TAMPA, FL – The sixth annual Tampa Bay Sneaker Soiree is proud to honor golf legend, “Chi Chi” Rodriguez, with the prestigious Lee Roy Selmon Lifetime Achievement award at Thursday’s event. The Lee Roy Selmon Lifetime Achievement Award is bestowed to an individual(s) that demonstrate a lifetime’s worth of incredible support for the Tampa Bay sports community. Previous winners include, Dick Vitale (2011), Lee Roy Selmon (2012), Chris Sullivan and Bob Basham (2013), Derrick Brooks (2014) and Tino Martinez (2015). The SOLD OUT Sneaker Soiree festivities are set to kickoff at 7:30 p.m. at TPepin’s Hospitality Centre.
"Chi Chi” Rodriguez is one of the great showmen in sports history. This World Golf Hall of Famer’s, career spanned over four decades. “Chi Chi” won 8 times on the PGA Tour and boasts 22 Champions Tour victories. Even though his appearances at Champions Tour events were limited, his colorful performances made him a gallery favorite, while his shot making skills earned him the respect of his peers.
“Chi Chi” grew up in the hot, dusty sugar cane fields of Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, where he helped his father tend the fields. “Chi Chi’s” golf expertise began at the age of 12, when he shot a 67. “Chi Chi” became known for his eye-hand coordination and imagination—skills that for more than 40 years have helped him overcome all types of obstacles. He showcased these skills at golf clinics and exhibitions around the country. However, “Chi Chi’s” talents extend beyond what he is able to do with the golf ball. From his matador routine to his good-natured impersonations of fellow competitors, “Chi Chi” is an entertainer at heart.
Nevertheless, what separates “Chi Chi” from everyone else is that he has coupled his success on the golf course with a strong personal desire to make a positive impact. This has manifested itself in the countless hours he spends at The “Chi Chi” Rodriguez Youth Foundation.
“Chi Chi’s” foundation, in Clearwater, Florida, is home to troubled and abused youngsters. “Chi Chi’s” philosophy is simple; he wants kids to have a chance. “I figure kids are the future. If I made it, anybody can do it. I think I can be a good role model for them because they can look at me and say, “Look, he’s a small guy, he was very poor, and he worked hard and made it. If I can help one kid become successful in life because they want to be the way I was, that’s all I ask for.” It is through examples like this that “Chi Chi” has proven that he is not only a great golf champion, but a champion in life.