Golf

This golfer is living his dream. And this is why he is back in South Florida this week

Miami Beach’s Michael Buttacavoli, who will be competing here this week, takes a show at Cinnamon Hill Golf Course on May 5, 2018 in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
Miami Beach’s Michael Buttacavoli, who will be competing here this week, takes a show at Cinnamon Hill Golf Course on May 5, 2018 in Montego Bay, Jamaica. US PGA TOUR

Dreams might die hard, but they can also live on forever.

People tend to grip them and try to not let go.

Michael Buttacavoli, a true-blue South Floridian born in Mount Sinai Hospital on Miami Beach, started his golf dream at age 3, trying to emulate the sport his family played. That was the start, and the finish has yet to come.

Thursday — at age 30 — Buttacavoli will be teeing it up on the Golden Palm Course at Trump National Doral in the 2018 Shell Latinoamerica Tour Championship.

Like most kids, Buttacavoli for many years has had his sights on a singular, all-consuming goal — reaching the PGA Tour.

However, Buttacavoli is no longer a kid. A long, long time has passed since he was 3 and later competed for Ransom Everglades School.

He admitted bluntly, “For sure, time might be running out on me.”

Nevertheless, he’s not ready to give up on the sport he loves.

“You need to embrace the struggle,” he said. “Anything worth fighting for will be a struggle. There are always low points. But there are lots of great moments as you climb that mountain.”

Buttacavoli’s great moments include three victories on the Latinoamerica Tour, including this year’s Jamaica Classic.

After high school, Buttacavoli went to college at Rice and played golf there. “There was no pressure from my parents,” he said. “They never even told me to go to college. Going to college at Rice and playing golf there was fine with them.”

The fact that Buttacavoli graduated magna cum laude with an economics degree also was just fine with them.

They know golf has been a constant in their son’s life.

Does Buttacavoli ever get weary of hitting a golf ball?

“Yes, my body might get tired,” he admitted. However, his mental attitude toward golf does not waver.

“There is a mental strength involved with golf,” Buttacavoli said. “I particularly love golf because it is an individual sport. Every shot, every hole is individual. There is a mental strength and individualism that is necessary.

“I can’t pass my golf ball to a teammate.”

What does Buttacavoli’s future hold?

Two words simply explain that: more golf.

“No, no, I have no regrets,” Buttacavoli quickly answered.

“Right now, golf is the plan.”

Then he concluded by smiling and saying: “After all, I was that kid who always wanted to be on the PGA Tour — and still do.”

2018 SHELL OPEN LATINOAMERICA

When: Thursday through Sunday.

Where: Trump National Doral.

Course, Par, Yards: Golden Palm, 72 (36-36); 6,991 yards; originally designed by Robert von Hagge.

Purse: $175,000; winner receives $31,500.

2017 Champion: Brady Schnell, U.S. (not playing this year).

Facts and figures: Field of top 60 players in the Latinoamerica’s Order of Merit in a no-cut format. All players in this event have earned or retained exempt status for the 2019 PGA Tour Latinoamerica.

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