Gonzalo Fernández-Castaño

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Hi everyone. I'm writing from the Tokyo Haneda airport after my 10th season as a professional golfer comes to an end, with more lows than highs, but completed nonetheless. I have eight weeks of vacation time ahead, though I'm not sure I deserve it!

I'm about to board the plane, US-bound, and the truth is that I have this strange sensation, like a bad feeling inside. My performance this week at the Dunlop Phoenix Tournament, my favorite tournament of the season after the Masters and The Open, has nothing to do with it. I got a bad feeling after seeing the finale on TV of my friend, Rafa Cabrera in Dubai. And it's just incredible how unforgiving this sport can be sometimes… He was playing so well and all of a sudden, bam! one bad swing and all the hard work of the entire week is gone. In this game sometimes it's a bad swing, other times it's a wrong decision, and others, simply a bad attitude after a shot. This sums up my recently concluded 2014 season perfectly: a season in which, for one reason or another, things never turned out quite right.

A season filled with hopeful prospects which I went into with lots of motivation and excitement: my first full season in the PGA Tour, Ryder Cup options, secured participation in all the majors and WGC, etc. A season which, just like every year, I went into wanting to do things well. And that was quite possibly my first mistake: too high of expectations.

Statistics don't lie: I began the year in 35th place in the world rankings and I most likely finished below the top 100. A poor performance, keeping in mind like I said before, that I had access to all the most important tournaments where many world ranking points are awarded.

Of the 34 tournaments played this year (27 in the US, 3 in Europe, 1 in South Africa and 3 in Asia): zero victories, only one “top five” (RBC Canadian Open), no “top tens” and just 4 times in the top 25. Having been able to maintain the PGA Tour card in my first season as a member and holding the charge from the Asian Team at the Eurasia Cup were probably my most important feats this year, 2014, which is now coming to an end.

And now it's time for the assessment. It's about analyzing the mistakes and trying not to make them again. Looking for solutions. And above all, work, work and more work. There's no other hidden formula...

The first thing that comes to mind is how tired I was by the end of the season. Mistake number two: playing too much. I had never played in 30 tournaments before in one season. I even made it as far as nine weeks of play in a row during the summer, but it's true that the circumstances called for such a rigorous agenda (I needed to play to be able to make it to the Fedex Cup Playoffs). The hardest part about that journey was not being able to see the kids for seven weeks in a row, something I work hard to avoid happening again.

Golfers in general tend to see the glass half empty. We need to make an effort to start seeing the glass half full. On the bright side, It's been a year in which, in spite of the exhausting back-to-back sequence of tournaments, I held up pretty well physically and didn't get hurt, nor had pain of any type.

It's been a year in which I think I learned a lot. It was a little like going back to the beginning, 10 years ago when I started as a rookie in the European Tour. It was a similar sensation: new places, courses, game partners, etc. Only this time far away from Spain in the US, together with the family move which added even more pressure to the “equation”. On top of that, I've always said that a lot more is to be learned from bad rounds than good rounds, so this year was like a doctorate cum laude! Now, all jokes aside, I hope the experiences I lived this year will serve to help me improve for next season.

I wanted to take advantage of the occasion to thank all of my sponsors for their confidence in me, my entire work team for their dedication and professionalism, and especially my family for the constant support and understanding during this difficult season. Without of all them, and above all, the latter-mentioned, none of this “American dream” would be possible.

And now, time to recharge the batteries and work hard throughout the next eight weeks in preparation for the first tournament of 2015: the Humana Challenge in Palm Springs, California.

My best regards to all

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