Chi Chi Rodriguez
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Chi Chi Rodriguez Speaker Profile
Juan Antonio "Chi-Chi" Rodríguez was born on October 23, 1935 and is a Puerto Rican professional golfer. He was the first Puerto Rican to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Rodríguez was born into a poor family in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico. He was one of six siblings. His father used to earn only $18 a week as a laborer and cattle handler. When Rodríguez was only seven years old, he helped the family by earning money as a water carrier on a sugar plantation. One day Juan wandered off into a golf course. When he saw that the caddies were earning more money than he was he decided to become a caddy himself.
Rodríguez would take a branch from a guava tree and turn it into a golf club. Using a metal can as a "golf ball", he would practice what he had seen the "real" golfers do, teaching himself how to play golf. By the time he was nine years old, he was proficient at golf and in 1947 at the age of 12, he scored a 67.
In 1954 when Rodríguez was 19, he joined the Army. During his breaks, he would visit whichever golf course was nearby, where he continued to perfect his game.
Rodríguez, with characteristic charisma, would often make jokes about his past hardships on the golf course, such as, "How long does John Daly drive a golf ball? When I was a kid, I didn't go that far on vacation." And, "Playing golf is not hot work. Cutting sugar cane for a dollar a day — that's hot work. H
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