Golf Talk Live - Chi Chi Rodriguez Transcript Segment 1

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 10, 1997, 5:00 pm
TEASE

CHI CHI RODRIGUEZ HAS EARNED 30 TOUR TITLES ON THE PGA AND SENIOR PGA TOURS AND WE'RE STILL COUNTING. HE'S ONE OF GOLF'S MOST VERSATILE AND COURAGEOUS SHOT MAKERS AND ONE OF THE GAME'S GREATEST AND CREATIVE ENTERTAINERS BUT HE'LL BE REMEMBERED BEST AND MOST LOVED FOR HIS GIFTS OF TIME AND COMMITMENT TO YOUNG PEOPLE WHO WOULD HAVE NEVER KNOWN THE GAME'S PLEASURES IF NOT FOR THE GENEROSITY OF HEART AND SPIRIT OF CHI CHI RODRIGUEZ. HE FOUGHT HIS WAY PAST THE SUGAR CANE FIELDS OF PUERTO RICO WHERE HE HELPED HIS FATHER PUT FOOD ON THE FAMILY TABLE. HE SHOT 67 AS A 12 YEAR OLD AND LEARNED TO USE HIS GIFT OF HAND EYE COORDINATION AND HIS DEEPLY DEVELOPED WORK ETHIC TO TRANSFORM HIMSELF INTO A WORLD CLASS PLAYER. HE'S WON TOURNAMENTS AND HEARTS WHERE EVER THE GAME IS PLAYED. HE'S BEEN HONORED FOR GIVING, HE'S BEEN HONORED FOR PLAYING. THE CHI CHI RODRIGUEZ YOUTH FOUNDATION IS HIS LEGACY THAT CHANGES THE FUTURE BY INTRODUCING OPTIMISM AND OPPORTUNITY INTO THE HEARTS OF LIFE'S UNCHOSEN ONES. JACK NICKLAUS CONSIDERS CHI CHI THE GAME'S FINEST AMBASSADOR OF GOOD WILL. HE MAY ONLY BE FIVE FOOT SEVEN AND A HUNDRED AND THIRTY-FIVE POUNDS BUT IT'S FIVE FOOT SEVEN AND A HUNDRED AND THIRTY-FIVE POUNDS OF HEART AND GOODNESS.

PETER KESSLER

WELCOME TO GOLF TALK LIVE. I'M PETER KESSLER. GREAT PLEASURE AND HONOR TO INTRODUCE YOU TO ONE OF THE REALLY NICE MEN IN GOLF, ONE OF IT'S GREATEST SHOT MAKERS, ONE OF IT'S NICEST PEOPLE, CHI CHI RODRIGUEZ. WHAT A PLEASURE TO HAVE YOU HERE SIR.

CHI CHI RODRIGUEZ

PETER IT'S AWFULLY NICE UH BEING ON YOUR SHOW. I REALLY APPRECIATE YOU, YOU UH INVITING ME TO IT.

PETER KESSLER

I THINK THAT PEOPLE KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE DONE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE ON AN INTERNATIONAL BASIS BUT I THINK WHAT PEOPLE DON'T KNOW ABOUT YOU IS WHAT A GREAT SON YOU WERE TO YOUR PARENTS. FOR YOUR DAD, FOR EXAMPLE, WHEN HE WOULD COME IN IN THE EVENING IN PUERTO RICO, YOU WOULD TAKE OFF HIS SHOES, YOU WOULD WASH AND YOU WOULD RUB HIS FEET FOR HIM WOULDN'T YOU?

