Golf Talk Live - Chi Chi Rodriguez Transcript Segment 1

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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.

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