The United States Golf Association revised a rule to allow amateurs who qualify for the U.S. Open or U.S. Women's Open to turn professional prior to the tournament while retaining their exemption, the organization announced Monday.
Previously, if an amateur earned a spot in either tournament, they were forced to remain as such in order to participate in the event.
"We believe this change gives our champions an important option as they choose whether and when to embark on their professional careers," said USGA senior managing director of championships John Bodenhamer.
"Given the significant purses awarded at the U.S. Open and U.S. Women's Open, we realize how important it is for players to make the most appropriate decision for his or her career, and the positive impact it could have at the outset of their professional careers," Bodenhamer added.
The rule change comes shortly after Viktor Hovland - the 2018 U.S. Amateur champion - placed T-4 at the Wyndham Championship to narrowly miss out on qualifying for the FedEx Cup Playoffs and earning a spot in the 2019-20 PGA Tour.
The 21-year-old Norwegian finished T-12 at the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach but didn't earn any FedEx Cup points and left more than $200,000 on the table because of his amateur status. Hovland wouldn't have been able to compete at the tournament under the old rules if he'd turned pro.
He'll have the opportunity to earn his Tour card through the Korn Ferry Tour playoffs, which begin next week.