Mike Lorenzo-Vera is playing for one of the biggest purses in golf this week at the WGC-Mexico Championship. It wasn't too long ago that he would have needed a great finish just to pull himself out of debt.
Such was the dire situation the French golfer described in a candid player blog on the European Tour's website. According to Lorenzo-Vera, he was in the hole nearly €400,000 (currently, approximately $434,000) thanks to "bad decisions, partying, and being very generous to everybody around me." Here's what he writes:
The last couple of years on the golf course have been good for me but I know all about the dark side. I really struggled in 2011, 2012 and 2013. And I mean big time. I finished almost last on the Challenge Tour in 2013 and I had almost €400,000 of debt in France because of bad decisions, partying, and being very generous to everybody around me. I’d had one good year in 2008 when I won around €350,000; but after taxes and expenses there’s not much left, and trust me I spent it really badly. I never looked at my bank balance. Never. And then one day the card stopped working and I called the bank shouting at them. ‘Why isn’t it working?’ and they say, ‘well, because you’ve got no money.” Then I was trying to make cuts to try and bring cash back in, but it was ridiculous. I messed up my taxes as well. Believe me, I made all of the mistakes!
The 35-year-old European Tour pro also opened up about his struggles with the mental side of the game, particularly with anxiety issues. And he credits French psychologist Meriem Salmi for turning his life and career around.
It took a year of sessions before we actually started talking about golf. I lost my dad maybe ten months before that. I felt that everything was starting to be really weak again. My first meeting with her was about why this had happened, that it was not supposed to happen yet. He had diabetes and some heart troubles, but everything was under control, then everything went really wrong. I didn’t realise at the time, but there was a lot of stuff in my head which I needed to understand before we could focus on the psychology of my golf performance. I remember reading Beef’s blog on europeantour.com last year and I would urge everyone to read that. He was so precise, he has a perfect explanation that is spot on about the psychological part of being a sportsman. For everybody, as soon as we do something that we like for a job and you win some cash, in the mind of everybody and even yourself, you are not allowed to be sad. You have to be happy. I hate to say it, but life’s more vicious than that.
Unfortunately for Lorenzo-Vera, currently No. 65 in the Official World Golf Ranking, he got off to a tough start at Club de Golf Chapultepec on Thursday with a 76. But after reading his story, two things are clear. Just making it there from where he was is impressive. And if anyone is equipped to climb out of a tough spot, it's him.