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Golf pro, Chi-Chi Rodríguez, was born in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico. He was the first Puerto Rican to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
When Rodríguez was only seven years old, he helped his 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 him, 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 remarkable 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.
Chi-Chi Rodríguez turned professional in 1960. In 1963, at 28, Rodríguez won the Denver Open, which he considers as his favorite win. In total he won eight titles on the PGA Tour between 1963 and 1979. He played on the 1979 Ryder Cup team.
At first, Rodríguez used to put his hat over the hole whenever he made a birdie or eagle. After he heard that other golfers were complaining about his little act, he decided to try something new. Chi Chi developed his signature "toreador dance", where he would make believe that the birdie was a "bull" and that his putter was a "sword" and he would terminate the "bull". Rodríguez represented Puerto Rico on 12 World Cup teams. In 1986, he won the Hispanic Recognition Award. In 1988, he was named Replica's Hispanic Man of the Year.
Rodríguez became eligible to play on the Senior PGA Tour (now known as the Champions Tour) in 1985 and did so for many years with great success, accumulating 22 tournament victories between 1986 and 1993. He was the first player on the Senior PGA Tour to win the same event in three consecutive years. He set a tour record with eight consecutive birdies en route to a win at the 1987 Silver Pages Classic.
In 1989, he was voted the Bob Jones Award, the highest honor given by the United States Golf Association in recognition of distinguished sportsmanship in golf. Rodríguez received the 1989 Old Tom Morris Award from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, GCSAA's highest honor. In 1991, he lost an 18-hole playoff to a legendary Jack Nicklaus in the U.S. Senior Open. In 1992, Juan "Chi-Chi" Rodríguez was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame, the first Puerto Rican so honored.
On one occasion Chi-Chi Rodríguez had a brief encounter with Mother Teresa. He considers that moment as the greatest moment in his life. This encounter inspired him to help others. Rodríguez, together with former pro golfer Bill Hayes and Bob Jones, established the "Chi-Chi Rodríguez Youth Foundation", an afterschool program at the Glen Oaks Golf Course in Clearwater, Florida. The principal idea behind the foundation is to instill self-esteem in young people who are victims of abuse, have experienced minor brushes with the law, or have suffered other hardships. Rodríguez also bought his mother a house and gave financial help to his brothers and sisters.
In October 1998, Rodríguez suffered a heart attack. He had an angioplasty to clear the blocked artery and made a recovery. He is married and has one daughter.