Athlete of the Week: Santiago Gomez

People usually don’t expect 4-year-olds to like golf, but that was exactly the case for junior business management major Santiago Gomez.

Born and raised in Colombia, Gomez started playing at such a young age out of curiosity.

“When my mother and I would go to the club to play tennis, I had to walk past the golf field and I would stare at old people playing,” said Gomez. “I told my mom I wanted to play, and that’s how I started.”

Having a good swing was just the start. Gomez started out playing with plastic clubs and plastic golf balls.

“I didn’t have any strength. It is a very tough sport,” said Gomez. “I’ve been playing for almost 18 years. But I still need to learn a lot of things.”

Gomez attended Gimnasio Ingles School in Colombia. He continued to play throughout his school career and became a member of the Colombian Junior National Golf Team.

When Gomez moved to the U.S. for college, he continued to excel in golf. He played two years at Midwestern State University where he was named to the All-Freshman Team by the Golf Coaches’ Association of America.

After coming to NSU, Gomez was able to prove himself to be a skilled golfer as he racked up accomplishments. He placed fourth at both the Las Vegas Desert Classic and the Buccaneer Invitational. He also earned third place at each NCAA competition in spring of this year. One of his most recent accomplishments was placing second at the Guy Harvey Invitational.

Gomez Plans on becoming a professional golfer after college.

“I don’t know where I’m going to start, either here or Colombia. Maybe I’ll play in the PGA Tour Latin America, but I need to get some sponsors first,” said Gomez.

I got to sit down with Gomez and ask him a few questions.

What do you like about golf?

“I like that I get to meet a lot of people from all around the world. I get to travel to different places and see lots of cultures. This is also good for business because I’m making a lot of contacts. I also like going out there and relaxing in nature.”

What has been your memorable moment?

“Winning the Colombian national championship in 2011.”

Do you have any special rituals before matches?

“I have a couple of prayers in my wallet. I pray and then I play with them in my pocket.”

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

“I would say Madagascar.”

If you were to play another sport at NSU, what would you play?

“Probably soccer, just because it’s a really common sport in Colombia. I’m not a good soccer player though.”

If a movie were to be made about your life, who would you want to play you?

“Adam Sandler.”

Who’s your favorite professional golfer?

“Tiger Woods, because what he’s done is just unbelievable.”

What do you miss the most about being away from home?

“I miss the food.”

How do you deal with losing?

“I don’t think there’s such a thing as a losing. You don’t really lose because you gain experience every time. I try working harder to get better. If I don’t play well, I just forget it and try to do better the next tournament with practice.

What was a time you felt most proud of yourself?

When I got to come to the U.S. and study here and be able to play for a university. That was one of my goals and I did it, so I was proud of myself.”

How do you balance between golf and academics?

“I’m not the best student, but I’m OK. It’s really tough, especially because English is my second language. When we come back after traveling, most of the time I’m lost in my classes and I don’t know what’s going on. But that’s what I chose to do, so I have to be responsible and try to understand everything.”

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