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12D AGO

Charley Hoffman reflects on eve of 500th PGA TOUR start

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    Written by Paul Hodowanic @PaulHodowanic

    Charley Hoffman didn’t realize he was approaching a major milestone until this year’s WM Phoenix Open. Once he found out, he knew exactly where to make it.

    Hoffman will make his 500th career PGA TOUR start this week, an accomplishment that only 6% of PGA TOUR golfers who have made at least 20 starts share. He will do it at the event that has arguably been Hoffman’s most fruitful: The Valero Texas Open.

    The site of Hoffman’s most recent win on TOUR, TPC San Antonio has often felt like a second home to the venerable veteran. Hoffman will make his 18th appearance at the event this week. He’s made the cut 16 times, with 13 top 25s and seven top 10s. Alongside his win in 2016, he finished runner-up three times. So when it came time to decide which tournament would be his 500th, it was an easy selection.

    “It's so near and dear to my heart and a place where the family I knew during spring break could come and celebrate that sort of stuff with me,” Hoffman said Wednesday. “It's something we hand-picked.

    “It’s quite mind-blowing,” he continued. “It's something that I probably never thought I'd get to and it's quite an accomplishment. I want more, I don't see myself going anywhere as long as I'm healthy. I obviously want to hopefully get to 600.”


    Charley Hoffman reflects as he prepares to make 500th TOUR start at Valero


    Hoffman’s first start came 30 years ago at the 1994 Farmers Insurance Open as a long-haired 16-year-old high schooler. It would be another four years before he turned pro and six more years after that before he earned his PGA TOUR card for the first time in 2005. His maiden PGA TOUR win came at The American Express 2007, withstanding 40 mph winds on Sunday to beat John Rollins in a playoff. Hoffman has kept his card ever since.

    “The Charley Hoffman with the long hair and trying to become a PGA TOUR player and star, I think I was just dumb enough to think I could do it,” he said. “I thought I could compete with the best in the world. I played my first event when I was 16 in San Diego and I thought I could play with the guys.”

    It’s a mindset that has stayed with him and propelled him through the last several years as he battled injury and poor form.


    Charley Hoffman tees off 500th PGA TOUR start at Valero


    “Then now, and I'll use at the WM Phoenix Open (he finished runner-up this year), I think I'm just dumb enough to think I can compete against these 20-something-year-olds and I still think I can beat them," Hoffman said. "So I think there's a little bit of stupidity inside there which is consistent through all this."

    Hoffman, playing the 2024 season on a Career Money Exemption, is currently No. 56 in the FedExCup on the strength of that result at TPC Scottsdale, where he lost to Nick Taylor in a playoff. He is the second of three players expected to surpass 500 career TOUR starts this season. Ryan Palmer did so at The Cognizant Classic in The Palm Beaches. Two-time Valero Texas Open winner Zach Johnson is making his 497th career start this week.

    Hoffman will tee off at 8:42 a.m. ET from the 10th tee Thursday with Maverick McNealy and Nicolai Højgaard.

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