Rookie Jhonattan Vegas won the third PGA Tour event of the year, the Bob Hope Classic, which earned the attention of the press in his native Venezuela. Problem is, the country doesn’t understand golf, so Vegas has had to try to explain to the press some of the basics of the game — just simple things, like how placing top-20 at a PGA Tour event amounts to a pretty great week.
Q. You’ve talked a lot about being sort of worn out by everything that’s gone on since you’ve won and the demands that go with that. Just curious how you manage that. Have you changed anything?
JHONATTAN VEGAS: It’s been really tough because being a foreign player, especially coming from a country that has no idea about golf, the demands internationally are really tough, and that’s something that I really have been having to deal with, and it’s been taking a lot of my time.
The thing that I realized after a few weeks of playing horrible is that mentally you really get worn out if you’re not careful, having to deal with so many things, the media back home, and trying to explain to everyone what really golf is and finishing top 20 in a TOUR event is not the end of the world because the people keep asking, why did you finish 19th, are you kidding, what a horrible week.
I’m like, really?
So it’s been hard having to deal with all that stuff, but I’m taking it as it goes and being a little bit more patient and just trying to just focus on myself a little more.
Q. I’m just curious, do you get a sense of how excited everyone back there is about what you’re doing?
JHONATTAN VEGAS: Yeah, I mean, everyone is really excited, but at the same time it could be really negative because we don’t have knowledge about the game, and like I told you, you finish 19th on TOUR and people at home go like, what, really, you had a mediocre week, and I’m like, wow.
So having to deal with all that stuff can be really tough because when you get asked questions that are just out of this world — I really want to take the end of the year as soon as I’m done with everything to go there and talk to everyone and explain a little more about how the PGA TOUR is, and hopefully we’ll start getting a little more knowledge about it and get better.
It’s tough enough to deal with the challenges of just getting through his rookie year, so I can’t imagine having to tackle those added pressures. But I mean, c’mon, Jhonny, can’t you do a little better than 19th??
(AP Photo/Barbara Johnston)