“It was the first time in my life that my emotions brought me to tears, based on happiness,” Cristian said. “It was something that I had never experienced before. When my dad made that par putt on No. 18 (to force a playoff), it was more than a goosebump moment. It was so overwhelming and that’s when I decided that this was something that I want to do.”
His dad encouraged him to take up other activities, too, like baseball and other sports. But Cristian continued to spend most of his time on the golf course.
“We didn’t really push him,” Chris said. “He didn’t need any pushing from me. He had more discipline and work ethic than I ever did – I can tell you that.”
From the time he started walking, Cristian has had a golf club in his hand. His dad had right-handed putters around the house, so naturally, Cristian would putt right-handed. But after his father gave him a club that could swing both ways, Cristian felt more comfortable swinging it left-handed.
“When I was younger, I was thinking – should I swing righty?” Cristian said. “Because I was cross-handed for a little bit when I was really young. But my dad said, ‘Your lefty action through (the ball) is just better.’ So I did that. And then my putting stroke was just better righty, so he didn’t want to mess with it.”
Each year during Cristian’s childhood, the two of them would team up in the Disney Father/Child tournament, winning the event eight times in a nine-year span.
“I took it seriously because I knew how much it meant to him,” Chris said. “I thought making a three-footer in a tournament was hard enough. But when your five-year old son is like ‘Come on, dad. We need this three-footer.’ – That’s some real pressure.”