FORT WAYNE – When you interview Andres Gonzales, one of the best golfers in the world, you’ve got to be prepared.
I’m testing you, he said.
Gonzales, who is known for his vibrant personality, majored in journalism at UNLV and has had articles published in golf magazines.
I keep a journal and hope to maybe write a book at some point, he said. In school, I never thought about writing a book. But I enjoy writing. I wasn’t good at it as a young kid. I had a writing tutor every Monday all the way through high school. Then I got to college and, frankly, was there to party and hang out. I didn’t like studying.
I realized that journalism was good for me. I was already a good writer grammatically and it enabled me to go through different formats. I got a passion for writing.
Already, at 31, Gonzales should have plenty of fodder to include in his memoirs.
He’s bounced back and forth between the PGA and Web.com tours; had a comical, highly publicized stint of tweets he sent to Tiger Woods, who didn’t even know him, in 2011 (example: @TigerWoods as you probably know, my birthday was this week. I believe you owe me a night around a camp fire with songs and smores); has been told he looks like Kenny Power of the HBO comedy Eastbound & Down; and proved himself a charitable person.
A lot of people know him for his long, flowing hair, which he’s no longer sporting. It was something he did for Locks of Love, an organization that makes hair prosthetics for people going through chemotherapy, after his father died of pancreatic cancer in 2007.
He’s in line to play at the Hotel Fitness Championship at Sycamore Hills Golf Club that begins Aug. 28 and is the first of the four events in the Web.com Tour Finals, and maybe he’ll get some more material for that book.
The more you play, the more you mature, said Gonzales, from Olympia, Washington. I’m 31 now, and since I was 23, I’ve gotten better and better, and you learn what mistakes not to make and how to produce at the highest level.
In 2013, he played in 17 PGA Tour events, but he made the cut in only three of them and earned $179,387. That put him in the Web.com Tour Finals, where he had to try and re-earn his PGA Tour card for this year.
At the Hotel Fitness Championship, which was won by Trevor Immelman, he shot a 2-under 70 and a 74 and missed the cut. He blames that performance for missing out on the Tour card.
I rented a place in Austin, Texas, over the winter, and I spent a lot of time working with my swing instructor, Ann Marie Gildersleeve, at Austin Country Club, he said. I worked with her for four or five days a week. My weakness has always been driving accuracy.
He’s earned $238,620 in 17 Web.com Tour events this year – including a victory at the Utah Championship in July (where he won the annual moustache contest) – and made the cut in 11 events. He’s already locked up a PGA Tour card for next year, meaning he can take some time off and get ready for the Finals.
It’s given me the freedom to get rested up and get my mind together, he said. I can give my body a rest and not have to play five straight weeks. I think a lot of guys who aren’t inside the top 75 and guaranteed to be in the playoffs, they’ve got some big weeks coming up. They’ll be running on seven tournaments in a row and I’ll be more fresh-minded.
Gonzales, who was also a full-time PGA Tour player in 2011, hopes he’ll find more success this year at Sycamore Hills. Competing will be the top 75 players from the Web.com Tour and Nos. 126 to 200 in the PGA Tour’s FedExCup points list.
I’m excited to get back, he said. The course is phenomenal.