|— Golfer —|
|Full name||Juan Antonio Rodríguez|
October 23, 1935 |
Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico
|Height||5 ft 7 in (170 cm)|
|Weight||150 lb (68 kg; 11 st)|
|Nationality|| Puerto Rico
|Current tour(s)||Champions Tour|
|Former tour(s)||PGA Tour|
|Number of wins by tour|
|Best results in major championships
|Masters Tournament||T10: 1970, 1973|
|U.S. Open||T6: 1981|
|The Open Championship||T28: 1973|
|PGA Championship||T15: 1969|
|Achievements and awards|
|World Golf Hall of Fame||1992 (member page)|
|Old Tom Morris Award||1989|
|Bob Jones Award||1989|
- 1 Early years
- 2 PGA Tour
- 3 Senior PGA Tour
- 4 Awards and honors
- 5 Later years
- 6 Professional wins (38)
- 7 Results in major championships
- 8 Champions Tour major championships
- 9 Team appearances
- 10 Depictions in pop culture
- 11 See also
- 12 References
- 13 External links
Rodríguez was born into a poor family in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico. He was one of six siblings. His father used to earn $18 a week as a laborer and cattle handler. When Rodríguez was 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.
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. Hotter than my first wrist watch."
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. Juan developed his signature "toreador dance," where he would make believe that the ball was a "bull" and that his putter was a "sword," and he would terminate the "bull." Even though he was a very small man, he had a special stance and swing with the driver that enabled him to hit the ball as far as the longest drivers on the tour. Rodríguez represented Puerto Rico on 12 World Cup teams.
Senior PGA Tour
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, earning 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 1991, he lost an 18-hole playoff to Jack Nicklaus in the U.S. Senior Open.
Awards and honors
In 1986, Rodríguez won the Hispanic Recognition Award. In 1988, he was named Replica's Hispanic Man of the Year. In 1989, Rodríguez was voted the Bob Jones Award, the highest honor given by the United States Golf Association in recognition of distinguished sportsmanship in golf. He received the 1989 Old Tom Morris Award from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, GCSAA's highest honor. In 1992, Juan "Chi-Chi" Rodríguez was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame, the first Puerto Rican so honored.
On one occasion, 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 James, 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 May 2010, Rodríguez was robbed at his house in Guayama, Puerto Rico, by three people who stole $500,000 in cash and jewelry. Rodríguez and his wife were awakened at 1:45 in the morning by masked men who then tied them up and robbed them.
On March 11, 2012, at the age of 76, Rodríguez participated as an honorary player in the Puerto Rico Open. He played 18 holes as his final official round as a professional in the PGA. There were several events honoring Rodríguez associated with the Tournament, and the tribute received extensive media coverage.
Professional wins (38)
PGA Tour wins (8)
|No.||Date||Tournament||Winning score||Margin of victory||Runner(s)-up|
|1||Sep 1, 1963||Denver Open Invitational||−4 (68-74-65-69=276)||2 strokes||Bill Eggers|
|2||Jan 27, 1964||Lucky International Open||−12 (72-69-65-66=272)||Playoff||Don January|
|3||Aug 9, 1964||Western Open||−16 (64-69-68-67=268)||1 stroke||Arnold Palmer|
|4||Apr 30, 1967||Texas Open Invitational||−7 (68-73-70-66=277)||1 stroke||Bob Charles, Bob Goalby|
|5||Oct 20, 1968||Sahara Invitational||−10 (70-71-69-64=274)||Playoff||Dale Douglass|
|6||May 1, 1972||Byron Nelson Golf Classic||−7 (66-68-69-70=273)||Playoff||Billy Casper|
|7||Apr 2, 1973||Greater Greensboro Open||−17 (68-66-67-66=267)||1 stroke||Lou Graham, Ken Still|
