Phil Blackmar played 16 full seasons on the US PGA Tour, winning three times and finishing in the top-10 in exactly one Major championship, before becoming a TV golf analyst. His playing career perfectly resembles the type of resume that usually earns a golfer the title of “journeyman”. It’s also a title that Blackmar is proud to hold.
Now 60 and with his senior tour stint behind him as well, Blackmar spends some of his spare time keeping an insightful blog about the sport he loves. And in a recent entry, he dug deep into what it means to be a tour journeyman – and just how impressive achieving that status actually is.
You should read Blackmar’s entire post, but here are some of the stats he presents:
— There are approximately 4,500 golfers playing high-level college golf in the US in any given year, meaning more than 1,000 are graduating every year who could choose to pursue life as a tour pro.
— Blackmar estimates there’s at least another 1,000 players each year trying to get to the US PGA Tour through another pro tour. It’s tough to extrapolate a more exact number, but his assertion that “THERE ARE LITERALLY THOUSANDS OF PLAYERS EACH YEAR ASPIRING TO A LIFE ON THE PGA TOUR” is certainly true. And his use of all caps certainly drives the point home.
— Blackmar then moves onto those who make the US Tour and how hard it is to stay at the game’s highest level since 1980. He asserts that only about 800 people have even earned tour cards in that time, and after crunching the numbers, he comes up with a list of 324 golfers who have made at least 250 starts – or spent approximately 10 years or more – during that span. Mark Brooks leads the way with 802(!) career starts.
— By Blackmar’s numbers, less than half of those who have made the US Tour, have lasted at least 10 years. And only about 20 percent have played in more than 400 events (Blackmar made 443 starts in his 16 seasons). Since he’s 123rd on the list he presents, Blackmar proudly dubs himself “Journeyman #123”. What he doesn’t say is that he made more than $US3.2 million in those 443 starts. Not too shabby. And keep in mind that was before the Tiger Boom raised purses to what they are today.
On Tuesday, Blackmar tweeted, “To the media – Journeyman is not a derogatory term.” Noted, Phil.