Parlez-Vous Golf? Michael Lorenzo-Vera Does

Lorenzo-Vera Finally Starting to Show Some Traction on Tour

Maybe it’s a French thing. The nation that helped the U.S. win its revolution and gifted a statue for the harbor of New York has had some excellent golfers. However, their names don’t seem to stick with us like others do. Perhaps it’s an American problem. I would think that Canada would be far more aware of the French roster for the PGA season. Still, France never seems to rivet the home crowd in the west as “Seve Ballesteros did for Spain, or as Gary Player did for South Africa. Perhaps the problem is that they riveted the world way back when in another sport. As a student, I thrilled to the gravity-defying exploits of Jean-Claude Killy, and felt certain we would never see his like again. It shouldn’t be that the only French name on the men’s tour we know is Jean Van de Welde, and his implosion at the Open.  In his glass-half-full defense, Van de Welde played well enough to get into the lead after three days. He simply played one bad card, and that forced him into playing two more. That being what it is, anyone who watched the top ten at the recent PGA, might have noticed a new French glimmer in the field, Michael Lorenzo-Vera.

It was a small glimmer to be sure, but Lorenzo-Vera hasn’t really won anything in the big leagues yet, and he is 35. It’s time to make a move, but perhaps the PGA was it. Lorenzo-Vera was born in Bayonne of the Basque region of southwest France. He became a professional in 2005, and was doing all right, winning the Open International de la Miorabell D’or,after having won as an amateur. Once upon the big stage, however, and nothing has happened.

If Lorenzo-Vera intended to serve as an on and off journeyman, even that slipped from his grasp. Many golfers are fortunate to win once or twice in a career, and some never do. The Frenchman has played 5 events this year, well short of his standard 20 or 21. It seems as though he went through what a lot of talented players suffer in early adulthood, a night that includes a lot of partying instead of practicing, and a lot of financial trouble. Concerned family and romantic attachments watched him spin his wheels for a few years before stepping into what I characterize as a “soft intervention.”


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Putting his brother on the bag was a deft move that seemed to lift the defeated golfer. Part of it sounded like a mourning for the loss of home, a nostalgia that could not be satisfied. But we never know. It could come down to a lost dog, a favorite place, or favorite foods we ate at home in our childhoods. Sure enough, the brother started talking about their mother’s lasagna, enumerating the ingredients and process of cooking the delicacy, and suddenly consecutive birdies began to occur. Hey, whatever works, and we’re all wired a little differently.

Michael Lorenzo-Vera was at one point half a million in debt while trying to put together a golfing career. He got there in part through a spending disease combined with never checking to see how much he had.  As an addendum to that, Lorenzo-Vera made ‘hash’ of his taxes, which took some trouble to work out. Apparently, his girlfriend and a therapist started getting  the floundering golfer to exert a tighter grip on reality, and things improved. In the second round of the PGA, he came in with a 68, and was in second place, not far below the leader. He did not contend in the last nine, but still played well, and took home the nicest check he had probably ever seen, including his win on the Alps Tour.

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Today, Lorenzo-Vera has seen the big tour up close, sees how everyone plays and the work they put in to hold on to their cards. He freely admits that “I know all about the dark side.” Now it’s time to see the winning side. I’ll be watching hopefully…Viva la France!

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