Yesterday, my wife asked me what I was going to write about … I said “Chi Chi Rodriguez”. I have no idea why I said that. Haven’t heard his name lately … he hasn’t been in the news … no reason to say that … and I didn’t hesitate – just jumped out of my mouth.
Last week I did read an article about Ben Hogan. It was a reprint of an article from 1970 in Golf Digest written by Nick Seitz. You have to read it. It’s unbelievably well written, and a fascinating portrait of Hogan. I can always read Hogan stories.
Chi Chi said that he played 11 tournaments with Hogan and saw him never miss a green. Now, Chi Chi is a storyteller and a lot of fun … but he might not be exaggerating … Hogan was that good.
And Chi Chi was crazy good … not Hogan good … but unbelievably good. He was about 5’7” and 150 lbs and hit it as far as anybody. And he could get it up-and-down from anywhere. He was made for Tour golf. He could hit any kind of shot and was a showman. He played for the galleries. He’d be in the middle of the fairway with a basic shot to a middle pin … and instead, he’d hit a crazy hook or some type of goofy knock-down shot just for the fans. And of course he was known for his bolero act after he’d make a putt.
I’m sure that not all of the other Tour players appreciated his act … or wanted to be paired-up with him. However, normal tournaments on the Tour are not the same as the Majors. The Majors are about pure golf. They’re about testing the best players in the world.
Whereas, the Tour is about good players touring around the country putting on a show – a golf show. Of course the galleries want to see their heroes play great golf … but it’s not the US Open.
Chi Chi had success on the Tour – he won 8 times – but he really did well on the Senior Tour. Probably because the Senior Tour was less serious than the PGA Tour. Also, Chi Chi aged well – at 60, he looked and moved like a 40 year old.
Talk about not having a modern robot swing! You have to check out videos of his swing. And his interviews. He’s a bright, thoughtful, charming fellow.
And, check out that Hogan article. You can’t just watch Netflix and “Tiger King” every day.
GM/Head PGA Professional