The Next Phil Mickelson? Lefty Lauds Nick Dunlap and PGAT’s Young Guns With Utmost Praise Despite Differences

Published 01/20/2024, 7:32 PM EST

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A historic moment is in the making! What else can we dub the ascension of Nick Dunlap on the leaderboard of the 2024 American Express? However, there’s a catch to the story. He’s not a professional in the game but an amateur who entered the tournament via a sponsor’s exemption. Well, that’s what makes it all the more exciting. Even Phil Mickelson agrees!

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The athlete would be hoping to card his first victory on the PGA Tour at the tournament across the three diverse courses on the PGA West grounds in La Quinta, California. However, while doing so, he would be able to stand amongst a list of golfers who achieved a marvelous feat in the sport, the last of which was none other than Mickelson!

Nick Dunlap set to follow in Phil Mickelson’s footsteps

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The hype in the golfing world is at an all-time high as the third event on the 2024 PGA Tour calendar is reaching its climax. But if Dunlap manages to clinch a victory at the event, then he would become the first amateur to win on the men’s circuit in 32 years, following the likes of Mickelson. Even the LIV Golf Pro was all praise for the 20-year-old, who could become the second-youngest winner in the past ninety years.

“Nick Dunlap has a real shot this weekend to be the next amateur to win a Tour event,” he said in his tweet before continuing to talk about how the likes of Ludvig Aberg, Caleb Surratt, Min Woo Lee, Gordon Sargent, and Dunlap are the “youngest and most talented group of players” he has seen. Moreover, he even dubbed them nothing short of “a force for decades.” Well, it seems he still appreciates talent on the PGA Tour despite jumping ships to LIV Golf!

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The 45-time PGA Tour champ had become the last golfer to win an event on the circuit as an amateur. He did so at the 1991 Northern Telecom Open in Tucson, Arizona, when he was twenty years old. Besides, he clinched the much-anticipated win by scoring a 16-under 272, one stroke ahead of Tom Purtzer and Bob Tway.

Anyhow, Dunlap is currently leading the scoreboard at 27-under over the three days. But what would it mean for the 20-year-old if he managed to win the 2024 American Express?

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Implications of Nick Dunlap’s victory

If the American does emerge triumphant at the PGA Tour event, he would not be awarded any prize money or FedEx Cup points, even if he becomes a pro following the tournament. Interestingly, the money would move to the next golfer in the runner-up position, while the points would not be given to the field. This would be the case even if Dunlap finished T2.

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But he would be awarded a membership card for the tour following his win throughout the 2026 season. Moreover, the young athlete would also be provided exemption from all signature events in the year if he turns pro before the same, along with the Masters and the PGA Championship. Well, there is a lot on the plate for the American amateur. Many would be hoping for him to win at the same time.

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Written by:

Allan Abe

891Articles

One take at a time

My search for happiness eventually led me, Allan Abe, to the hallways of ES after dabbling in different fields. Following my childhood passion for the sport and coupling it with my passion for writing, the role of a golf writer was the perfect career path and has been more than a fruitful one. Through the live coverage and in-depth analysis of the lives of big stars like Tiger Woods and Jon Rahm, I have put to use all my journalistic-accolade-winning experience, from state-wide events to college competitions, to give the reader a great story with every piece.
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Edited by:

Tushhita.barua

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