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EyeCandy: Puerto Rico Open Golf Tournament Pics & Results

Posted on 16 July 2009 by EyeFred

After a week of perfect tropical weather, activities, and some great golf, The Puerto Rico Open has come to an end.  42-year old Michael Bradley took the trophy after an 11-foot birdie putt that placed him in the lead by a single shot over fellow players Jason Day and Brett Quigley.  This is Bradley’s first PGA Tour victory in eleven years and it has earned him a spot in the 2009 PGA Championship.  We’d like to thank all of the players for their participation and everyone in Puerto Rico who made this event possible for the second year in a row.  We hope you enjoy the photo gallery of the event we’ve put together below:


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18 Questions with Rafa Campos

Posted on 11 July 2009 by EyeFred

Rafael “Rafa” Campos is one of Puerto Rico’s rising stars in the world of golf.  With only twenty years of age (and eleven of those as a golfer), this young Puerto Rican’s promising career has seen him win the Puerto Rico Island Amateur tournament two years ago and play several Pro Tournament events, including the Tour De Las Americas in Ponce, twice.  This year, Rafa – whose WAGR is currently #170 – has been invited to play the PGA TOUR’s second annual Puerto Rico Open presented by Banco Popular.  The event, to be held at the Trump International Golf Club in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico on March 12-15, 2009 is also Mr. Campos’s second time at the PR Open.  Rafa was gracious enough to answer some of our questions going into the tournament.  We wish him the best of luck!

A bit about your golfing background…

1. At what age did you start playing golf? Where did the interest come from?

I started playing golf when I was 9.  My father and uncle were invited to play and decided to take all of my cousins and family members with them.  Since then, golf has been an important part of my life.

2. Did golf come easily to you or was learning to play the sport challenging? Which aspects of your game have you worked on the most in order to improve your performance?

Learning to play golf has definitely been a challenge.  I don’t think anyone considers the sport simple.  I have dedicated much more time to perfecting my short game because in the end, your game comes down to chipping and putting.  You don’t win tournaments by hitting the ball far but by getting the ball in the hole in the fewest amount of strokes.

3. Which part of your game would consider your strength? Which part do you have to practice the most?

I think that the mental aspect of the game is my strength.  I believe that while every game played is a completely different experience, the mental approach going into a tournament is pretty much always the same.  I know that I can start a tournament or a round playing horrendously and still battle my way into a good score.  I still have to practice my putting a lot more and my approach shots from 60 yards and in.  I have always been able to put the ball in play, but still would like to work on accuracy.

4. Do you model your game after a particular player? Which professional player would you say your game is most comparable to in terms of your strengths and weaknesses?

My all-time favorite player is Adam Scott.  I would love to have Adam Scott’s swing and composure, but I have my own ways of getting around the course and I can’t complain about them.  People say I look like Chris DiMarco, but I don’t know about that…

5. What other players do you look up to and why? What were some of your favorites growing up?

I definitely look up to Tiger Woods because of his ability to dominate every player and every hurdle that is placed in front of him.  There’s also a group of Puerto Rican players that since little I’ve tried to follow in on their footsteps: Mauricio Muñiz, Erick Morales, Max Alverio, Miguel Suarez , and Wilfredo Morales – they’ve all had some type of impact on my game.  Now, I have the opportunity to play beside and against them in World Class events!

6. Describe to us the best game you’ve ever played. Where did you play it? Any particular shots/plays that come to mind?

The best game I ever played was in Palmas del Mar, when I shot a 61 on the Palm Course.  I remember the ball was going in the hole every time.  I didn’t hit the ball good at all, but managed to make every shot when it came to putting!  I also remember making a hole-in-one in St. Kitts on hole #15 during the Carribean Championships about 4 years ago.

About Puerto Rico…

7. Which are your favorite courses in the world? How about in Puerto Rico?

The Trump International Championship Course is probably the most challenging golf course in Puerto Rico.  It’s always in great shape and the staff is unbelievably cordial to us.  I grew up in Río Mar so I also like spending the occasional weekend hitting some balls over there.  One of the most beautiful courses I’ve played in is the Dye Fore in the Dominican Republic.  It’s built around a huge cliff so all the views are spectacular!

