Written by
Mike McAllister
Feb 21 2024
- 5 MIN
Chacarra excited for 2024

Young Fireballs GC star Eugenio Chacarra is less than two years into his professional career, but in some ways, the 2024 season is a fresh start.

He has a new coach – who’s also his new caddie. A new workout trainer. A new physio therapist. A new nutritionist. He’s lost weight and he’s feeling healthier now after a year that included nagging hip issues.

It’s a credit to the 23-year-old Spaniard that he’s willing to shake things up despite the success he’s already enjoyed since turning pro in the summer of 2022 to join LIV Golf after a stellar amateur career at Oklahoma State.

He won in Bangkok in just his fifth LIV Golf start during that beta season, posting the lowest winning 54-hole total (19 under) of 2022. Last year, he posted another victory, this time in the International Series on the Asian Tour when he outlasted fellow LIV Golf member Matt Jones in an epic 10-hole playoff at St Andrews Bay.

Two wins in his first 21 professional stroke-play starts. A lot of young players might think they’ve unlocked the secret of winning tournaments. Chacarra realizes there’s still plenty to learn.

“In college, you have everyone else to plan things,” Chacarra said. “But when you turn pro, you’re do it yourself. I didn’t have that experience, and my family didn’t have that experience either. We were a little lost.

“But thankfully, we think we’ve found the best thing for me. I’m excited for the year.”

One of the big changes is adding one of his former Oklahoma State assistant coaches, Donnie Darr, as his coach and caddie. Chacarra rose to world amateur No. 2 while in Stillwater and was a first-team All-American. He credits Darr with helping him achieve those lofty credentials.

With Darr at his side, Chacarra is hopeful that he’ll become more efficient with his game. As spectacular as he’s played at times, he’s also been prone to the occasional clunker, such as the opening 79 last year in Bedminster, or the 8-over total during his three rounds before the home crowds at Andalucía last year to finish a disappointing 41st in points.

“I think he’s going to help me to not waste shots that I do just because I’m young,” Chacarra said.

Having a new/old voice in his ear is one of the things Chacarra felt was necessary. While he appreciates all those who support him, he feared getting into a situation where people just told him what they think he wanted to hear.

“I have a team that doesn't tell me what I want to hear,” he said. “They tell me bad things. They tell me things that I don't really want to hear – but that's how you get better.”

Part of getting better is outworking others. For most of the offseason, he didn’t take a single day off. He practiced on Christmas Eve. He practiced on New Year’s Day. In addition, he adjusted his outlook towards practice to have more focused goals and drills as opposed to just going out and playing without a purpose.

“It’s been tough sometimes,” he said, “but it’s what I love.”

The other additions to his entourage are helping him focus on his health and keeping his body in shape. It’s been a challenge, especially the first half of 2023 when his hip problems – which started with a ganglion cyst that developed while still in college – became problematic. He tried various approaches in hopes of finding a cure – medicine, injections, whatever – but only late in the year did he feel some sense of relief.

Now with an offseason in which he practiced hard but smartly, he also improved his diet and scheduled regular massage sessions to keep him limber. He’s lost seven pounds, but at 215, he still wants to lose another 15-20 pounds by next month. He’s confident that he’s on the right track.

“I feel like the lighter you are, the better it’s going to be for my hips, for my body, and the faster I’m going to swing it,” Chacarra said. “It’s a balance of everything.”

He realizes it’s not going to happen overnight, that his transition to a more professional approach may take time. His first two finishes to start the 2024 LIV Golf season are a tie for 32nd in Mayakoba and a tie for 30th in Las Vegas.

Perhaps this week’s International Series 2024 opener in Oman will be the tournament that unlocks the new Chacarra. He’s one of 21 LIV Golf League members in the field at Al Mouj Golf. A year ago, he tied for 24th.

So, the health is there. The confidence is there. The staff is in place now. And based on his early pro success, the talent obviously is there.

“I feel like I’m capable of beating the best players in the world, but for that, I need to be healthy,” Chacarra said. “The first point for me this season is to start changing things that I wasn't doing, working different ways, doing stuff the right way.

“And obviously I feel like if I do that and my body's going to feel good, I'm going to be healthy and I'm going to be able to compete against these guys. The league's getting better and better players, it's going to be even harder to win. But I know when I play my best, I'm one of the best players in the world, so I'm ready for the challenge.”

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