CHI CHI RODRIGUEZ

ALL THE BROTHERS AND SISTERS WE DID THAT. WE HAD THE UH, MY FATHER WAS A VERY POOR MAN FINANCIALLY UH BUT HE WAS SPIRITUALLY VERY, VERY WEALTHY. MY FATHER HAD THE LOVE OF ALL THE KIDS AND THE RESPECT THAT HE NEEDED AND WHEN HE USED TO GET FROM WORK, HE WORKED SOMETIMES 16 HOURS A DAY, SOMETIMES 18 HOURS. NEVER MADE OVER $18.00 A WEEK. AFTER 30 YEARS, HE NEVER MISSED A DAY OF WORK, HE GOT A HEART ATTACK AND THE GUY FIRED HIM, BUT WE FORGIVE AND MY DAD WHEN HE USED TO COME FROM WORK, ALL THE KIDS WERE USED TO WORK, WAIT FOR HIM AT THE DOOR LIKE AMISH PEOPLE YOU KNOW. THE RESPECT AND ADMIRATION FOR THAT MAN. HE USED TO SIT ON HIS ROCKING CHAIR, WE'D TAKE OFF HIS SHOES. WELL NOT SHOES HE WORE BOOTS. WE PULLED THE BOOTS OUT AND SOCKS. WE'D GET SOME HOT WATER, PUT HIS FEET IN, GET THE SOAP, WASH HIS FEET UH ANOTHER BROTHER WOULD DRY HIM OUT, JULIO, UH JESUS WOULD MASSAGE HIM. MY SISTER WOULD CUT HIS CORNS. I MEAN UH ALL OF US TOOK CARE OF OUR DAD.

PETER KESSLER

NOW HE DIED RELATIVELY EARLY IN YOUR PLAYING CAREER, 1963. WHAT WOULD HE HAVE THOUGHT OF THE MAN THAT YOU BECAME?

CHI CHI RODRIGUEZ

HE WOULD HAVE THOUGHT THAT I WAS UH DOING WHAT HE WOULD HAVE LIKED TO DO HAD HE HAD ANY MONEY BECAUSE MY DADDY, HE, HE AND MY MOTHER, THEY SH..., THEY SHARE EVERYTHING THAT THEY HAVE WITH THE KIDS.

PETER KESSLER

YOUR MOM, HER PROUDEST MOMENT OR PERHAPS YOUR PROUDEST MOMENT WAS WHEN YOU WON I GUESS THE DENVER OPEN IN 1963 AND WERE ABLE TO, FOR THE FIRST TIME, BUY HER A HOME OUT OF YOUR OWN POCKET.

CHI CHI RODRIGUEZ

YES MY MOTHER WAS LIVING IN THE BRONX IN NEW YORK AND I, I THOUGHT THAT SHE WAS RICH BECAUSE ALL THE PUERTO RICANS USED TO GO DOWN THERE WITH A NICE SUIT AND TIE YOU KNOW AND UH AND, AND SOME MONEY YOU KNOW AND I THOUGHT, I WAS NAIVE YOU KNOW AND I WAS IN THE ARMY AND I CAME TO SEE HER IN NEW YORK FROM, FROM OKLAHOMA. I CAME TO SPEND 14 DAYS WITH HER AND UH WHEN I GOT TO HER APARTMENT I SAID MOTHER WHERE DO YOU LIVE? AND SHE SAYS HERE. I SAID YOU CAN'T LIVE HERE. SHE SAYS THIS IS WHERE I LIVE SON. I SAID I'M GOING BACK TO OKLAHOMA TOMORROW. SHE SAYS YOU CAME TO SPEND UH CHRISTMAS, AND NEW YEARS WITH ME. I SAID NO I'M GOING BACK AND UH SHE SAYS OKAY. I SAID I'M GOING TO GO BACK AND I'M GOING TO PRACTICE GOLF SO I CAN WIN A GOLF TOURNAMENT SOME DAY AND GET YOU OUT OF HERE AND I RODE A TRAIN FROM GRAND CENT..., GRAND CENTRAL STATION ALL THE WAY TO FORCILE (???) OKLAHOMA AND WHEN I GOT THERE UH A GUY THAT I USED TO CADDIE FOR NAMED GIM BISSUM BAKKA SENT ME A SET, A SET OF CLUBS THAT I LIKED AND EVERY BALL THAT I HIT ON THAT RANGE I WAS BUYING MY MOTHER THAT HOME AND UH WHEN I WON THE DENVER OPEN I GOT FIFTY THREE HUNDRED BUCKS. I GOT HER OUT OF THE BRONX AND SHE WENT TO PUERTO RICO AND SHE LIVED THE REST OF HER LIFE VERY, VERY HAPPY. OF COURSE MY SISTERS AND BROTHERS, THEY CHIPPED IN TOO TO HELP BUY, BUY HER THAT HOME.

