Player’s Take: Cristóbal Del Solar
May 13, 2022
By Cristóba Del Solar , PGA TOUR Latinoamérica member
Chile’s Cristóbal Del Solar is in his fourth full PGA TOUR Latinoamérica season, and while he hasn’t won yet this season—something he did in both 2018 and 2019—he might be having his most consistent season. In eight tournaments, Del Solar has made seven cuts, is sixth on the Totalplay Cup Points List and just saw his streak of consecutive top-six finishes end, at five. During the run, he tied for second, tied for third, had a pair of top-fives and also finished sixth. Last week in Ecuador, at the Quito Open, the streak came to an end as Del Solar shot four par-or-better scores to tie for 21st. The 28-year-old Del Solar lives in the U.S., where he has resided since moving to the States when he was 15. Chile is not a huge golf country, the community quite small. Del Solar is friends with both Joaquin Niemann and Mito Pereira, the only two Chileans on the PGA TOUR, and Del Solar has hopes of joining them one day. Until then, he’s trying to improve on his sixth-place position in the Totalplay Cup and move into the top five. He’s only 15 points behind No. 5 Alejandro Tosti. Del Solar can also think about what might have been had he pursued a career in professional tennis and the interesting choice of attire he and his wife chose for their wedding.
Growing up, I took English classes. When I arrived in the U.S., however, I would say my English was none, non-existent. I knew words, but I couldn’t carry on a conversation.
When I was 15, I left Chile for the U.S. to attend the IMG Academy by Sarasota (in Bradenton, Florida) for two years. Then FSU recruited me from IMG to Florida State.
I wouldn’t say I was really scared or intimidated when I moved to the U.S. I was 15. When you’re 15, you’re not really thinking much of things. You just go with the flow, and that’s what I did. I had a bunch of Latin friends at IMG, and they spoke Spanish.
School was the hard part. That’s for sure. But outside, when I socialized, that was pretty easy because we were friends with everybody. Americans, Asians, all kinds of people at IMG.
That time of my life was a great experience. When I got there, I arrived with Mito (Pereira). We grew up together, but he went back to Chile after one year. All Chilean golfers know each other and are close. Joaquin (Niemann) is a bit younger, but we all know each other.
I went to college in the U.S., at Florida State. I did have a few different choices of schools, but one of my good friends Joaquin Lolas, who I’ve known for a long time, from Peru, was already at Florida State, and that’s how I got to Tallahassee.
I wanted to turn pro. I knew I was going to turn pro. But I always first knew I would go to college in the U.S.
In college, I started with business as my major. I didn’t know what to major in. It was kind of a dad thing. He told me to start with business and see what I liked. I eventually moved to international affairs. Business was not really my thing.
While I was at Florida State, we won the football national championship, with Jameis (Winston) and everything. The first few years, I went to a lot of the games. By my junior and senior years, I stayed home and watched on TV.
I knew what American football was, but I really didn’t know the rules. Once I got to know the rules, I understood it more. Obviously, if you’re rooting for a good team, and they’re really good like we were, you get into it really quick.
What would I be doing if I weren’t a professional golfer? I hate putting myself in that position, thinking about that. I don’t know really. I would probably marry a rich woman, even though I’m already married.
Alexandra and I have been together for eight years. We met in college. She’s a military brat. Her parents were in the military. They moved around quite a bit. They lived in 14 different cities. Both of her parents were in the Air Force. They live in Viera now, which is the Cocoa Beach area. That’s where she graduated high school.
She graduated from FSU two years before me. As soon as I graduated, we moved to Jupiter (Florida), lived together for two years and then got married a year ago.
Alexandra loves golf. She doesn’t love playing it, but she watches me and is very supportive. She’s right there for me, so that’s good.
She’s a nurse, a RN on the cardiac floor at Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center. She works very hard. She’s the constant paycheck right there.
We planned our wedding about three times, but my family couldn’t leave Chile because it was during COVID. So it was one postponement after another.
Our original wedding date was June 7, 2021. Because we had postponed the wedding, we started thinking, You know what. We’re going to get married anyway, so why not do it now?
We woke up one morning and went to the courthouse. She went in her scrubs for work, and I was in golf clothes. Golf shirt, slacks. I went to the golf course to practice afterward, and she went to work.
Later that day, I called my dad and told him we just got married. He was like, What? My parents were happy. They knew we were going to do it, and we already had the wedding planned for the courthouse. They just didn’t know when, and neither did we until that morning.
This summer, on July 11, that will be our big wedding, at the Pelican Club in Jupiter. That’s the whole point, doing the celebration. No scrubs or golf shirts for us at that one. She’ll be in a wedding dress, and I’ll be in my suit. We are inviting family members and friends and doing it right, the way it’s supposed to be.
When we’re home in Jupiter and we both have the day off, for fun we go to the beach, we go to the pool. We also like to take trips to Miami and just hang out for the day.
I’m still a Chilean citizen, with a Chile passport. The best part about Chile is I love the summers. I’m from the coast, Vina del Mar. The summers in that city are unbelievable. The weather is amazing. A bunch of Argentineans will go to my hometown to vacation in the summer. It’s a great vibe. There are people everywhere, there are parties every night and the golf courses are all good.
It’s hard to explain. I don’t know what to say or how to explain how I feel about my home. I love it. I’m not really a fan of the winter in Chile because it’s cold. But the summers, man. They’re great.
I was probably three or four years old when I first picked up a golf club. I’m the youngest of four boys. I have three brothers. They all played golf, but I’m the only one who turned pro. They’re all pretty good players. At least they think they are. They can hit it well. If you went to the course with them, you would learn that they are single-digit handicaps.
I played a lot of sports growing up. I was into soccer and basketball, and I played a lot of tennis. I was actually thinking of turning pro in tennis. When I was younger, I loved tennis.
It depends on who I’m playing with if we played a tennis match right now. I can rally with anybody. That’s for sure. I consider myself pretty good. Now, if you compared me to a pro, I’m not very good. I’ve played with a few guys out here on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, and it was 6-love, 6-love. I don’t want to name names. But I beat them pretty easily.