Sungjae Im is a rookie ironman on the PGA Tour. He is playing in his 32nd event of the season at this week's 2019 Wyndham Championship.
If he breaks through for his first PGA Tour win in the regular season finale, Im will certainly get through to the 2019 Tour Championship. That would add another three guaranteed starts to his season, and that would bring his season tally to 35 starts in 47 events. That's a lot of golf, especially considering there are five opposite-field events played the same week as either the four World Golf Championships or the British Open Championship.
Effectively, a player could only compete in 42 events in a season.
However, were Sungjae Im to compete in 35 PGA Tour events this season, he still wouldn't be all that close to the modern PGA Tour record for the most starts in a season.
The modern PGA Tour record (going back to 1980) for the most tournaments played in a season is 38, done in 1986 by Buddy Gardner and again in 1988 by Mike Donald.
Gardner, born in Alabama, made just 18 cuts in 38 starts in 1986, earning just a shade over $92,000 in official earnings. That's a lot of work and travel for not a whole lot of money. He had two top-10 finishes on the season: a T-7 at the Kemper Open in the D.C. area in June and a T-4 at the Greater Milwaukee Open in September. And it's not like Gardner couldn't play. He competed in the Masters, US Open and the PGA Championship that year.
Mike Donald played in the same number of events two years later, making 20 cuts and missing 18 of them. After a rough start, Donald played pretty well for chunks of the year. He posted a T-7 at the Independent Insurance Agent Open in May, then closed out his year with three top-seven finishes in his final seven starts. Just two years later, Donald would nearly win the US Open at Medinah.
Now, both players actually competed more than that, as they each played in a pair of unofficial events in those seasons. That means they played 40 times in a season! Yeesh!