PETER KESSLER

THE, YOU WERE NOT THE ONLY TALENTED YOUNG MAN IN PUERTO RICO BUT YOU WERE ONE OF THE FEW TO MAKE IT OUT AND BECOME A WORLD CLASS SUCCESS. WHAT DOES TALENT MEAN IF YOU DON'T HAVE THE PERSEVERANCE TO BACK IT UP AND MAKE IT HAPPEN?

CHI CHI RODRIGUEZ

WELL PETER YOU HAVE TO HI, TO HAVE THE RIGHT BREAKS IN LIFE. YOU KNOW I HAD, I HAD ALL THE, THE GOOD BREAKS. I WORKED HARD FOR IT BUT I HAD A LOT OF GOOD BREAKS. THERE WERE GUYS FOR EXAMPLE, WE HAD A CADDIE CALLED CARMER... CARMELLO Y SALLES UH CARMELLO USED TO SHOOT IN THE 20'S PLAYING NINE HOLES. I MEAN HE, HE MIGHT HAVE BEEN UH AS GOOD A PLAYER AS I EVER SAW. HE COULD CARRY THE BALL OVER 300 YARDS IN THE AIR AND HE WOULD HAVE BEEN A CINCH TO MAKE IT AS A BIG NAME PRO AND HE WENT TO KOREA AND HE GOT HURT AND UH CARMELLO IS PROBABLY LIVING I THINK IN SAN DIEGO NOW AND HE'S GOT TO BE ABOUT 73 YEARS OLD BUT WHEN HE CAME BACK YOU KNOW HE WASN'T THE SAME MAN. HE GOT HURT IN THE WAR SO HE COULDN'T PLAY UH UH ANY MORE GOLF. HE COULDN'T PLAY GOOD ENOUGH BUT WE HAVE UH, JESUS CARMONA, WHO, ERACIO CARMONA WHO USED TO BEAT ME ALL THE TIME AND THE WAY HE MANAGED, ACTUALLY I WAS NOT IN THE TOP TEN PLAYERS OF THAT CLUB BUT I PERSEVERED. YOU KNOW WHEN, WHEN THEY UH WIN THEY, THEY TAKE IT EASY. WHEN I LOST I WANT TO WORK HARD TO TRY AND BEAT THEM AND I NEVER DID BEAT THEM. I NEVER WON THE CADDIE CHAMPIONSHIP SO THOSE, THOSE GUYS WERE GREAT, GREAT PLAYERS.

PETER KESSLER

HOW IMPORTANT WAS IT TO YOUR DEVELOPMENT AS A PLAYER AND TO YOUR HAND IRON COORDINATION THAT, YOU WERE FORCED TO NOT USE GOLF CLUBS AS A KID, BUT YOUR FIRST GOLF CLUB WAS REALLY THE LIMB OF A GUAVA TREE WAS IT NOT?

CHI CHI RODRIGUEZ

YEAH I USED TO PUT THE, TAKE THE UH THE LIMB AND PUT A, PUT A PIPE THROUGH IT YOU KNOW AND THEN TAKE A NAIL AND NAIL IT AT THE END. THEN I'D TAKE A TIN CAN. THEY USED TO BE, BE MADE OUT OF LEAD IN THOSE DAYS. I'D TAKE A, A LEAD BALL AND PUT IT RIGHT ON THE CAN. THEN I'D TAKE A HAMMER, I'D HAMMER IT AROUND. MAKE IT PERFECTLY ROUND. THEN I'D GO TO THE BASEBALL PARK AND I'D PLAY FROM HOME PLATE TO SECOND BASE AND I GOT SO I COULD GET THAT BALL, THAT UH CAN IN, IN THREE STROKES UH FROM HOME PLATE TO SECOND BASE INTO, INTO A LITTLE HOLE SO SOMETIMES IT'S BETTER TO, TO BE BORN THE HARD WAY BECAUSE WHEN YOU'RE BORN THE HARD WAY LIKE I WAS, AND LEE TREVINO AND ARNOLD PALMER, UH YOU DON'T HAVE ANYTHING TO PROVE. WHEN YOU'RE BORN WITH EVERYTHING YOU HAVE TO PROVE YOURSELF ALL THE TIME THAT'S WHY I THINK THAT JACK NICKLAUS IS SO GREAT BECAUSE HE WAS, HE WAS BORN WITH IT. HE HAD TO PROVE THAT HE COULD DO IT. JACK HAD PROVED THIS THROUGH OUT THE YEAR, HOW GREAT HE IS.

