A relentless passion and inner driving force describes the spirit of these notable Hispanic golfers. Some started poor with few opportunities to find their way; others had parents that saw great potential and nurtured their natural talent early on.
1. Lee Trevino was originally from Dallas, Texas. He had an illustrious 40-year golf career with the PGA (Professional Golf Association) starting in 1967. Lee Trevino is one of the notable Hispanic golfers because he won six major championships and Golf Digest Magazine ranks him as the 14th top golfer of all time. He has helped young Mexican golfers with many scholarship funded opportunities. In 1981 Lee Trevino was elected into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
2. Chi Chi Rodriguez was born in 1935 in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico. He grew up in a poor family but found a job as a golf caddy at a young age. He grew to love the sport and practiced with a guava tree branch as his club. Chi Chi Rodriguez learned by watching other golfers; he achieved the astonishing score of 67 at the age of 12. In 1963 he won the Denver Open and eight more major titles on the PGA Tour. After receiving the Hispanic Recognition Award in 1986, he became Replica’s Hispanic 1988 Man of the Year. In 1922 Chi Chi Rodriguez--a great Hispanic golfer--was the first Puerto Rican inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
3. Lorena Ochoa was born in Guadalajara, Mexico in 1981. She won two majors: the Women’s British Open of 2007 and the Kraft Nabisco Championship in 2008. Among her more significant awards were the LPGA (Ladies Professional golf Association) money leader in 2006, 2007 and 2008; LPGA player of the year 2006 to 2009; and the 2003 LPGA Rookie of the year. Lorena Ochoa is one of the great Hispanic golfers and was the second youngest LPGA athlete to meet the qualifications for induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
4. Camilo Villegas was born in Medellin, Colombia in 1982. Since joining the PGA Tour in 2004 he has had three wins. As an Amateur Hispanic golfer he won the Mexican Open in 2002 and the Players Amateur in 2003. Villegas won the 2007 Coca-Cola Tokai Classic as part of the Japan Golf Tour and came in first place at the Colombian Open as an amateur in 2001.
5. Nancy Lopez was born in Torrance, California in 1957 to Mexican-American parents. She started golfing at an early age and won the California State Golf Championship at nine, in her age group. At age 12 she came in first at the New Mexico Open, then on to other Junior Golf Championship wins. Lopez joined the LPGA in 1977 after dropping out of college to pursue her golf dreams. She was LPGA Rookie and Player of the year in 1978. The 1980’s were filled with wins for this Hispanic golfer with two major championship wins. In 1987 Nancy Lopez was the youngest golfer to be inducted to the LPGA Hall of Fame. She retired in 2002 with the sixth most all time wins and twelfth money maker with earnings totaling over $5 million. She was popular and beloved for her courtesy towards fellow players and fans and her fiery competitive spirit.