Until a week ago, Eugenio López-Chacarra (23) was the jewel of Spanish amateur golf. Number two in the world and with the commitment to stay one more year at Oklahoma State University, he promised many more successes for the national teams in this period. However, in recent days events have come to a head and the man from Madrid has turned his situation around: a million-dollar offer from LIV Golf led him to become a professional immediately and, in fact, he will make his debut this Thursday at the new Saudi circuit.
How was that change of plans?
-It all happened last Tuesday, when the LIV league contacted me to play with them. Since I had planned to continue as an amateur, I made them a counteroffer, thinking that they would not accept it...
but yes they did. So on Friday I decided to turn pro and go with them. It was impossible to refuse.
-There is talk of 15 million dollars for three years only as a token, without counting what he adds in each tournament.
-I don't like to talk about figures, but they are not very far off the mark. What is evident is that it changes my life, my current family and my future family. This contract is something unimaginable for any golfer and even more so for someone who was still an amateur; That's why he had to take advantage of the opportunity.
Was he in the right place at the right time?
-It seems so, because I come from new, unlike other players who already have commitments with other circuits. This means that I am not involved in the problems that they may have with sanctions or fines. I am a free agent and I am willing to look for my future wherever I want: at LIV, in Europe or in America without any type of obstacle. It is clear that my life has changed completely in just four days.
- Aren't you worried about being accused of looking at money over sports?
-There are always people who will speak ill, but this is something that has been given to me and I could not reject it. It is very different to become a professional and go to school with an empty pocket than to have it full of millions. I am very happy and looking forward to starting this Thursday in Portland.
-And how will this change in the sporting aspect affect you?
-I'm sure very well. I have spoken with several LIV players, especially with Sergio García, with whom I have a very good relationship [and he shares an agent]. Everyone speaks wonders of the organization, the environment is very good, very healthy and people are very happy; In addition, I like the team format a lot because I am used to it from university. And I'm going to improve as an athlete by playing against very expert people, from whom I'm going to learn a lot.
-This mega-contract will make you relax in your evolution?
-Absolutely. First, because I like to win and I know that I can be at the top in tournaments; and then because I have two years guaranteed and the third depends on the results I get. I have to finish in the top 32 to renew and I'm sure I'll do it.
-And it does not put you back not being able to add points for the world ranking or not playing the big ones for being a member of LIV?
-Absolutely. If he had continued as an amateur he would not have been able to access them either. I'm just putting it off for a couple of years. Now my circuit is the LIV and I want to enjoy it to the fullest.