is chi chi rodriguez still alive

Get your answers by asking now. But it came as a shock to him three years ago when Nicklaus asked him to endorse a line of clubs for MacGregor Golf Company, which Nicklaus co-owns. During the first round of the Silver Pages Classic in Oklahoma City in May, Rodriguez made eight consecutive birdies to break the Senior tour record set by Gene Littler in 1983. In spite of everything. Not bad, except compared with this year, in which he has had seven more wins, including four in a row, and has set a Senior money-winning record of $495,745 and counting. "In those days, if you put the flag on the Titanic, I would go get the scuba gear," he says. He knew that his punch couldn't hurt anyone, and still he became a world champion. ", Rodriguez was also bold, often recklessly so. He said, 'Well, son, did you back up, or did you fight?' Chi-Chi Rodriguez ruling planet is Pluto. This is a guy who couldn't dissect the frog in biology lab, which is one of the reasons he quit school in 11th grade. Yet for all his accomplishments as a player, his contributions as an entertainer and a humanitarian are even greater. Under the ever-present snap-brim panama, his blue-gray eyes, half-closed and bloodshot (due to pterygium, a chronic condition caused by spending his youth in the tropical sun), don't merely focus on their target, they pierce it. And he has been. First he sees himself as an underfed, shoeless seven-year-old struggling under the hot Puerto Rican sun to heft an ox-driven plow in a dusty sugarcane field. ". Shortly thereafter, he negotiated a lifetime deal as a spokesman for Toyota. He said, 'Don't tell me what to do.' His entire playing career, bumps and all, has been nothing but gravy. SPORTS ILLUSTRATED is a registered trademark of ABG-SI LLC. "There had never been a touring pro from Puerto Rico. He wound up learning a painful lesson: golf can be a contact sport. "But golf should be 50 percent intelligence and 50 percent guts. He's still livin'. Though his mother lived nearby, Rodriguez's most vivid childhood memories involve Juan Sr., who worked on farms and as a dishwasher all his life and never made more than $18 a week. They lived in San Antonio while Don was in the Air Force, and began their family—two boys and a girl.[1]. "I had to play great to beat Pete out of his own money," says Rodriguez. ", So does Rodriguez, particularly when it comes to crediting people he admires for their influence on his life. Violent slices by amateur partners are "Ronald Reagan shots—right of right." January was responsible for a change to the Rules of Golf. Laura is alive and kicking and is currently 44 years old. ", But most are told with a touching poignancy. Cynics stopped questioning the sincerity of Rodriguez's philanthropy years ago. "If I wasn't wrong, Arnold would have never said anything," he says. 8. In August at the GTE Northwest Classic in Kenmore, Wash., he even overcame hitting a putt out of bounds to win the tournament by a stroke. "Then I put some broken glass in my pocket and whipped it around so everyone thought I had a lot of change." Ask Question + 100 Join Yahoo Answers and get 100 points today. In the words of Rodriguez, golf's alltime leader in number of aphorisms per round, "The hard road is always the easiest.". "That's when someone in the gallery looks at his pairing sheet and says, 'Here comes Joe Baloney, Sam Sausage and Chi Chi Rodriguez. Rodriguez's goal this year is to break Peter Thomson's Senior tour record of nine wins in a year. As a child, Rodriguez fashioned "golf balls" from tin cans. They told me I was a hound dreaming about pork chops. Chi Chi Rodriguez made a guest appearance on Golf Channel's Big Break NFL Puerto Rico. If he was playing particularly well, Rodriguez liked to have his caddie go to the 18th green and hold the pin for his approach from the fairway. His idol was Hogan, with whom he played several times in the years after Hogan's famous car accident. In 1967 he donated $5,000 of his $20,000 winner's purse from the Texas Open to victims of tornadoes that had occurred a week earlier in Illinois. After he became a full-fledged caddie, he competed fiercely with his fellow caddies on the one day a week they were allowed to play at Berwind. CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA)—Clearwater police are seeking information after one or more vandals caused thousands of dollars worth of damage to Chi Chi Rodriguez Golf Course. "The sword dance, the jokes, the hat, the bright clothes, the way he helps kids and everybody else, it just comes down to saying, 'Look at me. As Cooper's protègè, Rodriguez was soon playing practice rounds with the likes of Snead and Tommy Bolt, masters to whom he still pays homage. "What Chi Chi can do with a golf ball takes about the best hand-eye coordination I've ever seen. Annette Charles-- who played Cha Cha in the 1978 movie "Grease" -- died last night in her Los Angeles home ... her rep tells TMZ. You can never recover that stroke.". Celebrating the foundation’s 40 th anniversary, Chi Chi … "They just laughed," says Rodriguez. It's a perspective, to use the golfing argot, that will definitely get you to the clubhouse. " But when Arnold Palmer, whom Rodriguez still calls King, asked him to tone it down after they played together in the 1964 Masters, Rodriguez did. How tall is Chi-Chi Rodríguez? 1Defeated Massengale in an 18-hole playoff, 69 to 71. "The game is so much easier when you don't feel like the only way you can make a birdie is by knocking it stiff," he says. "I'd like to put it out there where Jack and Lee [Trevino] will have to really go to catch it," he says. "I got $50 for that article, but it cost me a million," he says. 10. He told his friends that someday he would beat Ben Hogan and Sam Snead. 