10/12/2013

The ability to overcome adversity is an endeared trait in sport. People from all walks of life face adversity daily. The common man can relate. Expressions referring adversity are a common sight. Adversity typically leads to heartache and strife. This past month included times of heartache and strife for Andres Gonzalez.

For those who don’t know Andres, he has been aspiring for the PGA Tour via mini-tours since 2006. He is oft-recognized for his signature Fu-Manchu mustache he wears from event-to-event, accompanying it with a viscous and tangled mullet. The 30-year old is a bit of a golfing journeyman – as are the majority of professional golfers – and hasn’t had a consistent place on Tour during his entire career. He’s a fun-loving guy who regularly tweets at Tiger Woods, hoping one day for a response from the world #1. In 2012, he won an event on the Web.com Tour and in 2013, he played a full schedule on the PGA Tour. At last week’s Web.com Tour Finals, Andres was seen in a different light.

In the final day of the final event, Andres was on the cutline for retaining his PGA Tour card for 2014. After watching fellow pro Lee Williams – in a similar predicament – drain a 40+ foot putt on the final hole to obtain his card, Andres failed to convert on his opportunity to do the same. Golf Channel drama followed.

They had a flamboyant Tour pro in the clubhouse with only one player on the course, Andrew Loupe, who could change his fate. Andres sat anxiously in a seat next to the Golf Channel’s Kelly Tilghman watching his fate unfold before him – with a camera glued to his every expression. He needed some help from Loupe.

In the end, it came down to a 5-footer on the 18th hole for Loupe. He makes, he gets his card. He misses, Andres Gonzales receives his. Loupe made the putt, without a shred of doubt in his confident stroke. The confidence exuded in Loupe’s putter was seen in the opposite form leaving Andres Gonzales’ body on live television. Visibly crushed, Andres had trouble finding words in his subsequent interview with Tilghman. Anyone who knows Andres knows this loss for words is rare.

Optimistic, Andres said he was going to play the Web.com Tour and try his best to play well in the PGA Tour events in which he was afforded the opportunity. Fast forward to this week…

After a first round 74 at the Frys.com, Andres followed it with a Friday round of 62. His score was the lowest of the day and it had to have felt like an ounce of redemption. In a PGA Tour event, he posted the lowest score of his professional career. It was his show of overcoming adversity.

Redemption which he hopes will define his 2014 season.

Troy Klongerbo

FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER @troy_usgolftv

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