Monthly Archives: February 2019

Martin Trainer Scores First PGA Tour Win at Puerto Rico Open

By A. J. Jones

Rio Grande, PR – In his rookie year on the PGA Tour and after winning twice last year on the Tour, Martin Trainer shot 70 67 69 67 -15 to win the Puerto Rico Open. “I never thought that I would be able to win
on the PGA TOUR,” said Trainer. “I managed to do it today and that’s just incredible.”  About six months ago Trainer was paired with Steph Curry at the Tour’s Ellie Mae Classic in Hayward, California.

Ryan Ellerbrock, who plays on PGA TOUR Latinoamerica, caddied for Trainer. His regular caddie was ill and could not make the event. “Ryan obviously did a great job. He’s a good buddy of mine and it’s cool he was able to
make it out here. Going forward, we’ll see if he’s available, because he’s one-for-one.”

Trainer’s prize for winning at Coco Beach Golf Club includes a check for $540,000, the standard 18 percent of the $3 million purse. He also receives 300 FedEx Cup points for the win.

Trainer took time during the off-season to visit family in France. His mother is French and his father is American. He spoke in French to his mom after the tournament. “I was born in France in Marseille and I grew up
speaking French with my mom and speaking English with my dad. Then when I was five years old we moved to California and that’s where I grew up from then on. But yeah, I still speak French to my mom to this day, Trainer

This year’s tournament consisted of a diverse field of players including rookies on the tour, past tour winners, as well as some retirees. Daniel Berger, Roger Sloan, Johnson Wagner and Aaron Baddeley finished tied for second place at -12. They each received $198,000.

The group of tournament volunteers was just as diverse as the field of players. Organizations such as A-Mar, which assists youth burn victims with medical expenses and trains first responders on caring for burn victims, came out to lend support for the tournament.

Weather Steals Spotlight in Round One of Puerto Rico Open

By A.J. Jones

Rio Grande, Puerto Rico – On day one of the Puerto Rico open, a welcomed light drizzle of rain began just after 1 p.m. but within a minute it subsided. Closer to 2 p.m. the sky opened and presented the field of players and spectators of the tournament with just enough rain to provide relief from the Caribbean sun that was intensifying, keeping the temperature comfortably in the low 80’s.

Although wind gusts reached 30 miles per hour, the weather did not seem to phase Thursday’s leader, Andrés Romero, who finished the day at 6-under-par 66.  

According to his interpreter, “He says he likes playing in the wind, he always liked playing in the wind, …very tough for everyone, not only for him. So yeah, he has to think a lot more than a regular round because, for example, No. 15, he hit a 6-iron from 150 yards, but yeah, he was playing well and feeling confident so that helped a lot.”

Of the four Puerto Ricans playing in the tournament, including Max Alverio, Jeronimo Esteve, Edward Figueroa and Rafael Campos, Figueroa finished at the top of the group at one-under-par 71. He told El Vocero de Puerto Rico that despite weather conditions, he was satisfied with the way he played and he is looking forward to getting back on the course on Friday.

Figueroa stated, “I’m pleased with it. I feel like I could have done a little bit better. I mean, obviously every round you feel like that but it was tough. I mean, it’s just crazy out here, you know. On the island the conditions change so quickly, so drastically. You’re pretty much playing in a hurricane at one point and then it’s clear and it’s beautiful right now… But I love it. I love every second being out here and the support from everybody… It means a lot to me.

Although the sun, the rain and the wind were mitigating factors in round one of the Puerto Rico Open, the challenging Tom Kite designed Coco Beach Golf & Country Club in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico offers an adequate amount of shade and spectacular views of the island’s mountains and beaches. Puerto Rico has hosted the tournament for a decade, with a break in 2018 to offer a pro-am which raised funds for Hurricane Maria recovery efforts.

This year, the goal is to secure $750,000 in much-needed sports equipment for local youth. With the assistance of supporters from around the world, the forecast for the tournament’s success is bright.

Puerto Rico Open welcomes PGA TOUR for 11th annual edition

By PGA Staff

RÍO GRANDE, PUERTO RICO – The Puerto Rico Open kicks off tomorrow at the Coco Beach Golf & Country Club in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico has been a proud host of the PGA TOUR over the last decade and is excited to host the event in 2019 and 2020. With a one-year hiatus in 2018 to host a charity pro-am for Hurricane Maria recovery, the Puerto Rico Open is now back and stronger than ever as Puerto Rico’s major professional sporting event.

The island welcomes incoming World Golf Hall of Famer Retief Goosen and six other former major winners including Graeme McDowell and Trevor Immelman to begin its second decade on the PGA TOUR schedule. Daniel Berger, and defending champion D.A. Points also highlight the lineup.

