Class of 2019
Residence: Horseheads, N.Y.
Joey Sindelar was raised in Horseheads, New York by his parents Joe and Joanne, along with his two younger sisters. He was born in Fort Knox, Kentucky on March 30, 1958 during his father’s time serving in the army.
Joe Sindelar, Sr. was a part-time golf professional, offering lessons at both Fisher Golf and Recreational Center, as well as in their backyard where he had installed a nine-hole putting green and driving cage.
Sindelar first picked up a golf club at the age of 4, learning the game’s fundamentals from his dad. Most of his free time was spent either practicing around the house or playing rounds over at Fisher’s par 3 course.
The young prodigy gained local attention early on, shooting in the mid-to-low 80s before the age of 10 at local courses like Francourt Farms that is known today as Soaring Eagles Golf Course.
His first major golf achievement was at age 13 when he won the 1971 NYS Boys’ Sub-Junior Amateur Championship (15 & under at the time) at Seven Oaks Golf Club. He sunk a 15-foot putt on the final hole, defeating Rome’s Dan Delekta in the 18-hole championship match, 1-up.
In 1976, the Horseheads native won the second major tournament of his amateur career, the NYS High School Championship at Ticonderoga Country Club. He shot a course record-tying 5-under 66 in the final round and won the 36-hole event by 11 shots. Joey was the individual runner-up the year prior at Elma Meadows.
Later that summer, at age 16, Sindelar won the notable International Junior Masters Tournament at East Aurora Country Club in Buffalo. He was also the runner-up in the 1976 NYS Men’s Amateur at Grossinger’s Country Club, defeating 23-year-old George Zahringer III in a two-hole playoff after tying at 301 (back when the NYSGA had a playoff for second place).
Sindelar was in contention at the Men’s Amateur in the years that followed, but stiff competition among New York players challenged his opportunity to capture the Ganson Depew Cup. During the 1977 championship at Albany Country Club, he finished in a tie for fourth. In 1978, he was leader by two strokes through 45 holes, but finished in third at Moon Brook Country Club, while another soon-to-be pro, Jeff Sluman of Rochester captured the win. In 1979, he narrowly missed a three-way playoff to decide the championship at Drumlins East, finishing in fourth.
During his summer break in 1980, Sindelar finally captured the title that had eluded him, the NYS Men’s Amateur at Vestal Hills Country Club. He marched to a seven-stroke victory over the ’78 champion Sluman, setting a record with his 8-under par 280 (71-69-71-69). With the victory, he became the first Elmira-area golfer to capture the title since NYSGA Hall-of-famer Bill Tryon’s three wins in the 60s.
He attended the Ohio State University on scholarship and was a three-time All-American, member of the 1979 NCAA Championship team, and Ohio State’s Athlete of the Year in 1981 (first golfer to be named). During his time there he set the school record for best round (64), best tournament score (271) and set the BIG 10 record with his 69.93 scoring average. In his senior season, he set a record with six individual tournament victories and claimed the all-time record with 11 individual championships.
Upon graduating college in 1981, Sindelar chose not to defend his state amateur title and instead turned professional. He won his debut event at the Lake Shore Open in Rochester in a playoff and collected his first pro payout worth $1,500.
Another early professional victory was the 1983 NYS Open Championship at Grossinger’s Country Club. It marked the first time a player went wire-to-wire to win, shooting 2-under 211 over 54 holes.
As a member of the PGA Tour, Sindelar racked up seven victories. Two were on home turf at the 1985 and 1987 B.C. Open played at En-Joie Golf Club in Endicott. He won the 1988 Honda Classic and most recent PGA Tour victory was in 2004 at the Wachovia Championship (which he won in a playoff).
His best finishes in major championships include T6 at the 1992 U.S. Open (finished in the top-25 four times), T10 at the 1997 PGA Championship (finished in the top-25 two times), and T31 at the 1985 Masters.
Sindelar was inducted into the Ohio State Varsity Hall of Fame in 1992.
The 61-year-old has been on the Champions Tour since 2008 and still competes regularly, where he’s has had over 30 top-10 finishes. He still resides in the Southern Tier of New York, and if he’s not playing golf, he enjoys fishing on Keuka Lake, watching Syracuse and Ohio State athletics, and spending time with his two sons, Jamison (professional golfer) and Ryan.
Joey Sindelar’s Career Highlights
- NYSGA Men’s Amateur Champion (1980)
- NYSGA Boys’ Sub-Junior Champion (1971)
- 1983 NYS Open Champion
- 1976 NYS High School Champion
- 3x All-American at Ohio State University
- Member of the 1979 NCAA Championship Ohio State team
- 1981 Ohio State University Athlete of the Year
- 1992 Ohio State Varsity Hall of Fame Inductee
- 7x winner on the PGA Tour
- Best finishes in major championships
- US Open: T6 (1992), finished in the top-25 four times
- Masters: T31 (1985)
- PGA Championship: T10 (1997), finished in the top-25 two times