PGA Tour leaderboards had better make room for one of the longest names in golf. Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, No. 36 in the world, is bringing his 23 letters, hyphen and stellar game to the PGA Tour in his first full-time foray in the United States.
“It’s always been my dream to play here,” he told The Man Out Front ahead of his 2014 debut at this week’s Farmers Insurance Open.
On the strength of a tie for third at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and tie for 10th at the U.S. Open, “Gonzo” earned enough points to finish in the top 125 on the nonmember FedEx Cup points list and earn a PGA Tour card for 2013-14.
Fernandez-Castano, 33, owns seven European Tour victories and still plans to reach his minimum starts on that circuit. Did the Spaniard have any concerns of making his big move during a Ryder Cup year? Not with the changes to the Tour Q-School, he said.
“You only get so many opportunities in life, and when you do, you have to jump at them,” Fernandez-Castano said. “If I play well, I still have a chance to make the team or be chosen as a wild-card pick.”
He moved in December with his wife and three young children from Madrid to Miami, not far from the U.S. residence of Sergio Garcia, with whom he has played golf since age 9.
Fernandez-Castano shouldn’t have trouble making new friends in his neighborhood. When he finished hitting balls at Trump National Doral, he rushed off to purchase a barbecue. And who doesn’t go gonzo for a great GrillMaster?