Conspicuously absent at pebble beach—playing hooky, as it were—was another of the game's young lions. Robert Gamez, the 21-year-old who won his first tournament as a PGA Tour member four weeks ago in Tucson, spent the week of the National Pro-Am relaxing in Las Vegas at the house he rents next door to his parents.
The only course Gamez has played on the Monterey Peninsula is the one on the Fort Ord military installation. He says he wanted to play the AT&T this year, but he pleaded mental exhaustion in the wake of his unexpected first win. "Ted Schulz told me I should go up there, that I was missing out," he said Wednesday over breakfast at Bully's Food & Spirits. "But I didn't want to get into it and play my worst golf. I just didn't think I would have it mentally."
The week before, in Phoenix, where he shot a final-round 75 to finish 38th, word got around that Gamez was skipping the Pebble Beach Pro-Am because he didn't like cold and windy conditions. "That's a farce," he said last week. "I don't care what the weather conditions are like, really. When it's that cold and windy, you just have to concentrate more."
Questions about his Hispanic descent made Gamez uncomfortable. "I'd rather not be stereotyped like that," he said. "I just want to make my own name and be recognized as my own person."
And speaking of making his own name, Gamez wants desperately to shed his nickname. People who didn't know any better used to call him Gomez rather than Gamez, and his teammates at Arizona made that into Gomer. "I'd like to be known as Wildcat," he said, "because you never know what a wildcat's going to do. And that's like my game."
After breakfast, Gamez hopped into a shiny navy blue Thunderbird, which he says he bought after he turned pro. "I'm still making payments on it," he said. "I want to establish some credit around here."
The Tucson Open was Gamez's first Tour event—and first win.