«I quit because I have already lost the enthusiasm for playing golf»

Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño He is one of the most important golfers that Spain has produced. With seven international victories to his name, he occupies ninth place in the all-time list of victories, above myths such as José María Cañizares, Antonio Garrido or Pepín Rivero. However, at 42 years old and after ten without winning, he feels that his competitive stage has come to an end and he leaves the Tour.

-How is he now?

-Well, in a complex situation, because curiously the body continues to respond to me, but it is true that competitively I notice that I am no longer there. When you have felt the adrenaline of being on top on Sunday it is very difficult to leave it, because it is like a drug that calls you. But well, it is a step that must be faced.

-In your case, also, after having a triumphant career…

-He had spent half his life dedicated to competing professionally at the highest level. And half of that half life practically with a victory per year. I have had a fantastic sports career, which I did not even imagine with so many titles on the European Tour. In addition, I have been able to reconcile my professional life with my family, which is not easy with four children when you travel so much. Therefore, if I had to start over, I would do everything the same, without hesitation.

-His natural progression took him to the PGA Tour, where, however, he failed to succeed. Do you regret the step taken?

-No, although it is one of the thorns that remain stuck in me. My dream when I started playing was to compete against the best and they are in the United States. So, when I had the opportunity to compete there, I didn’t hesitate for a moment and thanks to the support of my family we went to Florida. It was a wonderful experience that I would repeat without thinking for a single minute, even if it didn’t go well professionally.

-In addition, his American career was the other way around. Instead of starting with promotion tournaments all the way to the PGA Touryou started big to end up in the second division.

-Yes, I arrived with all the illusion and, suddenly… boom! As soon as you don’t measure up, you find yourself in a circuit that you weren’t looking for either. But, well, I understood that at that moment it was what had to be done and I settled there. I also earned some enmity because there were people who considered that I should have returned to Europe to play and that by staying there it was a bit of a rudeness towards the European Tour. However, despite the fact that I recovered the top card a season later, I then lost it again.

-So in 2019 he decided to close his American adventure and return home. How was the return?

-Complicated because I played in Europe and my family continued to live in Miami. That’s why in 2020 we all decided to go back and the pandemic appeared… anyway, since then I’ve been dragging myself on the European tour, as they say. I never got my game back.

-And there the desire to compete was taken away?

-When you begin to realize that you are no longer fighting to win tournaments, the illusion soon disappears. When you’ve been lucky enough to be fighting for the titles, to feel the adrenaline of victory, it doesn’t taste like having to do it to make the cut. It’s a bit disheartening and there comes a time when you have to assume that everything has a beginning and an end. I play to win. If not, it’s not worth it.

-It is difficult to see him retired at 42 years of age. What are you going to do with his free time?

-Well it’s a good question. It is clear that with things related to golf. I studied Business Administration and Management and I have been involved in this since I was two years old. I think there are things to do in Spain and I am lucky to have lived in the United States and to have traveled seeing a lot of golf. I still don’t know exactly if I will focus on training, events or communication, because I am still looking for my place.

-You talk about communication and precisely your loquacity has brought you some other problem.

-Yes, the truth is that I do not characterize myself as having hair on the tongue. One of the things that I value most about people is that they go head-on and I admit that sometimes I can go a bit too far in my comments, but it is beyond my strength (laughs).

-Well, since you speak without complexes, tell us what you think of Jon Rahm.

-It seems extraordinary to me, both for his personality and for his game. The 14 clubs in the bag work perfectly for him, although his great asset is his head. I don’t remember a player of that caliber since Tiger Woods. I’m his number one fan.

-The one who has always kept good memories is Seve.

-I was lucky because we shared the sponsorship of Valle Romano and it was a very fun time. I also remember when he captained us in the Seve Trophy in Ireland. For me it was incredible because I grew up idolizing Ballesteros. He had a special aura that I’ve only seen from Arnold Palmer. Not even Nicklaus himself had that magnetism.

About the LIV Tour

Gonzalo Fernández-Castaño is clear that the arrival of LIV Golf is a great opportunity for players. «There are a number of golfers who play to enter the annals of history, but 99.9% of professionals are here to earn a wage and provide for our families. I consider myself a golf worker and that is why it seems perfectly legitimate that some have gone on that tour to claim huge amounts of money. I respect those who stay, but if they had offered it to me, I would have had a hard time saying no.



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