Senior Profile: Oscar Cabanas

Oscar Cabanas appeared in every one of the golf team's five fall events. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

Oscar Cabanas appeared in every one of the golf team’s five fall events. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

By Sam Belden

Oscar Cabanas appeared in every one of the golf team's five fall events. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)
Oscar Cabanas appeared in every one of the golf team’s five fall events. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

The air is getting colder as we head into November, but don’t tell that to Oscar Cabanas. The senior co-captain of the Fordham golf team is a proud Floridian, and while he fondly speaks of his time at Rose Hill, the New York winters are one thing he will not miss.

Despite this, he will undoubtedly miss playing golf for the Rams, and judging from his performance this season, the team will miss him too. The psychology major played in all five of Fordham’s events this fall, helping the squad to a pair of fifth-place finishes. His best event was the 54-hole Macdonald Cup at Yale, where he tied for 46th.

The Fordham Ram sat down with Oscar to talk about golf, leadership and life after Fordham.

The Fordham Ram: How long have you been playing golf? What sparked your passion for the game?

Oscar Cabanas: Since before I can remember. I was probably two years old, three years old. My dad definitely got me into playing. I played a whole bunch of sports growing up, but I would wake up Sunday and he would be watching Tiger [Woods]. He got me into it, and I always loved watching golf with him, so that’s how I got into golf.

TFR: At what point in growing up did you start to see yourself being able to play golf at a high level?

OC: I got to middle school and I had stopped growing. I was playing baseball at the time and all my friends kept getting bigger and I said to myself, “Well, I don’t think I’ll make it in baseball, but I really love to compete.” So I sort of got more attached to golf and I started to love golf more and more. Probably around the end of freshman year of high school or middle of sophomore year, I started playing in some junior events. I won a couple and I kind of figured I can compete in this, so I’m gonna do this.

TFR: How did you end up at Fordham. Were you looking at any other Division I programs?

OC: I was looking at other DI programs, and I would have been a walk-on, practice squad kind of guy at schools like Boston College, Notre Dame, Northwestern, but then I wouldn’t have gotten to play in any tournaments. Fordham was in the perfect spot for me in New York City. I have family in the area, and when I walked on campus, I just fell in love with the area and the campus itself and figured it was the perfect spot for me.

TFR: No team wins for Fordham Golf this fall, but you guys did end up with a couple of fifth-place finishes. What’s your overall assessment of the team’s performance this season?

OC: I want to give a shout out to [junior co-captain] Joe Trim for winning an event [the Lehigh Invitational]. He played great and he’s been working hard. I think we can work harder. There’s so much talent on the team. We do play a lot of teams that are full scholarship teams, and we’re not a scholarship team at all. I don’t think that’s a barrier at all for us. I think we have just as much talent, if not more talent, and I think we just need to work harder. That’s really all there is to it.

TFR: What do you feel was the best part of your game this fall? Where do you think you need to improve for the spring?

OC: Best part of my game was probably my driving. I hit a lot of fairways, especially towards the end of the year. At the beginning of the season I wasn’t playing as well, and that’s because I couldn’t hit the fairway. My driving was much better towards the end. I would say the part I need to most work on is my mental game. There’s so much of golf that’s just completely mental that I just need to be better at. Need to be tougher, need to grind more. That’s really the biggest difference I could make.

TFR: You’re one of the only seniors on the team. Do you feel you’ve taken on more of a leadership role this year?

OC: I certainly have tried to, but what I’ve found is that the guys on the team can manage themselves in a way. Because the team is so small, it’s more of an equal leadership — everyone’s taking their own responsibility. Really, all I do is tell them when practice is and when to go and where to be, and they take it upon themselves to be there and do what they want to do and get the job done.

TFR: Is there any particular moment from your career with Fordham Golf that stands out as your favorite?

OC: I would say playing A-10s my sophomore year. It was down in the Orlando area, and being from South Florida, it was kind of like a trip back home for me. It was a big deal for me, getting to play in the conference tournament, the big-time tournament of the year. My family was there. I remember walking down the 18th green — I was probably 10-over-par, 12-over-par, playing absolutely terribly — but my sister, my mom and my dad were there. I started playing college golf for them, and I wanted to represent my family and my high school and my community from back home. Them being there was kind of the “I made it” moment for me.

TFR: I wanted to talk about A-10s. You’ve been to the conference tournament on a couple of occasions. Can you describe the atmosphere down there with schools like VCU and Richmond in the mix?

OC: We get down there and we see those big-time teams, teams we don’t see at all during the year. It’s kind of like, these are the big guys, these are the teams we want to play, these are the teams we want to beat. I don’t think that Fordham has ever felt like we can’t compete with them, certainly not the team we have now. The atmosphere is like a major, I guess, a “this is what we play for” kind of moment. And for me and Joe Trim, being from Florida, we feel like we’re back in our element. We feel we’re ready for the rain that’s gonna come, the wind that’s gonna come, and you know that’s gonna happen. My favorite part about A-10s is how hot it gets and how it’s 90 degrees outside. I think that’s an advantage for me and for Joe. I think it’s more of a mental battle for those three days thanks to the heat.

TFR: What was your favorite tournament to play in this fall?

OC: I would say the Ryan T. Lee Memorial event. It’s a great event for a kid who unfortunately died in a car accident, and I actually had a friend who had something similar happen to him. That event is very close to me and I understand what that family’s gone through. I think having a golf tournament in memorial of a kid is something special, and I think there should be more of it. Because golf is such a gentleman’s game, it fits in with the idea of honoring someone.

TFR: Last spring, Fordham Golf got its first team win in nearly four years. What do you think the team needs to do to pick up another one?

OC: We just need to work harder. We need to be more disciplined. We need to focus more on golf, rather than things outside of golf that I think plagued the team as far as discipline. Our coach, I don’t know if I should talk about this, but he’s older, he’s 81. A lot more responsibility falls on the team and not so much him, so we kind of babysit him around. But he’s there for us, and we need to be able to take more responsibility for ourselves.

TFR: Can you describe the level of camaraderie that exists among the team members?

OC: We’re a very tight group. There’s two seniors on the team, a couple juniors, a couple sophomores and freshmen. We all hang out together, there’s no differences between us. We all get along incredibly well. And we love to compete with each other, which I think makes the biggest difference for us and helps us get prepared for tournaments.

TFR: Outside of the golf team, what’s your favorite part of Fordham?

OC: Fordham Women’s Soccer. I’m a big English Premier League soccer fan, but more than my Liverpool team, I love Fordham Women’s Soccer. I go to all their games. The closeness, not only with the women’s soccer team but with other Fordham sports — you see the athletes walking around and you get to know them. It’s like that show “Hard Knocks” but every day in class. You see how they are in class and what they are on the field, and it’s cool to get to know the person behind the helmet or behind the jersey. I think that’s the best part of Fordham.

TFR: What are your plans for after graduation?

OC: I want to go to law school. I want to go back to Miami, get out of the cold for a little bit, go to law school and just keep going from there. That’s the plan for now.