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Amateur does what Tiger couldn’t do

Jan 30, 2024

Not even the great Tiger Woods could do it! Nick Dunlap has joined the PGA TOUR as a member, after he became the first amateur to win on the PGA TOUR in more than 33 years by winning the PGA Tour’s American Express event
Currently the youngest TOUR member at age 20, the rookie is exempt on TOUR through the 2026 season and will makes his first start as a member at this week’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
Dunlap, the first reigning U.S. Amateur champion to win on TOUR since Tiger Woods in 1996, is exempt in 2024 for all Full-Field Events, the seven remaining Signature Events, THE PLAYERS Championship and three of the four major championships (Masters Tournament, PGA Championship, U.S. Open). The R&A is yet to announce their exemptions for the 152nd Open Championship, but traditionally has only offered the reigning U.S. Amateur champion an exemption if he remains an amateur.
As he begins his career as a TOUR member, Dunlap starts with zero FedExCup points and will not appear in the FedExCup standings until he makes a cut as a professional and thus earns points. He does not retroactively receive the 500 FedExCup points for the win at The American Express upon turning professional and joining the TOUR.
Dunlap’s decorated amateur career, during which he became the second-youngest player to win on TOUR since World War II behind only Jordan Spieth, was capped off by reaching the No. 1 position in the World Amateur Golf Ranking Wednesday for the first time. He won the 2021 U.S. Junior Amateur and the 2023 U.S. Amateur, joining Tiger Woods as the only players to win both of those events, and represented the United States in 2023 at the Walker Cup and the World Amateur Team Championships. Prior to his win at The American Express, the University of Alabama standout had accumulated 11 points through PGA TOUR University Accelerated, the most points of any player that had not yet earned a TOUR card through the program.
A native of Huntsville, Alabama, Dunlap is the first player to win a tournament as a non-member and subsequently join the PGA TOUR as a member since Garrick Higgo following his win at the 2021 Palmetto Championship at Congaree.
He obviously has a bright future and did what Tiger couldn’t do – now can he do what Tiger did? Time will tell.