawell believes his star player is more than ready for a full-time career on the PGA Tour. Dunlap is the only player to win the U.S. Junior Amateur, the U.S. Amateur, and a PGA Tour event as an amateur. He carded an 11-under 59 and won a local tournament by 13 shots when he was 12. In 2021, he posted a 62 in a Monday qualifier to make the field in a Korn Ferry Tour event.