Born: July 21, 1968
Birthplace: Las Vegas, Nevada
Height: 5 ft 9 in
College: University of Arizona
Turned Pro: 1989
Robert Gamez began playing golf on public courses in the Las Vegas area at the age of 8. Gamez’s mom, a blackjack dealer, and his father extended 3 credit cards traveling with their son to national junior tournaments.
Gamez battled a temper problem at the University of Arizona, but he began to win. As a junior, he placed 2nd at the NCAA Championships. He quit after his junior season and turned professional in 1989.
Gamez was an overnight sensation on the PGA Tour – wining in his first professional PGA Tour start in his 1990 rookie season. He captured the Northern Telecom Tucson Open by 4 shots. Gamez is one of only 4 players to have won their first professional PGA Tour start. He beat tour veterans Jay Haas and Mark Calcaveccia in Tucson.
Later that season, Gamez holed a 7-iron on the 72nd hole of the Nestle Bay Hill Invitational to defeat a stunned Greg Norman by a single stroke. Gamez traveled to Europe that summer and finished tied for 12th at the Open Championship, which would end up being his career-high finish in a Major. Gamez was an obvious choice for the 1990 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year.
As quickly as his career took off, Robert’s game began to leave him. He recorded multiple top-ten finishes and retained his card, but didn’t win another tournament, from 1991 through 1997. He had 6 runner-up finishes during this period of time. From
Things got worse from there. From 1998-2001, he failed to finish in the top 125 of the money list. Gamez began to rally in 2002. He recorded 10 top tens between 2002 and 2005. And, he entered the winner’s circle again. 15 years and 394 starts removed from his last tour win, Gamez captured the 2005 Valero Texas Open.
Gamez’s form began to fade in the late 2000’s and he played just a handful of events. In 2014, Gamez underwent quadruple-bypass surgery.