Golf is unique in the fact that the shelf life of a professional golfer is much longer than most other sports. PGA Tourers are like the canned goods of the supermarket shelves — it takes them much longer to spoil than, say, tortilla chips.

This was proven true, yet again, a couple weeks ago when Phil Mickelson claimed the Pebble Beach Pro-Am championship. The 48-year-old professional won for the 44th time in his career. In comparison, Tom Brady, who is regarded as an anomaly for how long he’s played at such a high level, is only 41 years old.

Jack Nicklaus won the 1986 Masters at the age of 46. Tom Watson flirted with a British Open title at 59 years old. Everyone seems to think 43-year-old Tiger Woods will not only win again this season, but that he’s destined to end his major-less streak.

So even in a golfing age where the likes of Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler seem to hit it further, roll it better and have all the charisma in the world, the older guys can still get it done. The wiley old veterans can still contend and win at a high level.

That brings us to David Hearn. The former Wyoming Cowboy appears to still have some gas left in the tank at a young and spry 39 years of age.

On Thursday, Hearn completed a 4-under round of 68 in the opening round of the Puerto Rico Open to place him in the top three. He is chasing his first career PGA Tour victory, and it has been a long, long journey.

The Canuck has made 257 starts on Tour and has yet to place better than second. While the odds would suggest him winning a time or two during that stretch, the fact that Hearn has remained a regular Tour player for the better part of a decade is a testament to his consistency.

Many professional golfers of Hearn’s ability — below average in driving, above average in iron play and right at average in putting — wouldn’t have been able to remain at the PGA level, especially without a victory.

A PGA Tour victory comes equipped a two-year exemption on Tour, meaning after a golfer wins, he could conceivably miss every cut for the next two years and still retain his card. Hearn hasn’t had that luxury.

Many times during a golf telecast, a broadcaster mentions a golfer grinding out a decent round where their putter or driver was acting up. Well, Hearn has grinded out a fruitful PGA Tour career — one in which he’s accumulated more than $9 million in winnings — without the satisfaction or the reward or the safety net of a win.

In many respects, Hearn is a true cowboy. He goes about his work and hasn’t needed the gratification of a victory to keep plugging away.

Hearn’s had opportunities to break the winless drought. Not five feet stood in the way of him winning the 2013 John Deere Classic, but the round-clinching putt just lipped out. Hearn left a 12-foot putt less than a foot short during the 2015 Greenbriar Classic, which would have given him the victory.

Even the anchoring-putter ban, which affected Hearn greatly, couldn’t kill Hearn.

While his putting hasn’t been as sharp as it was prior to the ban, Hearn has figured out a way to stay viable.

Golf is unlike many other professional sporting realms where you can contend at the highest of levels well into your 40s and 50s. Hearn will hit 40 this summer, and he’s shown he can still threaten flagsticks to this day.

 

Pokes Notes

The University of Wyoming wrestling team wrapped up the regular season with a 26-19 win at Northern Colorado. The Pokes’ 16 dual victories are second most in school history and most in a season since 1967.

UW’s women’s basketball team won its eighth game in a row, a 64-49 victory at UNLV, to improve to 17-5 on the season and 10-3 in Mountain West Conference play.

UW’s men’s basketball team fell at home to UNLV 66-56 to drop to 6-20 on the season and 2-11 in MWC play.