PETER KESSLER

YOU KNOW I, WE GOT TO SPEND SOME TIME WITH JACK RECENTLY AND HE WAS TELLING US OFF CAMERA THAT THE SPORT THAT HE WAS REALLY GREAT AT, FORGET GOLF, THE ONE THAT HE WAS REALLY GOOD AT WAS BASEBALL. THAT HE WAS A SWITCH HITTING CATCHER, AND THAT WAS REALLY YOUR FIRST LOVE TOO AND REALLY THE WAY YOU GOT YOUR NICK NAME WASN'T IT?

CHI CHI RODRIGUEZ

YEAH I USED TO IDOLIZE A GUY WHEN I WAS A KID, I, I, I WATCH A, THEY, THEY TALK ABOUT GREAT BALL PLAYERS, BUT I, I WATCHED A GUY NAMED JOSH GIBSON WHEN I WAS A KID

PETER KESSLER

SURE

CHI CHI RODRIGUEZ

CATCHER AND I NEVER SAW A PLAYER LIKE JOSH GIBSON. I, I THINK HE HIT LIKE 900 AND 74 HOME RUNS IN THE, IN THE

PETER KESSLER

IN THE NEGRO LEAGUES

CHI CHI RODRIGUEZ

AFRO AMERICAN UH LEAGUE

PETER KESSLER

THAT'S RIGHT

CHI CHI RODRIGUEZ

AND HE, HE DIED WHEN HE WAS 34 BUT I PLAYED BASEBALL WITH ROBERTO CLEMENTE. YOU KNOW WE HAD A MANAGER, WHAT A GENIUS HE WAS. ROBERTO CLEMENTE IN CLASS `A' BALL IN PUERTO RICO WAS OUR PINCH RUNNER AND HIS NAME WAS DAVID AND IF HE'S WATCHING THIS SHOW I WANT HIM TO KNOW THAT, WHAT A GENIUS HE WAS, ROBERTO CLEMENTE, PINCH RUNNING FOR CHI CHI RODRIQUEZ. I MEAN WHAT A GENIUS HE WAS, AND ROBERTO OF COURSE, YOU KNOW IS ONE OF THE GREATEST BALL PLAYERS UH OF ALL TIME. I PLAYED WITH ORLANDO SEPETA, I PLAYED WITH UH WITH ROMAND HERNANDEZ, YOU KNOW HE USED TO BE, RE, RELIEF PITCHER FOR THE PITTSBURGH PIRATES. I PLAYED WITH ALL THOSE GUYS, AND THE OLDER I GET, I GET I'M LIKE JACK, I'M LIKE JACK WITH BASEBALL. THE OLDER I GET THE BETTER I USED TO BE.

PETER KESSLER

WHEN A GUY WHO GOT 3000 HITS LIKE ROBERTO CLEMENTE, AS YOUR PINCH RUNNER, YOU MUST HAVE BEEN PRETTY GOOD. NO WONDER YOU LIKE BASEBALL. WE'RE GOING TO TAKE A VERY SHORT BREAK. WE WILL BE RIGHT BACK WITH CHI CHI AND YOU RIGHT AFTER THIS DON'T GO AWAY.

BREAK
 
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Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

@tommyfleetwood_1

A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.