Gonzalo Fernández-Castaño

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Hi everyone! It’s been a long time since my last post, although you’ve probably already noticed, there hasn’t been much to tell as far as golf goes. Without a doubt one of the worst starts of a season of my professional career: ten tournaments played and only three cuts made. If we add the four tournaments I played last Fall to that, which count toward 2015 as well, the beginning of the season couldn’t have been more disappointing.  

Throughout the first couple weeks of the year, my game from tee to green wasn’t up to par. If you add a poor performance on the greens, a deadly combination: struggling week after week to make the cut, and when I made it, it didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped. After lots of hard work on my swing with Randy, I’ve been hitting the ball better lately, but my putt didn’t allow for it to be reflected in the results. My putt has been my Achilles heel this year, and it’s about time I get it straightened out in order to turn the season around. If not, it’s going to be really difficult.

After some changes with Randy at the end of last year, there’s a new variable in my swing otherwise unknown until now: the hook. In all my years as a professional, I’ve never been much of a hooker. I’ve always started off missing on the right, and then started missing on the left, which began  to generate a huge insecurity when it came time to hit the ball. It seemed to be the tournament in Palm Beach where we finally were able to minimize the effect and it was in Houston when we went full speed ahead and were able to get rid of it completely. I hit the ball much better in Houston, the last nine holes on Sunday were a shame, if not I would have been able to reach my first top 20 of the season.

The icing on the cake to this annus horribilis was when my caddie from over these past years, Jeff, left. After the tournament in Orlando, he told me it would be our last together. As we always used to joke around, I thought he was kidding, but no, after almost 7 years together, that was our last round. So I’d like to dedicate a few lines to thanking him for those magnificent years together in which we shared incredible moments, including four victories, and to wish him all the best in the future.

This past week I’ve been at home resting, recharging my batteries. At first I thought about not watching the Masters, but after the first two rounds, I decided I couldn’t miss a Masters that would go down in history, like the one from 1997 with Tiger’s first victory. What Jordan Spieth did at 21 years old is incredible. I’m really happy for him, because he’s a great guy: polite, humble, modest, etc. The son-in-law every dad would want! I was cheering him on from my couch all weekend long, and I was so happy although I would like to have seen him make par on the last hole to break the tournament record. I was also excited about the farewell of two-time Masters champion, Ben Crenshaw. And just thinking that someday Olazábal could be right there with him gave me the chills!

So despite not having been able to participate in the first major of the year, it was a wonderful week of rest at home. I needed it, because I had played in seven tournaments in a row before that since the Northern Trust Open in Los Angeles and the tiredness was beginning to weigh on me. I didn’t plan it like that, I didn’t think I would play in the tournament at Bay Hill and that I would rest that week, but a last minute invitation changed my plans. And no one says no to Arnold Palmer. On top of that, the Bay Hill tournament has always been one of my favorites of the year and it would have been really frustrating to have to miss it. It was a shame not to have been able to take advantage of the opportunity presented.

The best part about that week was my initiation into the fishing world. There are lots of golfers and Tour caddies who travel with their fishing rods along with their clubs. When they finish playing or practicing, they grab their rods and go to one of the course lakes to indulge in their hobby. I’ve always been a hunter and I never thought I’d have the patience necessary for fishing, and despite the fact that I lack the skills, it’s fun and it clears my head; not thinking all day about golf. Thanks to my new hobby, my unstable moments are somewhat tamed, at a relatively normal level for a golfer.

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