Golf Champ Carlos Sainz, Jr.G-MAIL
ROSE was quick to say that she was a loyal VIATIMES reader, a Chicago Philippine Reports TV viewer, and followed my monthly column G-MAIL whenever she could get to our newsmagazine, which is why she knew that I would be extremely interested in meeting her son, CARLOS, JR., as she fondly calls him.
Rose knows of my unbridled passion for the game of golf, and knows that I had written about this topic repeatedly when I played in tournaments, when I followed PGA and LPGA events, and most especially when I did past articles with famous Filipino golfers like DOROTHY DELASIN and JENNIFER ROSALES.
Fast forward to 2010…I received a call from ROSE that her sons, MICHAEL and CARLOS, JR., had BOTH qualified for the 61st PGA ILLINOIS OPEN which was to be held at the posh and private Hawthorne Woods Golf Club in a few days.
MICHAEL SAINZ who is 20, and his brother, CARLOS JR., who is 24, were both competing on the same weekend, and Mom Rose wanted to know if I wanted to interview the boys for both TV and print media. My answer was a resounding “Yes, of course”, and proceeded to badger Veronica and Joe for press passes to the Illinois Open.
Soon, the newly-ordained MIKE ALOBA was tapped for the assignment, and JAMES DC of the comedy segment “LOL WITH JAMES DC” agreed to man the camera.
Off we went on that hot, sunny day to take a look at “the boys,” as Mom Rose affectionately referred to his two, world-class golfing champions who both had local championships under their belt. CARLOS, JR., won the ELGIN OPEN at age 19, and young MICHAEL came up number one at the 2010 JOLIET OPEN, just as he was turning 20. Quite a feat, I must say, to have not one, but TWO sons qualifying for this prestigious tournament, where a field of 3000 hopefuls have been whittled down to just 150, who then compete for the top 60 spots on the last two days. Carlos, Jr. came in sixth on the final day.
Rose and I had two days to spend chatting about the boys, the older Carlos Jr., having just graduated from the University of Mississippi, while the young Michael, still in High School, followed in his brother’s footsteps, as “Kuya” (older brother) Carlos encouraged his younger sibling to keep playing his best.
I marveled at Rose’s account of their childhood, and how Dad, CARLOS SAINZ, SR., introduced the game to both kids at a very young age, taking them with him as he practiced his own game at their neighboring courses in Elgin. Since CARLOS, JR. was older by almost 5 years, he was the first one to acquire the golfing bug, caddying all throughout his high school years, then going into a full golf scholarship at the UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI before he landed a spot in the Canadian Tour where he finally qualified as a golf professional, and where he now currently competes and resides.
CARLOS SAINZ, JR. along with caddie and best friend NICK.
CARLOS JR,. is a handsome young man, well mannered and a good conversationalist. His half-Filipino, half-Bolivian facial features are complimented with an enviable golden tan, and his lithe, slim frame allows Carlos, Jr. to wear the latest golf outfits stylishly and comfortably without compromising his performance on the course. His good looks and sense of style could help sell the latest golf wear, while his talent and skills around the green makes Carlos, Jr. one to watch and emulate on the course. His powerful, yet graceful swing has won this player many a round, and the highlight of his young golfing career was making it to number 8 on the money list in his last game with the Canadian tour.
He has a cool, calm demeanor about him when he plays his game, and an eagle-eye focus that bodes well whenever he decides to attack the pin, allowing him to make more birdies than pars. Shooting under par 72 is the name of the game nowadays, Carlos, Jr. points out, and scoring an even par game will not land you on the money list anywhere, nor get you in to qualify to compete on the last day of any tournament.
In his last Canadian tour win, Carlos, Jr. shot an outstanding score of 66, six under par, his best game thus far; but judging him based on his Illinois Open game, Carlos, JR. is poised to make his mark in the golfing world and make us all proud to say that he is indeed a “kababayan”(countryman).
CARLOS SAINZ, JR. is currently playing on the Canadian Tour and hopes to use this as a springboard towards eventually playing in the United States as a North American tour professional. He aims to compete in all the major PGA events in the future, just as 2003 MASTERS CHAMPION MIKE WEIR did. Weir played the Canadian Tour for a few years prior to him getting his North American tour card, which led him down the road to the Masters.
Carlos, Jr. says in his CPRTV interview that he knows he is getting better at his game, while he keeps trying to learn new things daily to enhance his performance. He has a rigorous training schedule, as well as a holistic approach to a healthy mind-body connection that is important to his game, and focuses on short-term and long-term goals for his future.
Carlos Jr. is driven to win, yet appreciates coming home to Mom Rose’s home-cooked meals of Filipino food and his golf rounds with kid brother, Michael, as they try to outdo each other on the golf course whenever he takes a break from the Canadian tour.
On the whole, CARLOS, JR. is indeed a success story born on the greens of Elgin, fueled by his passion and love of the game, while guided by family, friends and his own firm belief that, in due time, he too, will claim his place among the best of the best in this sport of contradictions, the one sport where at the end of the day, it is only you competing against your worst and best enemy, yourself.
We wish CARLOS SAINZ, JR. a world of good luck and good fortune, continued success and growth, and to mom ROSE and dad CARLOS SR., congratulations on raising not one, but two, true Filipino champions that ALL of us Filipino-Americans would be proud to call our own.