Ian Woosnam became the 15th player to play in 500 European Tour events when he teed up at the PGA Championship at Wentworth on Thursday.
Woosnam will captain Europe in the Ryder Cup in September
"It feels like 5,000, not 500," said the 2006 Ryder Cup captain, 48. "I've had some ups and some downs.
The Welshman, who shot a level par 72, added: "I had a handicap of one when I turned pro. I was very erratic. A lot of people said I wouldn't make it.
"I think I'm fortunate to stand here having won 45 tournaments."
Welshman Woosnam, who turned pro in 1976, captured the 1991 Masters at Augusta and also played in eight Ryder Cups.
"It's been quite a good achievement - plus I've enjoyed myself along the way as well," he said.
I expect the Ryder Cup to go down to the wire
"I definitely had more fun than the guys have now. You go in the gym for two hours before you go off, play your game of golf, do a bit of practice and then a couple more hours in the gym.
"I don't think that was for me - I don't think I would have been making it."
Woosnam last played in the Ryder Cup at Valderrama in 1997 but he will captain the European team against the Americans at the K Club in Ireland in September.
"America are always going to be stronger on paper," he said.
"But I think because we've won the last two, and four times out of the last five, that we might have the edge on them. I expect it to go down to the wire."