In the golf bag of Chile’s first PGA Tour player, you’ll find metals, irons, a putter and maybe even a bottle of Carmenère.
First-year PGA Tour golfer Benjamín Alvarado isn’t Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson yet. But keep your eyes on the young Chilean while he’s teeing it up alongside the world’s best golfers.
Alvarado, from Santiago, is scheduled to play 18 PGA Tour events in 2014. Prior to earning his Tour card, Alvarado was a two-time All-American at -Arizona State and in the Top 25 on the Web.com feeder circuit. He’s also played professionally in Canada, Europe and South America.
When not on the course, Alvarado, 28, enjoys a glass of good wine. It’s fitting that he’s sponsored by Viña Santa Carolina and acts as a brand ambassador for the venerable Chilean winery.
“I grew up with wine on the table,” said Alvarado while preparing to play the HP Byron Nelson Championship in Dallas. “My father, who taught me how to play starting at age 10, liked his wine. And in Chile, wine is very important. I love that Santa Carolina is my sponsor. They are great people who love golf, so it’s the perfect partnership.”
Alvarado, now living in Orlando, started off drinking simple and inexpensive Chilean wines, but he’s now taken things up a notch.
“I like wines like [Valdivieso’s] Caballo Loco, [Concha y Toro’s] Don Melchor and some Argentinean wines, like Luigi Bosca,” he says. “But Carmenère is my favorite, and you can’t do better than Santa Carolina’s Herencia.”
As for whom he pals around with on Tour, he admits to being a rookie in every sense of the word.
“I don’t have a lot of friends yet,” he says. “I’m the new guy, the little kid here. But I do talk with the Latino guys on Tour, players like Jhonattan Vegas (originally from Venezuela) and Andrés Romero.
“But Romero only drinks Fernet Branca because he’s from Argentina,” he says with a laugh.