Ernie Gonzalez (February 19, 1961 – May 15, 2020) was an American professional golfer who played on the PGA Tour in the 1980s. He won the only title of his career in 1986. By doing so, he became only the third left-handed golfer to win a Tour event.
|Born||February 19, 1961|
San Diego, California
|Died||May 15, 2020 (aged 59)|
|Height||5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)|
|Weight||210 lb (95 kg; 15 st)|
|Residence||Las Vegas, Nevada|
|College||United States International University|
|Former tour(s)||PGA Tour|
|Number of wins by tour|
|Best results in major championships|
|Masters Tournament||CUT: 1987|
|PGA Championship||CUT: 1987|
|U.S. Open||CUT: 1987|
|The Open Championship||DNP|
Gonzalez was born in Chula Vista (a suburb of San Diego) on February 19, 1961. His father was of Mexican descent and his mother was Puerto Rican. He attended the United States International University, where he played on the golf team. He turned professional in 1983.
Gonzalez played full-time on the PGA Tour from 1985 to 1989. He shot a 14-under-par 128 to edge Joey Sindelar by one stroke to win the rain-shortened 36-hole Pensacola Open in 1986 for his only Tour victory. The win by Gonzalez was the first by a left-handed golfer on the PGA Tour since Bob Charles at the 1974 Greater Greensboro Open. He also became only the third left-hander ever to win an event on Tour, after Charles and Sam Adams.
Gonzalez was friends with Phil Mickelson, a fellow left-hander and San Diegan. In 1988, Gonzalez's penultimate season on the Tour, he helped organize a practice round for Mickelson with Seve Ballesteros. This occurred during Mickelson's first PGA Tour event at the Shearson Lehman Hutton Andy Williams Open, which he entered as an amateur.
Later years and deathEdit
After losing his Tour card, Gonzalez worked as a golf instructor and a warehouseman at Wirtz Beverage Nevada. He has also played in a limited number of Nationwide Tour events, and in select PGA Tour events using exemptions. He lived with his family in Las Vegas, where he was employed at a beverage distributorship. The only event on the PGA Tour Champions that he participated in after turning 50 was the 2011 Senior Open Championship. However, he did not make the cut.
Gonzalez was married to Judy. Their son, David, was born in 1992, and Gonzalez later became teetotal to set a good example for him. His nephew was Brian Smock, who also played on the PGA Tour. Gonzalez was a Christian and attended Shadow Hills Baptist Church.
Professional wins (1)Edit
PGA Tour wins (1)Edit
|No.||Date||Tournament||Winning score||Margin of
|1||Oct 12, 1986||Pensacola Open||−14 (65-63=128)||1 stroke||Joey Sindelar|
Results in major championshipsEdit
Results in The Players ChampionshipEdit
|The Players Championship||CUT|
CUT = missed the half-way cut
- "Ernie Gonzalez passes away at the age of 59". PGA Tour. May 15, 2020. Retrieved May 16, 2020.
- "Playing golf backward". The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution. March 26, 1987. p. E1.
His dad was Mexican, born in Arizona, his mother Puerto Rican.
- Iole, Kevin (November 7, 2001). "Local Golf Note: Gonzalez eyes return to Tour". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Archived from the original on September 6, 2003. Retrieved November 1, 2007.
- "Today in Golf History: October 12". Golfonline. Archived from the original on October 11, 2007. Retrieved November 1, 2007.
- Linette, Jim (October 14, 1986). "Exemptions excite Lefty in Pensacola". Florida Today. Cocoa, Florida. p. 19 – via newspapers.com.
- "PGA Tour winner Gonzalez dead at age 59". Golf Channel. May 15, 2020. Retrieved May 16, 2020.
- Hoggard, Rex (February 20, 2019). "Mickelson's 600th start a milestone in a career overrun with milestones". Golf Channel. Retrieved May 16, 2020.
- Bissell, Kathlene (February 21, 2019). "Phil Mickelson: Seve, Tiger, and what drives him today". Pro Golf Now. FanSided. Retrieved May 16, 2020.
- Graney, Ed (October 19, 2009). "Gonzalez finds peace on course through faith". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Archived from the original on May 16, 2020. Retrieved May 16, 2020.
- Walker, Ben (May 16, 2020). "Ernie Gonzalez, winner of 1986 Pensacola Open, dies at 59". Associated Press. Retrieved May 16, 2020.
- "Ernie Gonzalez – Profile". PGA Tour. Retrieved May 16, 2020.
- "Brian Smock". Golf Channel. Retrieved May 16, 2020.
- Goebels, Greer (November 8, 2012). "Meet Brian Smock, Instructor and Nationwide Tour Playing Professional, Now Instructing at Coronado Golf Course". The Coronado Times. Retrieved May 16, 2020.