Abraham Ancer. Pix: Getty Images
Man, it’s going to take a while for this win to sink in. I was trying to let it all sink in at the ceremony on the 18th green and it was really surreal, as this is something I’ve been working for since I was a kid. Definitely a dream come true to win on the PGA TOUR, and to do it on a big stage like the World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational was really, really cool.
It was a crazy final round and I thought I was going to need a really low one to have a chance but it just worked out that it was like pretty much survival mode on the back nine. I got lucky maybe, but there were misses in past tournaments that I thought I had done enough to win and I didn’t get the win. This time, it worked out my way and I’m really thankful. The second shot and that final putt on 18 during the playoff were just exactly what I pictured in my mind and they came out perfect.
I had some close calls this year and in previous seasons. I didn’t want to think of like, oh my God, I’m so due, and I didn’t want to put extra pressure on myself. So I just stayed patient and I didn’t change anything. I just try to get better at how I play golf and keep my head cool. There are obviously some rough weeks that can throw you off and maybe you start looking at things that you shouldn’t, but I learned in the first year when I was out here and I played terrible golf and I’m pretty thankful now that I learned all those lessons right away.
As a kid, I knew I wanted to be a professional golfer. It always seemed so far away that you keep working at it and kind of see what happens, but it was always inside of me. I had that little thing telling me I could do it, and there was a lot of times in my career or growing up that I was like, man, this is pretty tough, I don’t know if I’ll ever come close to the PGA TOUR.
However, I got a little bit better every year and a lot of things aligned for me to be where I am now, like where I went to college from high school, to going to Odessa Junior College and playing really good golf, then moving on to the University of Oklahoma. I feel like I played good golf at the right time in those situations. This is a crazy career and a crazy sport where there are a lot of guys who are incredible and they somehow don’t make it, and there are guys who people don’t really think are that great and they figure out a way and they’re here.
My dad literally did everything he could for me when I was growing up. Even if money was tight, he would figure out a way without complaining what I shot. To him, it didn’t matter what I shot. He’d just take me to tournaments, and now that I know what traveling costs, I don’t know how he did it. He always figured out a way to give me an opportunity to get better, and to play.
It’s not easy growing up in Reynosa, Mexico and making it to the PGA TOUR, the chances are very slim. But I give all of that to my dad because he busted his butt to get me out here, and I wish he was out here to celebrate with me. I know he was with me the whole round, but obviously being a little selfish, I really, really want him here.
During the playoff, I could feel like he was out there with me the whole time. Throughout the tournament, I felt really calm for some reason. I was probably more nervous during the trophy presentation than in the actual playoff. I felt like I was ready; I felt like he was there with me. He definitely would be extremely proud and I know he is extremely proud and having a big ol’ party up there.
This win is huge. I know Mexico is in a better spot than some years prior, and it’s getting a lot better. Hopefully this win will inspire more kids to get out there and play golf and learn about the game and just grow the game in general.
I’m really pumped where things are headed in my country. Carlos Ortiz has been playing some really good golf as well and I feel we’ve done a really good job, but there’s a lot more to come. There are a lot of good players out there who are hungry to get to the PGA TOUR and I have no doubt in my mind we’re going to have not two guys out here, but four or five and hopefully more in the years to come.
Note: Abraham Ancer is the first Mexican to win a World Golf Championships event and the fourth to win on the PGA TOUR. He is also the first Mexican to play on the International Team at the 2019 Presidents Cup. You can watch Abraham and the PGA TOUR on EuroSport and GOLFTV powered by PGA TOUR.