|8||Apr 22, 1979||Tallahassee Open||−19 (66-69-67-67=269)||3 strokes||Lindy Miller|
PGA Tour playoff record (3–1)
|1||1964||Lucky International Open||Don January||Won 18-hole playoff (Rodríguez:70, January:71)|
|2||1966||Cajun Classic Open Invitational||Jacky Cupit||Lost to par on second extra hole|
|3||1968||Sahara Invitational||Dale Douglass||Won with par on first extra hole|
|4||1972||Byron Nelson Golf Classic||Billy Casper||Won with birdie on first extra hole|
Other wins (4)
- 1963 Colombian Open
- 1976 Pepsi-Cola Mixed Team Championship (with Jo Ann Washam)
- 1979 Bahamas Open, Panama Open (tie with Butch Baird)
Senior PGA Tour wins (22)
Champions Tour playoff record (1–7)
|1||1986||Greater Grand Rapids Open||Jim Ferree, Gene Littler||Ferree won with birdie on first extra hole|
|2||1989||Bell Atlantic/St. Christopher's Classic||Dave Hill||Lost to par on third extra hole|
|3||1989||General Tire Las Vegas Classic||Charles Coody, Bob Charles||Coody won with birdie on second extra hole|
|4||1990||NYNEX Commemorative|| Mike Fetchick, Jimmy Powell,
|Trevino won with birdie on fifth extra hole
Powell and Rodríguez eliminated with birdie on first hole
|5||1991||Murata Reunion Pro-Am||Jim Colbert||Won with par on fourth extra hole|
|6||1991||U.S. Senior Open||Jack Nicklaus||Lost 18-hole playoff (Nicklaus:65, Rodríguez:69)|
|7||1991||Security Pacific Senior Classic||George Archer, John Brodie||Brodie won with birdie on second extra hole|
|8||1993||First of America Classic||George Archer, Jim Colbert||Archer won with par on third extra hole
Rodríguez eliminated with par on first hole
Senior major championships are shown in bold.
Other senior wins (4)
- 1988 Japan PGA Senior Championship, Senior Skins Game
- 1989 Senior Skins Game
- 1993 Wendy's 3-Tour Challenge (with Raymond Floyd and Jack Nicklaus)
Results in major championships
|The Open Championship||DNP||DNP||DNP||DNP||DNP||DNP||DNP||DNP||DNP|
|The Open Championship||DNP||DNP||DNP||T28||DNP||DNP||DNP||DNP||DNP||DNP|
|The Open Championship||DNP||DNP||DNP|
DNP = Did not play
CUT = missed the half-way cut
WD = Withdrew
"T" indicates a tie for a place
Yellow background for top-10
|The Open Championship||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||1|
- Most consecutive cuts made – 9 (1972 U.S. Open – 1974 PGA)
- Longest streak of top-10s – 1 (four times)
Champions Tour major championships
|1986||Senior Tournament Players Championship||−10 (69-67-70=206)||2 strokes||Bruce Crampton|
|1987||General Foods PGA Seniors' Championship||−6 (70-69-76-67=282)||1 stroke||Dale Douglass|
- World Cup (representing Puerto Rico): 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1971, 1974, 1976, 1993
- Ryder Cup (representing the United States): 1973 (winners)
Depictions in pop culture
A morphed image of Rodriguez is featured on the new wave band Devo's debut album Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! and an unmodified image on their single "Be Stiff." According to band member Jerry Casale, they had found the image of Rodriguez on a golf strap and wanted to use it, but their bosses felt that the band was making fun of the golfer, so they morphed the image with that of several other people for their album.
- List of famous Puerto Ricans
- List of golfers with most PGA Tour wins
- List of golfers with most Champions Tour wins
- "Chi-Chi Rodriguez Academy". Chichi.org. Retrieved 2012-03-12.
- Made Up Media: R.Sellers, M.Walker, I.George, D.Crouch, G.Newsham. "Hall of Fame". Ingolfwetrust.com. Retrieved 2012-03-12.
- The Gigantic Book of Golf Quotations, ed. Jim Apfelbaum. 2007.
- "Chi Chi Rodriguez robbed at home in Puerto Rico". Stats.cbc.ca. Retrieved 2012-03-12.
- "Fifth Annual Puerto Rico Open Tees Off at The Trump International: Golf Legend Chi Chi Rodríguez to Play His Final Official Round". Prweb.com. 2012-01-19. Retrieved 2012-03-12.