Since the tournament’s inception in 2008, the Puerto Rico Open has also helped elevate the careers of several PGA TOUR stars with strong play, including the likes of Jason Day, Tony Finau, Jordan Spieth, Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau and Emiliano Grillo, making it a coveted tournament amongst PGA TOUR players. This year, over 130 golfers will be playing for a $3 million purse, with the winner earning 300 FedExCup points. Amongst them, four Puerto Ricans will be playing on home turf, including Max Alverio, Jero Esteves, Edward Figueroa and Tour’s Rafael Campos.

Born in San Juan, Campos is the only Puerto Rican with a world ranking (381st) and has competed in all 10 Puerto Rico Opens, with top-10s in the last two playings (T10/2017, T8/2016). Campos recently became the first Puerto Rican to win on the Tour when he won The Bahamas Great Abaco Classic last month, moving to No. 3 in “The 25”. “The 25” represents the top-25 golfers in the Tour Regular Season who are guaranteed a PGA TOUR card for the following season, hence placing him at the cusp of earning his PGA TOUR card for the first time.

For over a decade, the Puerto Rico Open has also become an important platform to promote Puerto Rico as a world-class golf destination, as well as becoming a key driver of economic development on the island.

The Government of Puerto Rico, through the Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC), has been one of the event’s main sponsors since its debut in 2008, leveraging its worldwide exposure to benefit the Island’s bustling tourism economy. “Through the visit of professional golfers, their families, fans, international media representatives and tournament staff, this year’s event is expected to generate over $10 million in economic impact to the Island, 5,250 room nights, 600 direct and indirect jobs, 600 direct and indirect jobs, 25 hours of Golf Channel coverage, a reach of 3.8 million viewers, and 4 days of great golf for the more than 10,000 spectators in attendance”, said PRTC Executive Director, Carla Campos.  “The Puerto Rico Open positions the Island as a perfect destination for top-tier sporting events and helps us to reinforce Governor Ricardo Rosselló’s message that Puerto Rico is open for business and for visitors”.

“We’re excited about the PGA TOUR returning to Puerto Rico in 2019 and 2020 for the largest annual professional sporting event on the Island,” said PGA TOUR Chief Tournaments & Competitions Officer Andy Pazder. “For more than a decade, Puerto Rico has been an incredible host to the PGA TOUR with its beauty, hospitality and weather and our members certainly look forward to another tremendous tournament experience at Coco Beach Golf & Country Club.”

John Norris, Senior VP, PGA TOUR Tournament Business Affairs added, “The PGA TOUR is proud to continue its partnership with the Puerto Rico Open in this comeback year. The Puerto Rico Open has been a tremendous partner in promoting and growing the game of golf in Puerto Rico and making a positive impact in the community. We look forward to an exciting four days of golf in one of the premier golf destinations in the Caribbean”.

“For 12 years the Puerto Rico Open has been the main sporting event on the island. Through a close partnership with Title Sponsor, the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, the tournament provides a boost to the economy through tourism and the hiring of local vendors. The unique opportunity showcases the wonders of Puerto Rico to millions of viewers around the world. More importantly, the Puerto Rico Open is an unmatched platform to support the work of dozens of non-profit organizations that serve children and youth, helping promote sports and sporting values in our younger generations,” said Pedro Zorrilla, producer of the Puerto Rico Open.

Players, fans and Golf Channel viewers will get to see why Puerto Rico has received numerous accolades as a top travel destination in 2019, including The New York Times’ “Places to Go in 2019,” Costal Living’s “Top Tropical Destinations for 2019,” Forbes’ “Best Caribbean Beaches for 2019,” and Vogue’s “Here’s Where to Travel in 2019.” In partnership with the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, Discover Puerto Rico, the island’s new Destination Marketing Organization (DMO), will be using the worldwide exposure to invite travelers to visit the Island. “Our mission is to create a global brand for Puerto Rico and revitalize tourism to newly prosperous levels,” said Discover Puerto Rico CEO, Brad Dean. “Travel and tourism can drive economic growth and change lives when done well”.

The Puerto Rico Open celebrates its 12th year of giving back to the community, having donated over $1.5 million to more than 35 non-profit organizations. In 2019, the Puerto Rico Open is partnering with Good Sports, providing little league teams in Puerto Rico with much-needed sports equipment. The goal is to raise $750,000 worth of sports equipment for children in schools and sports teams across the Island. In addition to Puerto Rican golfer Rafael Campos, other professional Puerto Rican athletes have joined the cause, including Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez (MLB Hall of Famer), Miguel Cotto (retired world champ boxer), Adriana Diaz (Pan American Games medalist – table tennis), Maria Torres (LPGA) and J.J. Barea (NBA point guard – Dallas Mavericks).

The Puerto Rico Open will be broadcast on the Golf Channel from Thursday to Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET, Saturday from 2:30 to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.