Gonzales brings his game with the fun
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. - Andres Gonzales' own website - www.andresgonzalesgolf.com - describes him as "half man, half amazing" and he's now enjoying a full-time gig on the PGA Tour.
But having made only one of 11 cuts entering the Greenbrier Classic and with a world ranking of 568th and a FedEx Cup standing of 232nd, one would expect little from Gonzales on the Old White TPC this weekend.
On Friday, however, Gonzales put together a 2-under-par 68, putting him at 1 under for the tournament, good enough for tied for 60th and placing him right on the cut line, earning him a berth to just his second weekend this year.
"Any cut is good, always," Gonzales said.
However, his golf game isn't only what makes up his "amazing" side. There may not be a more fun and interesting player on the Tour.
The burly 6-foot-2, 225-pounder comes complete with a Fu Manchu mustache and just recently cut off his long mane of black hair and donated it to the Locks for Love charity, in honor of his father who died of pancreatic cancer.
And though he's bounced around between the Canadian, Web.com and PGA tours over the past few years, he's already a legend in the world of social media.
Upon making his twitter handle (@Andres_Gonzales) in February of 2011, Gonzales decided to use it as a vehicle to strike up a friendship with Tiger Woods.
For the record, Woods has never responded to any of Gonzales' tweets, but the one-sided conversation drew plenty of attention and laughs and brought Gonzales hordes of new followers - 24,215 and counting.
And why not, with gems like these?
"@TigerWoods Did you know that Laser stands for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation? I learned something new today."
Or this one, his very first effort at reaching Woods.
"@TigerWoods My name is Andres Gonzales and I am a rookie on tour. I like elephants."
There are plenty more where those came from, but recently Gonzales' tweets have become fewer and farther between.
"I've kind of slowed down recently, I guess I got a little bit bored with it," Gonzales said.
Or maybe he's been focusing more on golf, as Friday's performance would indicate.
"I hit the ball pretty well," Gonzales said. "I would like to see a few more putts go down, but that's kind of the way this week has been. Typically that's what I rely on, but I'm starting to hit the ball better."
It is the second go-around at the Greenbrier Classic for Gonzales, who missed the cut in 2011 after coming in at 3 over par after two rounds.
He was a full-timer that year, but finished 192nd on the PGA Tour's money list and was forced to work his way back to this point the hard way.
His best finish in a PGA Tour event is a tie for 16th at the 2011 Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic, and he has only three professional wins to his name - the 2007 Trilogy Golf Classic on the Gateway Tour, the 2009 Saskatchewan Open on the Canadian Tour and the 2012 Soboda Golf Classic on the Web.com Tour.
But his own bio on his website describes his "big personality" long before golf accomplishments, and he said he is enjoying his stay in White Sulphur Springs this year.
"I've had a great time," Gonzales said. "My wife and I are actually going on some Can-Ams this afternoon. We're going to go mud around a little bit and see how dirty we can get."
And as for that "half man, half amazing" moniker?
Well, he's leaving it open for interpretation.
"I don't know," Gonzales said. "That's kind of for everybody else. What do you guys think it means?"
Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948, email@example.com, or follow him at twitter.com/Rpritt.