'Then,' he said, 'you didn't lose.' As he prepares to hit a shot, the features that are so elastic when he's joking with fans harden into a gaunt, sharply angled mask. "I teed up a driver and I really crushed it. But if he never wins again, don't feel sorry for Rodriguez. He was a member of the North Texas State golf team that won four consecutive NCAA Division I titles from 1949 to 1952. Chi-Chi Rodriguez’s birth flower is Marigold. No matter what his golfing fortunes, Chi Chi will continue to be a champ with children. Responded Jan 28, 2020. "He wasn't the best player," he says, "but he tried harder than anyone. The next time I fought that kid, I beat him. Rodriguez attempted the show's notorious glass break challenge, but his ball ricocheted off the apparatus and appeared to hit the 78-year-old in a sensitive spot. When Rodriguez is introduced to someone these days, he often says, deadpan, "Hi, I'm Clark Kent.". "I never had to ask anyone for money again," he says. However, the responsibility of supporting his wife and her daughter from a previous marriage, Donnette, as well as being the financial rock for his family in Puerto Rico, often caused Rodriguez to try too hard. Twice he has come from six shots back in the final round to win. Rodriguez's favorite clinic is the one he conducts for his Clearwater Youth Foundation. "My dad gave me so much confidence," says Rodriguez. The year Juan Sr. died, he finally asked his son to hit a ball in a field next to the Rodriguez house. You didn't think I could make it. Don't worry. "We weren't quite ready for Chi Chi," says Gene Littler. "I would get to the dance floor, but I couldn't hear the band. Rodriguez … Rodriguez also stopped fishing after he read a book in which Jacques Cousteau described the pain fish feel when they're hooked. If you're an average golfer or a good golfer I think you will enjoy Chi-Chi's. "Ever since I was in the Army, nobody outwalks me," he says. ", Juan Sr., who died in 1963 at the age of 73, had no knowledge of golf and never saw his son play. "He could squeeze a nickel so hard he'd make the Indian ride the buffalo.". "I filled them up with paper so they would stay on," says Rodriguez. In the period between his last PGA Tour win and the start of the Senior PGA Tour, January devoted most of his professional efforts to a golf course design business, JanMart Enterprises, that he had established with fellow Texan and PGA Tour golfer Billy Martindale. When he made a putt, he would place his hat over the hole and send his Astaire-like frame into a one-man tango. Chi Chi Rodriguez was once best known for his one-liners, but now his unparalleled success on the Senior tour is no joke, © 2020 ABG-SI LLC. If you have any unfortunate news that this page should be update with, please let us know using this form. The ray of light that kept Rodriguez playing was the Senior tour. Cooper, who at 73 remains one of Rodriguez's two teachers (the other is his brother Jesus), made sure the green got only enough water to keep it alive. He tried to fill part of it with a new family. "I think he was ahead of his time." Then, last May at the Dallas/ Fort Worth Airport, Bob Toski, the famous teacher of pros, gave Rodriguez a putting tip, telling him to stroke with more of a descending blow to eliminate sidespin. "That green was harder than Idi Amin's heart," says Rodriguez, "but it made me one of the best wedge players that ever lived. Suddenly, he had no confidence, despite trying hundreds of putters and remedies that included filling his putter shaft with sand. January is well known for his success on the Senior PGA Tour (now the Champions Tour),[4] winning 22 events including two PGA Seniors' Championships. For years other pros have marveled at Rodriguez's shotmaking skills. " But when Arnold Palmer, whom Rodriguez still calls King, asked him to tone it down after they played together in the 1964 Masters, Rodriguez did. "Roger Maris was a great man," he says. He could hit pitched bottle caps with a stick, and when he went outside at night to swing a broomstick at bats flying around him, he didn't miss many. Related references. Humor has always been his antidote. ... We played during the winter month February and the course was still in pretty good condition by the way. Today, Rodriguez entertains at clinics by bouncing a ball on the face of his sand wedge with glancing blows until the ball is spinning rapidly. That was O.K. Chi-Chi Rodriguez’s life path number is 6. He was a member of the U.S. Ryder Cup team in both 1965 and 1977. A few of Rodriguez's stories about his father are told with an almost vaudevillian delivery, like the one about the time his friends ran to tell Juan that his 16-year-old son had just broken the course record at the nearby Berwind Country Club with a 64, and the elder Rodriguez frowned and said, "Well, he better fix it, because I don't have any money to buy another one. All Rights Reserved. And when I win, I sort of feel like I'm used to it.' Over 26 years he averaged slightly less than $40,000 a year in winnings. But his worst days came after he wrote an article about putting for a golf magazine and incurred "paralysis by analysis." "Chi Chi feels so lucky, is so proud of what he's done, is so thankful, that he has to give something back," says fellow pro Doug Sanders. "T" indicates a tie for a place, † indicates the event was won in a playoff; ‡ indicates the event was won wire-to-wire, † indicates the event was won in a playoff, United Hospitals Senior Golf Championship, The Greenbrier American Express Championship, List of golfers with most PGA Tour Champions wins, List of men's major championships winning golfers,, "Player cools heels 7 minutes; Misses putt, miffed at January",, Ryder Cup competitors for the United States, Winners of men's major golf championships, Winners of senior major golf championships, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Nicklaus won with birdie on second extra hole, Elder won with birdie on first extra hole, Longest streak of top-10s – 3 (1976 PGA – 1977 PGA), This page was last edited on 24 October 2020, at 09:02. The result: Rodriguez has played some of the best golf of his life. I told him, 'Dad, this boy beat the hell out of me.' Juan Antonio "Chi-Chi" Rodríguez (born October 23, 1935) is a Puerto Rican professional golfer. CUT = missed the halfway cut (3rd round cut in 1964 PGA Championship) Rodriguez was golf's greatest entertainer back when he was among the dewsweepers on Sunday, and now he's enjoying a revival even Jackie Mason might envy. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

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