caddie
Even par for an entire PGA Tour season? That means it was a lean year for Joe Par and caddie, Sven Even. Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Johnny Par and his faithful caddie, Sven Even, played a full schedule on the PGA Tour during the 2017-18 season. Never heard of ‘em? No worries. We have all the details on this tandem. They make an atomic clock seem erratic.

True to his name, Johnny made pars. He shot even par in every round and competed in every tournament he was eligible to enter. Some observers say he parred every hole, but since we never saw him make a swing and video evidence does not exist, we can’t attest to such a claim. Don’t search for him in a media guide or on a website either, his mundane play did not register in either place.

Sven was right there every step of the way, providing accurate yardages and encouraging words. Until those final holes at Sedgefield, he believed in his heart this might be the day when his man broke par. But it never happened. Sven turned down opportunities to work for pros who finish in the red on occasion. Johnny honored Sven’s loyalty by keeping him around when the duo missed seven consecutive cuts on a lonely West Coast swing.

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Johnny Par was exempt for the 2017-18 season and teed it up in 34 events (a quartet of players led the PGA Tour with 32 starts). He earned a spot in the field of the RBC Heritage and Fort Worth Invitational but not Memorial. He attempted to qualify for the U.S. Open and The Open Championship, falling short on each occasion. Of course, he could only dream of an invite to the Masters or a tee time in one of the lucrative World Golf Championships events.

Hopefully the boys stashed some of the cash because as fall turned to winter times were lean.

After missing the cut at the Safeway Open to open the season, Par and Even took advantage of the no-cut events in Asia, picking up $81,400 with an even-par total in The CJ Cup at Nine Bridges. Par might be boring, but he’s not cheap. He paid Even seven percent of earnings outside the top 10, eight percent on top-10 finishes and 10 percent if they could somehow win, knowing the U.S. Open was probably their best bet and would require qualifying.

Hopefully the boys stashed some of the cash because as fall turned to winter times were lean. They missed eight of the next nine cuts, par not worth what it once was at places like Pebble Beach and Torrey Pines, while the CareerBuilder Challenge in the friendly confines of LaQuinta, California, dismisses professionals who do not unleash a slew of birdies.

Through this dismal stretch, the boys remained positive, however, because they knew the demanding layouts and stiff breezes of Florida awaited. Surely, par would have value there. They were right. The Honda Classic’s terrifying Bear Trap swallowed many a man who chased birdies. Playing it safe to the middle of the green steered Johnny & Sven to what turned out to be their best finish of the season — 12th place and a check for $151,800. Sven’s cut was roughly $12,000.

All they needed was a week or two of awful weather, bumpy greens or a food-borne illness outbreak in the clubhouse to debilitate the rest of the field and maintaining exempt status was well within reach.

But it was not to be. The PGA Tour’s new slogan is “Live Under Par” after all. These limber-back bombers and confident putters spend each week playing aggressively without fear. They made roughly 60,000 birdies between them in the 2017-18 season. “Live At Par” doesn’t have the same ring, anyway.

All they needed was a week or two of awful weather, bumpy greens or a food-borne illness outbreak in the clubhouse to debilitate the rest of the field and maintaining exempt status was well within reach.

The good news? Par and Even made 8 of the next 14 cuts after their strong showing at the Honda. The bad news? A tie for 34th at the Wells Fargo Championship was their best finish during the stretch. They plummeted further and further down the FedEx Cup standings yet never wavered in their conservative game plan. If pars weren’t good enough, so be it.

If it’s a pleasant ending you desire, perhaps it’s best to stop reading now. The end was bleak for our steady pair. They missed the final six cuts and dropped all the way to 167th in the FedEx Cup standings, sending them to Web.com Tour Finals in pursuit of regaining their card.

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Tired of finishing where he started, Par began taking long drives in strange places each evening. He meandered along two-lane highways and through neighborhoods, wandering about unassisted by GPS or map. Remarkably, he always returned to the origin of his journey.

Even, on his quest for variety, often walked backward down hills to enjoy a different point of view. He dreamed of playing a part in just one back-nine Sunday birdie run yet awoke in a chilly sweat as visions of an over-par round or a schedule full of Barracuda Championships ruined his sleep.

For the season, Par made 13 cuts in 34 starts and earned $453,488.

Even’s percentage of Par’s earnings was $33,262. He made $1,800 per week in salary for a gross of $94,462. His average expenses of $1,200 per week meant he spent $40,800 on the year, bringing his net to $53,662 before taxes and other home expenses such as mortgage, insurance, utilities, etc.

Their season was not exciting. Some might describe it as forgettable, the rest are trying to forget. Par may never receive the credit he deserves for saving all those pars. Even’s ability to help his man avoid bogeys will likely never land him fame or fortune. Par, like persimmon and polyester, was once en vogue on the PGA Tour, but Sundays are for the birdies these days.

Tournament

Finish

Earnings

FedEx points

Safeway Open MC
CIMB Classic T-61 $15,190 4.7
The CJ Cup @ 9 Bridges 25 $81,400 36
Sanderson Farms MC
Shriners Hospital For Children T-47 $18,292 9.25
Mayakoba Classic MC
RSM Classic MC
Sony Open in Hawaii MC
CareerBuilder Challenge MC
Farmers Insurance Open MC
Waste Management Phoenix MC
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am MC
Genesis Open T-41 $24,516 11.87
Honda Classic 12 $151,800 65
Valspar Championship T-40 $24,700 13.5
Arnold Palmer Invitational T-54 $20,381 5.97
Corales Puntacana Champ. MC
Houston Open MC
RBC Heritage Classic T-55 $14,807 4.90
Valero Texas Open T-51 $14,508 6.62
Zurich Classic New Orleans MC
Wells Fargo Championship T-34 $37,248 18.5
The PLAYERS MC
AT&T Byron Nelson MC
Fort Worth Invitational T-66 $14,484 3.4
FedEx St. Jude Classic T-45 $19,954 9.75
Travelers Championship MC
Quicken Loans National T-53 $16,208 5.92
Greenbrier Military Tribute MC
John Deere Classic MC
Barbasol Championship MC
RBC Canadian Open MC
Barracuda Championship MC
Wyndham Championship MC

SUMMARY

13 / 34

$453,488

195.38