Lexington's Josh Teater was an Iron Man newcomer on the PGA Tour in 2010.
He played in 31 tournaments, the most by any rookie. Only four other golfers teed it up in more events.
"It was a long, tiring year," Teater said. "But it was a lot of fun, too."
Not to mention profitable.
Teater earned just over $1 million to finish 89th on the money list and keep his tour card for another season.
The rewards don't come with relaxation, however. Not on the PGA Tour, the ultimate survival game in pro sports.
Teater must prove himself all over again in 2011.
"I had a great first year, but there are no guarantees going into the second year," he said by cell phone on his way back from Florida, where he spent the first half of December working on his game.
After spending the holidays in Lexington, Teater was going to California to fine-tune his swing before heading to Hawaii for the Sony Open in mid-January.
Looking back on his impressive rookie year — he made 19 cuts, had two top 10's and finished in the top 25 eight times — Teater said he "didn't expect anything less. I knew if I didn't make close to a million, I wouldn't be out there for a second year."
His goals for this season are no different than last year: win a tournament, of course, and make the top 30 and qualify for the tour championship.
"I know I have a lot of room for improvement," Teater said. "Now that I've seen the courses and learned the ropes out there, I hope to be more consistent week to week."
Teater played well at different parts of last season.
He made a splash in only his fourth tournament, finishing fifth in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and pocketing $226,300.
"That was a pretty cool deal because a lot of family and friends were there to watch me," Teater said.
He had top-20 finishes in Houston and New Orleans in April; a top 15 in Memphis in June, and a third place at the Turning Stone Resort Championship in New York in August.
The $180,400 he won at Turning Stone put him over $800,000 and all but clinched him a spot in the top 125, the cut-off point to earn exempt status for another year.
Even after that, though, Teater rarely rested.
"Lee Janzen got on me a little bit about that," Teater said. "He'd ask me, 'You ever going to take a week off?'
"But it's hard to make yourself sit out. Every week is an opportunity to change your career if you win. You're guaranteed two more years out there if you do, so you want as many chances as you can get."
The grind of competition can wear on the best golfers, because even the best have bad days and missed cuts.
"When you aren't playing well, you try to figure out how to get it going by the end of the day on Friday," Teater said. "If it doesn't work out, there's always another event the following week, so you can start working toward that."
Teater, 31, can handle adversity. He earned a Master's degree from the School of Hard Knocks by scrambling around the mini-tour circuit for years, and coming heartbreakingly close to making it through PGA qualifying school before punching his ticket to the big time by playing well on the Nationwide Tour.
"It's pretty cool to think back on all the work I put in, and how it all got me ready for when I got out here.
"I could've easily lucked up and made it through Q school five years ago, but if I had I don't think I would've been ready for everything thrown at me at that point.
"Having gone through some tough times definitely makes what I'm doing now even sweeter."