8. What did you take away from your experience playing in the 2008 PR Open? What did you learn from that experience that has helped in preparing for this year’s event?

I realized at last year’s event that you can’t judge your game by the results of a one week of playing.  Duffy Waldorf told me during the third round that you have to make a long term commitment to your game and can’t get upset because of how you’re playing on any particular day.  Improvement is a gradual process and talent is measured in the long run.  I am going into this tournament a little more relaxed, knowing that I worked my way into it and strongly believing that I can compete with PGA Tour professionals any day.  All I have to do is relax and enjoy the moment – but at the same time remain extremely focused.

9. What steps would you take to promote and help popularize golf in PR?

There should be a professional league in Puerto Rico.  Argentina, Colombia, Chile, and many other countries have their own professional leagues that attract spectators to their tournaments.  I believe this would help our local talent, keeping Puerto Rican professionals and their games at their highest levels, not only because of the potential prize money, but because it would provide them with opportunities to compete and be ready for World Class events.

10. What are your favorite spots on the island? Where do you like to hang out?

I like to go to La Placita in Santurce.  It is very relaxing and I like to go particularly when there’s not a lot of people around, so I can hang out with my cousins, my friends, and my brother.  I also like spending time with them in Old San Juan – the city being a constant reminder of our culture and heritage.  Plus, we always run into people there.

11. What three places would you recommend to tourists visiting Puerto Rico for the first time and why?

You have to visit Old San Juan both during the day and at night – and you can take a break and visit the Ocean Park beach during the afternoon.  You have to see El Morro, El Yunque, and Condado when you come to Puerto Rico.

12. Follow-up questions (a speed round): In Puerto Rico, what is your:

Favorite Beach – Ocean Park
Favorite Restaurant – Burbujas Café in La Esmeralda Ave. in the municipality of Guaynabo
Favorite Traditional Dish – Bistec Empanado a la Milanesa con arroz blanco (white rice)
Favorite Activity – Go out with cousins at night and meet with friends / Fishing
Favorite Spot to relax – Río Mar Villa

And… Back to golf!

13. If you could sit down with one player and pick his brain for a couple of hours, which one would it be and why? What would you ask?

Geoff Ogilvy.  I would ask him why doesn’t he show any emotions while playing a golf tournament and how can he keep his composure so well when playing under pressure.

14. Who would take part in your “dream” foursome?

I would play with my dad, Tiger Woods, and Arnold Palmer.

15. Your favorite moment in your golf career has been …

When I won the Puerto Rico Island Amateur two years ago.  It was certainly a big win and a personal goal of mine I got to achieve.  Also, playing the Puerto Rico Open last year.

16. What short and long term goals do you have? Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?

Right now I want to finish school and get my bachelor’s degree from Virginia Commonwealth University so I can focus on golf next.  Golf wise, I want to better my  game all around.  I see myself playing full time in the PGA Tour in the next five to ten years.  Obviously, I am going to need some support in order to jump start my career.  I’d like to be able to find someone willing to invest in me when I turn pro because anyone trying to make a living at this sport is going to need some financial support to start off.  Thankfully, the moral support will always be there from friends, family, and fans, but that is only part of being able to succeed as a professional.

17. Any advice to other players playing the PR Open for the first time?

Don’t go out of your routine.  It could get windy and one thing most people do when there is a lot of wind is swing hard and hurry up.  That’s something you don’t want to do at the course.  Another thing is to remember to go out there and have fun.  There’s going to be great weather and you should embrace the fact that you are going to be playing with some of the best players in the world.

18. Any advice to people traveling to Puerto Rico for the 2009 PR Open?

Get ready for some hot weather and exciting golf.  Come and support us Puerto Ricans in this main event and go out and enjoy quality golf in a great course!


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Puerto Rico Open Official Press Release

Posted on 06 July 2009 by EyeFred


Photo by Shayan (USA)

Photo by Shayan (USA)

Let’s Play Two: PGA TOUR and
World Classic Baseball in Puerto Rico

By Nelson Silverio and Mark Stevens-PGA TOUR

March 4, 2009, Rio Grande, Puerto Rico — A sports fan’s dream is taking place in Puerto Rico next week as the world’s top athletes in golf and baseball converge on the Isle of Enchantment.  On March 7-11, Puerto Rico will host four international teams as a first-round site for the World Baseball Classic (WBC) at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan. On Thursday, March 12, the day after the WBC bracket’s championship game, 132 of the world’s finest golfers from 16 countries will begin play in the PGA TOUR’s second annual Puerto Rico Open presented by Banco Popular.

