If we asked you to use 10 words to describe the majority of golf players, Latino would not make it to the list. Nevertheless, Latinos are becoming more and more part of the professional golf scene and you’ve probably already heard about them or will hear about them very soon. Get to know some of the best on the PGA TOUR (the organizer of the main and most famous professional golf events played around the world.) and why we should all be cheering for them:
1. Camilo Villegas
Also known as Spiderman for the unique posture he does to read putts*, this Colombian player has won 4 PGA Tour events as well as 2 international events and according to GQ Magazine, “he has more screaming female fans than Justin Timberlake”. Camilo took Colombian and international golf by surprise and he has not only made a mark in the game but also in getting sexy back for the sport. He brings the fuego to the course and has made over 19 million dollars in earnings throughout his career. He also has what he calls an “obsessive cycling disorder” and earlier this year he won a cycling event in North Carolina. Talk about having an affinity for sports!
* For those of you who are not familiar with the sport, there are different kinds of shots to get the ball in the hole. Drive is a long distance shot and a putt is a short range one. The putt is the last shot you take once you have the ball very close to the hole.
2. Jhonattan Vegas
Don’t let the weird spelling of his name mislead you, this Venezuelan player has the sport gene in him. He started playing golf using a broomstick and a rock as a kid and eventually his golf skills got him a scholarship at the University of Texas. He has won 3 PGA Tour events including the Canadian Open of 2016 and 2017 and he represented his country in the Rio Olympics of 2016. A living legend that teaches us to dream big!
Por ti mi Venezuela querida. Quiero verte sonreír de nuevo con un gobierno que te represente. Necesitamos una mejor Venezuela. ???????????? pic.twitter.com/LwvoAefHAv
— Jhonattan Vegas (@JhonattanVegas) July 31, 2017
3. Emiliano Grillo
Emiliano Grillo might be only 24 but he has already made a name for himself in the PGA Tour. He started playing golf when he was just 5 years old and since then, he has not left the courses. Born in Resistencia, Argentina, he moved to Florida to perfect his game. So far he has won 1 PGA Tour event but this was on his first year as a rookie, something almost impossible to do! He has also won 2 other major tournaments and given his numbers and young age, Emiliano will definitely win plenty more events in the years to come.
4. Sebastián Muñoz
Sebastián’s father was a golfer and he decided to start his son early, so he’s been playing with a golf club since the age of 3. Like many other golfers, he was great at other sports but he fell in love with golf and moved to Texas to get his degree there and pursue a career in professional golf. He was the first Colombian to win the Web.com Tour which is part of golf’s AAA league and being only 24, we hope that he has a lot of shelves in his house for all the other trophies he’ll win in the coming years.
5. Roberto Castro
Roberto was born in Houston, Texas. His mom is from Peru and his dad from Costa Rica. He is an engineer, a professional golfer and a writer. His record at Georgia Tech is quite amazing, he became the All-American and top player of the team which led him to think of golf as a profession. According to the sport psychologist Gio Valiante, “Castro has the best mind among all young golfers in the game” because he is able to analyze the game like a puzzle and put it together. He is also very involved in charity and in past years has raised over $30,000 dollars thanks to all his sponsored eagles and birdies* during tournaments.
*For those of you who are not very familiar with this sport, each golf hole has a par, or the number of strokes you have to get the ball in the hole. A birdie is when you get the ball in the hole in one shot less than the par and an eagle is when you get it two under par. So, if there is a par 4 and you got it in 3 shots, you made a birdie and if you got it in in 2, you made an eagle.
— Roberto Castro (@cicioCASTRO) January 31, 2017
6. Rodolfo Cazaubón
According to the PGA Tour, Rodolfo is one of the Latin players we should keep an eye on this 2017. This Mexican golfer from Tampico, Tamaulipas, has been making headlines since last year when he represented Mexico in the Rio Olympics. He has already won 3 PGA Tour Latinoamérica tournaments and is hungry for many more. He comes from a family of athletes (his mom even made a hole-in-one once and won an SUV for it) and his brother used to play professional soccer for the Monterrey club in Mexico.
7. Andrés Romero
With a PGA Tour title in his pocket, Andrés Romero can also tell you that Carlos Tevez (yes, as in one of the best Argentinian soccer players ever) was his caddie during the final round of the 2012 Open Championship. Romero was born in Tucumán, Argentina and he started playing golf when he was just 8 years old after being diagnosed with a kidney disease that kept him in bed for a while. By 16 he was already a pro and he has made over 9 million dollars with his career in golf.
— GolfBlog.com (@GolfBlog_com) June 30, 2017
8. Miguel Ángel Carballo
This Argentinian professional golfer fell in love with the sport when he was just 11 years old and he worked as a caddie. He liked the game so much that he used to practice with a tree branch and eventually got his first set of clubs when he was 13. He has won 2 international PGA Tour events, one in Guatemala and the other one in Panama. He is 38 now and has made almost two million dollars which is not bad for a boy who sold golf balls he retrieved from ponds to make money when he was little.