If there is one PGA Tour player who can handle a large promotional load during United States Open championship week, it is the man self-regarded as “Half Man, Half Amazing.”
Olympia’s Andres Gonzales, who now lives in Lakewood, has been a popular request for community shin-digs during the U.S. Open starting June 15 at Chambers Bay.
* The first one is that Monday at Tacoma Country and Golf Club called “Inside the Ropes,” which benefits the First Tee of South Puget Sound, which served approximately 18,000 youth last year.
At 4:30 p.m., Gonzales and fellow PGA Tour professionals Charley Hoffman (also fellow TravisMathew Apparel colleague) and Lucas Glover will hold a junior clinic on the driving range. The event will be hosted by ESPN funny man Kenny Mayne, a Kent native.
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“Both (Hoffman and Glover) are good ball-strikers, good with kids and good on the mike,” Gonzales said. “This is a great opportunity to open (Tacoma C&GC) up to kids who do not often get to go out there, and show them what primo golf courses are all about.”
Afterward, Gonzales and his company will mingle as part of a cocktail hour, and partake in a question-and-answer session.
“Charley,” Gonzales said, “is definitely an entertaining guy.”
Tickets range from $75 for single admission, to the full-works group rate of $10,000.
* The next day - June 16 - Gonzales will literally walk over to good friend Ryan Moore’s RMG Club event at Oakbrook Golf Club, which is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.
Event officials are still working through details about which golfers will participate, and how much of it will be open to the public. RMG Club members will receive a special invitation.
* Finally out at Meadow Park, “Foley on the Green” restaurant owners Jason Follen and Ryan Welborn are set to host a multiple-day event called “Talking Open with the Pros” involving four local PGA Tour players.
It will be nightly starting June 17. Each night will be designated to one of the professionals - Gonzales, University Place brothers Michael and Andrew Putnam, and Tacoma’s Troy Kelly - holding a question-and-answer session about tour life, and what it is like to play in a U.S. Open.
“I should be able to kill it,” Gonzales said.
Cost for that is $25, which includes a food buffet. Each night is limited to 150 people.
Is that a lot for Gonzales, a Capital High School graduate, to handle during a week in which he might be playing in the national open?
“None of them are too big. The time they get going in the evening, I should have most of my work done by 3 p.m.,” said Gonzales, who is planning on taking the week before the U.S. Open, too.
“It’s a lot easier for me since I am at home. Guys like Charley and Lucas ... one thing is probably all they want on their plates.”
Of course, Gonzales - who is having a nice season on the PGA Tour, and is well inside the top 100 in the FedEx Cup points - still have to qualify for the U.S. Open. He will go through sectional qualifying Monday in nearby Columbus.
“I’m not trying to put that much (emphasis) on it, but it is probably the U.S. Open in my life I want to qualify for the most, being that it is at home with a home crowd, and it is 11/2 miles away from my house,” Gonzales said.