MEXICO CITY (KVOA) - Just a few hours before his flight to England left Mexico's capital city, popular golfer among Tucsonans, Jean Van De Velde, said, "the Senior Open and the Senior PGA Championship, are the two biggest tournaments that you can find in Europe."
News 4 Tucson's Paul Cicala caught up with Van De Velde at his home in Mexico City, as he talked about what the Senior British Open means to him (Van De Velde shot a respectable 75 in the opening round).
Van De Velde explained that, "playing in any type of open championship, including the senior, [is something that makes you] feel very privileged."
Van De Velde has been one of the more popular athletes to pass through the Old Pueblo from his time playing in the Tucson Conquistadores Classic. In fact, Van De Velde is most known in Southern Arizona from his run in the year 2000 at the Randolph Golf Course.
He was the 2000 Touchstone Energy Tucson Open runner-up.
"That's where basically I secured my tour card the first time that I came in 2000 when it was a PGA Tour tournament," said Van De Velde as he stood on the balcony of his apartment in Mexico City. "Then I came down [to Tucson] many, many years later to play in the Senior, Conquistadores, and this is where I met you, and where I met my wife as well, so it's a very special place".
After the 2017 Conquistadores Classic, Van De Velde would eventually marry the woman he met in Tucson, Jeovana Van De Velde, with ceremonies in his native, France, and her hometown of Magdalena, Sonora Mexico.
It's a golf love story that began in the Old Pueblo and continues on both sides of the border.
When he's not traveling with the PGA Seniors Tour or broadcasting golf for one of the French networks, Jean Van De Velde calls Mexico home.
In Mexico, he runs countless camps and fundraisers to help continue to raise awareness and interest for golf in Latin America and beyond.