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Recognizing The Accomplishments Of Juan Antonio “Chi-Chi” Rodriguez In Professional Golf And His Work On Behalf Of Children

March 6, 2008--On Page E317 the following appeared: CHICHI''

The online version should be corrected to read: CHICHI''

Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez

legislator photo

Madam Speaker, I rise today to announce the introduction of my bill, a Resolution Recognizing the Accomplishments of Juan Antonio ``Chi-Chi'' Rodriguez in Professional Golf and His Work on Behalf of Children.

The bipartisan resolution I introduce today, congratulates and recognizes Juan Antonio ``Chi-Chi'' Rodriguez for his continued success on and off of the golf course, for his generosity and devotion to charity, and for his exemplary dedication to the intellectual and moral growth of thousands of low income and disadvantaged youth in our country.

Madam Speaker, sports figures, through their perseverance, discipline, and good behavior, can serve as examples of excellence, dedication and devotion to our youth.

Chi-Chi Rodriguez was born in Rio Piedras, PR, on October 23, 1935, and rose from the most humble of circumstances as the fifth of six children of an agricultural laborer and a housekeeper. These hardships did not harden him, but motivated him to become a great sportsman, humanitarian and role model.

Chi-Chi joined the ranks of golf professionals at the age of 24, reportedly standing at 5'7'' and weighing 117 pounds and has had a stellar career in the sport of golf, earning an impressive record of 38 professional wins, including 8 PGA Tour wins and 22 Senior PGA Tour wins. His Senior PGA Tour records for most consecutive victories, at four, and most consecutive birdies, at eight, still stand.

In 1979, Chi-Chi Rodriguez helped create the Chi-Chi Rodriguez Youth Foundation, and the Chi-Chi Rodriguez Academy in Clearwater, FL, which have collectively raised more than $4 million to help thousands of low-income and disadvantaged youth reach their life potential through educational opportunities and support programs, including a public partnership school, a community service program, a nine-hole golf course and others, which has been recognized by receiving the 1986 National Golf Foundation Award for best Youth Program in the United States, becoming the 758th President Bush's Point of Light, and receiving the Robie Award for Humanitarianism presented by the Jackie Robinson Foundation, among others.

His devotion to others knows no bounds. In addition to all he already does, he also joined with the FBI Agents Association to lead the Chi-Chi Rodriguez G-Man Desert Shootout Tournament devoted to raising funds for College scholarships for the children of FBI agents killed in the line of duty.

In 1989, the United States Golf Association, founded in 1894, granted Chi-Chi Rodriguez its highest honor, the Bob Jones Award, in recognition for his distinguished sportsmanship in golf and in 1994, Chi-Chi was inducted to the first class of the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame for ``world class athletic ability,'' for being ``a role model in his community'' and for having ``a strong record of humanitarian efforts.''

In 1992, Chi-Chi Rodriguez was inducted to the World Golf Hall of Fame, ``Golf highest honor'' and in 1973, he was a member of the U.S. Team that won the Ryder Cup in Muirfield, Scotland.

Chi-Chi Rodriguez has received countless other distinguished awards and recognitions such as the 1974 Charlie Bartlett Award of the Golf Writers Association, the 1981 Richardson Award of the Golf Writers Association of America, the 1982 Father of the Year Award, the 1986 Card Walker Award (Outstanding Contribution to Junior Golf), the 1986 Salvation Army Gold Crest Award, the 12th Roberto Clemente Cup (1986), the 1986 Byron Nelson Award, the 1986 Hispanic Achievement Recognition Award, the 1987 Byron Nelson Award, the 1987 Senior Tour Arnold Palmer Award, the 1988 Fred Raphael Golf Achievement Award, the 1989 Old Tom Morris Award, the 1990 ``Caring for Kids'' Award, the 1991 Jackie Robinson Humanitarian Award, the 1993 Civilian Meritorious Service Medal presented by the Department of Defense, the 1997 International Network of Golf Award, the 1998 Ford Achievement Award, and the 2003 Paul Runyan Memorial Recognition Award, among others.

He is also a published author who has authored and co-authored several books and articles about golf, such as Chi Chi's Secrets of Power Golf in 1967, Everybody's Golf Book in 1975, Chi Chi's Power Pack, in 1982, Every Golfer's Guide to Lower Scores by Chi-Chi Rodriguez, in 1990, and Chi Chi's Golf Games You Gotta Play, in 2003, among others.

He is very proud of his philosophy on life, which can be summarized by his personal expressions ``For me, satisfaction comes from knowing that I was put on this planet to leave it better . . . .'' and ``A man never stands taller than when he stoops to help a child.''

Please join me in recognizing that Chi-Chi Rodriguez embodies the spirit of generosity and humanism of his fellow Puerto Rican, Roberto Clemente and that as a native of Puerto Rico, Chi-Chi has proven to be an important role model and source of pride for all Puerto Ricans, as well as all Latin Americans and all immigrants to the U.S. from across the globe.

My resolution congratulates and commends Chi-Chi Rodriguez: (1) for his successes in golf in the United States and throughout the world; (2) for his exemplary conduct as a private citizen; (3) for a life devoted to service to others, in particular, for his help to low income and underprivileged youth, and to the children of FBI agents killed in the line of duty; and (4) and in gratitude for his service as a role model and an inspiration for our youth, the people of Puerto Rico, and the United States.

Madam Speaker, let me conclude with this. One of the great honors of the Members of this House is to recognize our fellow citizens who stand out as exceptional individuals.

It is my great honor to present this legislation for consideration in the House of Representatives with the hope that the example of Chi-Chi Rodriguez can be known across our Nation and that he may serve as a role model for us all.