Knew very little English when he initially arrived in the United States. Picked up the game by playing with a broomstick and a rock. Eventually began playing at a nine-hole course near his home built for oil-camp employees.
His coach, Franci Betancourt, was a a three-time World Cup participant for Venezuela, in 1966, 1968 and 1975. In August 2002, moved to Texas and lived with Betancourt and his wife, Alba, a time he saw both his golf game and his English improve dramatically.
His brother Julio plays on the University of Texas golf team.
Was a standout third baseman as a junior baseball player.