Life after 30: PGA Tour winner's average age holds at 33 this season

Joshua S. Kelly/USA TODAY Sports

Life after 30: PGA Tour winner's average age holds at 33 this season

PGA Tour

Life after 30: PGA Tour winner's average age holds at 33 this season

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C.T. Pan’s win at the RBC Heritage this past weekend capped off a slow-developing career considering he came from the vaunted Class of 2011, won eight times at Washington and has been lumped with a group of golfers who have performed incredibly well at a young age.

But 2019 continues to serve as a reminder that this class might be an anomaly. Pan actually developed into a winner at a more traditional age—27.

Nonetheless, we see college golfers increasingly encouraged to leave school early because they have multiple entities looking to cash in on some fleeting signing bonuses. Many talented but not fully developed players are convinced they are good earn enough money in seven starts to gain a PGA Tour card and be on their merry way.

Other forces convince younger players they are better prepared to win and cope with the difficult career of playing golf than any generation before them. You know the narratives, they’ve never been smarter, more athletic or surrounded by more knowledgeable people. That may be the case. But often that messaging is rooted in a desire by executives to cut into the older viewership averages or is fueled by golf’s overall sense of desperation without people under 35, the whole thing may crater at any minute.

Careers are derailed or extreme pressures are inflicted simply to push players who might attract a more favorable advertising demographic. Yet the names are piling up of talented players given bad advice, while the average age for PGA Tour winners this year reminds us that golf—at least the winning variety for males—is often best produced in your thirties, not your twenties.

Following Pan’s win, the 2018-19 PGA Tour average age of winners is 33.08.

If you take the schedule since Kapalua, when the field quality and course difficulty ratcheted up several notches, the average age of winners is 34.1.

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