Behind The Scenes

Appreciating “Johnny Vegas”

Golfer "Johnny Vegas" makes his Masters' debut this week.

My friends always ask me what it feels like to interview professional athletes. I tell them that it all depends on the athlete.

Some are rough around the edges, and others are easier to root for.

Venezuelan golfer Jhonattan Vegas — a k a “Johnny Vegas” — definitely fits the latter. He’s humble and approachable; I can´t do anything but admire this man.

Today, he will be making his debut at The Masters at Augusta National. Vegas has agreed to write a daily diary for us at www.espn.com and www.espndeportes.com. I will help him keep that diary.

I am an ESPN journalist, but also a golfer of sorts.

I went to an Irish middle-high school in Argentina called St. Brendan`s. I was in the fifth grade when i started playing golf. To be honest with you, at that point I just wanted to make the school squad in order to skip classes. That was my point of no return; I have loved golf ever since.

That’s polarizing reality from what Vegas had to go through, since he started playing with a broom and rocks in oil fields.

Vegas is an exciting player to watch, contrary to me, since I have a lot of technical flaws in my swing. When Front Row asked to me to compare my game to Jhonny’s, I laughed since our games are not comparable at all.

My best score ever was a 78 that I still dream about. That score hasn’t knocked on my door again. But if I had to name an aspect of my game that is strong, I would say my putting. That’s Vegas’ biggest weakness in my eyes. I still have the blade putter that Phil Mickelson once used many years ago, and do not plan to change it anytime soon; it’s the most personal club in the bag.

It was a tough journey for Vegas, but his talent and perseverance allowed him to achieve his dreams.

His is a fantastic story of a man who came from nothing to achieve greatness, and still manages to keep his feet grounded.

I said before, Vegas is easy to root for and I hope he has a great career. You can’t help but admire people who had to fight for everything they got and finally were able to fulfill their dreams; most of them don’t make it.

I get to know a lot of athletes at my job, which I love by the way, but no matter how close you can get to some of them, objectivity always will be key.

Profiling athletes like Vegas makes my journey enjoyable.

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