by Jeff Skinner
The Bob Hope Classic is desperately in need of help from the tour players and still without a title sponsor, so who steps up to draw a little bit of excitement to the tournament, a little known rookie in only his fifth tour start with a name that is nothing but exciting. Jhonattan Vegas, or Johnny Vegas, as he is now called, finished with a flourish as he made par from the water on the second playoff hole to win The Hope for his first tour win.
Vegas missed a chance to win it outright when he bogeyed eighteen. He then outlasted Bill Haas and Gary Woodland when Hass three putted the first playoff hole and when Woodland couldn’t get it up and down from the bunker on the second playoff hole, Johnny V’s thirteen footer for par was all he needed. He the first Venezuelan to ever win on The PGA Tour and celebrated with a classic Tiger-like fist pump as his winning putt fell. It was watching Tiger win the 1997 Masters that got Vegas interested in golf.
“Just to think about winning on the PGA Tour, that’s something,” Vegas said. “But to make it happen is something else, and it’s a crazy feeling. It was tough today to stay neutral and play golf, and that’s why. To my country, I hope this means a lot. I really hope it means people changing [their minds] about the sport.”
“Life for me hasn’t been always the best,” Vegas said. “I had to fight to get where I am. I’m a fighter, and if I set a goal in front of me, I’m just going to die just to get there, and fight hard to accomplish what I set out in my mind.”
“I hope they know about the story, and that it is possible to get to the PGA Tour and win,” Vegas said of his fellow Venezuelans. “I hope people realize that all over the world.”
It couldn’t be a bigger day for Vegas. With this win he gets a two year PGA Tour exemption, entry into The Masters and any other tournament he likes and a sweet check for $900,000. If the big names are going to pass on The Hope a win like this is the next best thing. Vegas played thrilling golf all week and with his name that shouts excitement maybe The Hope got a little extra buzz this week.