The crack of the bat leads to the ball in the cup as the stars of the PGA TOUR will tackle the Trump International Golf Club in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico March 12-15. Puerto Rico’s greatest golfer Juan “Chi-Chi” Rodriguez, an eight-time winner on the PGA TOUR, will return as tournament ambassador to hand out the trophy bearing his name.  The economic impact of the Puerto Rico Open on the island is significant. The Puerto Rico Open will be broadcasted in over 589 million households, in 231 countries and translated into 35 languages.  Additionally, the PGA TOUR players and their families, caddies and fans will be traveling to Puerto Rico to experience all the island has to offer, including El Yunque National Forest. Just across the street from Trump International Golf Club, El Yunque is currently in the running to become a New7Wonder of Nature.

The Puerto Rico Open field has combined for more than 100 PGA TOUR victories, including six major championships. U.S Open runner-up Rocco Mediate, Ryder Cup star J.B. Holmes and 18-year-old Tadd Fujikawa will be among those players battling defending champion Greg Kraft.  Mediate was defeated by Tiger Woods at the 2008 U.S. Open in a Monday playoff. Despite the loss, Mediate gained a legion of fans from around the world for his role in what has been described in media circles as one of the great major championships of all time.  Holmes, a two-time PGA TOUR champion, played for the United States at last year’s Ryder Cup, and is considered one of the top young stars on the PGA TOUR.

The teenager Fujikawa, a native of Hawaii, received a sponsor’s exemption to play in the Puerto Rico Open. Earlier this year, Fujikawa thrilled his hometown fans at the Sony Open in Hawaii with a third-round 8-under 62 to jump into contention at the event.  Fujikawa’s achievements on the course are all the more impressive considering he was born three months premature and doctors gave him a 50-50 chance of survival. He weighed 1 pound, 15 ounces and was so small that he could fit in his grandfather’s palm.  Fujikawa, along with Rodriguez, will be hosting a Junior Clinic on Tuesday for local youth.

Hispanic Presence in the Field

Four golfers from Puerto Rico who played in the 2008 Puerto Rico Open are scheduled to participate: Max Alverio, Rafael Campos (amateur), Wilfredo Morales and Miguel Suárez.  Additionally, in an effort to showcase up-and-coming Latin American players, the tournament is extending exemptions to the winners of select Tour de Las Américas events. The four players receiving these exemptions are Manual Villegas, Antti Ahokas, Estanislao Goya and Felipe Aguilar Schuler.

Villegas won the 2008 Colombian and Argentinean Open, and is the brother of PGA TOUR professional Camilo Villegas, both from Colombia. Manuel who followed in Camilo’s footsteps by playing golf at the University of Florida will make his first start on the PGA TOUR.  Ahokas, a member of the PGA European Tour, won the 103° Abierto VISA de la República presentado por Peugeot in Argentina as well as the ECCO Tour Championship in Denmark in 2008.

Goya, a native of Argentina, won the 2008 Tour de las Americas Order of Merit. He posted a course record 61 at Bonaventure Country Club in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., besting Johnny Miller’s 32 year record score by one. He won twice more in 2008, at the 77 Abierto VISA del Centro Presentado por Personel, and the Apulia San Domenico Grand Final on the PGA European Tour’s Challenge Tour.  Schuler, a native Chilean, won the 2008 Chilean Open and the 2008 Abierto del Golf Club de los Leones on the Tour de Las Américas before winning his first PGA European Tour event at the 2008 Enjoy Jakarta Astro Indonesia Open.

Proceeds from the Puerto Rico Open presented by Banco Popular will support Fondos Unidos de Puerto Rico, a charity that allows for the development of initiatives that are benefiting children and young adults who reside in the local community.  Following last year’s inaugural event, the tournament donated more than $200,000 to the local Rio Grande chapter. The Puerto Rico Open is also taking the opportunity to raise awareness about environmental protection and responsibility.  For more information or to buy tickets you may contact:  787-728-8500 or visit www.ticketpop.com.


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