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George Lopez's Golf Swing Highlights

George Lopez is being interviewed about his obsession with golf.

For a guy who forges a living making people laugh, his tone quickly turns serious when it comes to golf. George Lopez fell in love after his very first round on Christmas Day more than 20 years ago. Today, he is a proud owner of a 13-handicap and is infatuated with the game both as a player and as an astute fan.

Star, co-creator, writer and producer of the ABC show that bears his name, Lopez's star has never shined brighter. The George Lopez Show was just picked up for another season and his latest movie, The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3D, opened in mid-June. All of this while maintaining an active schedule as a sell-out, stand-up comedian.

Recently given a clean bill of health after a kidney transplant, Lopez hopes to double his annual round count of 100. The former Emmy Awards host will play golf anywhere and with anyone who "respects the game." Crediting the sport with changing his life and teaching him patience, golf is not just a pastime for the comedian.

Lopez took time out of his busy schedule to candidly discuss his passion for golf, his home in Pebble Beach and his acting endeavors. —Hilary Howard

How did you first get involved in golf?
Every Latino family has a lemon tree and I used to hit lemons in my backyard as a kid. We had a couple of clubs that were used primarily to make sure the dog didn't escape. We used the 7-iron as a wedge between the wall and the door. I'd go in the backyard and I would pull off the green ones that were most shaped like golf balls and hit them into the alley. That is how I started to swing the club.

How would you describe your golf game?
I have a compact, tight swing like Darren Clarke. I am not long off the tee, but I have lengthened my backswing a little bit. Also, we both smoke cigars. My swing is powerful and I get through like Darren. Not the Darren Clarke on the back nine at Harbour Town, but the Darren Clarke who plays so well at the Ryder Cup. Note: Darren Clarke shot a 40 on that Sunday back nine, including two double bogeys, to lose his lead at the MCI Heritage Classic in April.

What is the best golf tip you ever received?
I got a sand wedge tip at Pebble Beach from Luke Donald about opening the face and pretending to put the sand in the hole and not the ball. It works incredibly well and helps me finish the swing.

Is it difficult to have your golf game critiqued on national television?
I don't mind it because it is what it is. I came out of a shot and I hit it pretty far into the woods. David Feherty comments, "that ball is so far into the woods, if it was wrapped in bacon, Lassie wouldn't even find it." That was a killer line and brilliant. As a comedian, I appreciate the comedy.

Who do you play golf with most often?
I play with Cheech Marin and guys from my crew all the time. i am playing in the Celebrity Cup in August in Wales. It is American celebrities versus European celebrities and our captain is Mark O'Meara and their captain is Colin Montgomerie. Our side is Clint Eastwood, Ray Romano, Samuel L. Jackson, Kevin Costner, Andy Garcia and Bill Murray. Their side is prince Andrew, Sean Connery, Hugh Grant and I couldn't name 12 European people if you spotted me eight. I need to go home and google the guys on the European team.

Is it true you turned down six figures of cash for 45 minutes of work in Las Vegas because it would have ruined you round that day?
Absolutely. I turned down $130,000 to open for Rod Stewart at an Indian casino in the desert because that Thursday I was playing with Samuel L. Jackson, Cheech Marin and Justin Leonard at the Bob Hope. I did not want anything distracting me from my golf game. They upped the price twice and I told Rod Stewart I would have to pass. The promoter thought I was crazy, and I am, crazy about golf.

Who would be a part of your dream foursome?
Elvis Presley, Lee Trevino and Freddie Prinze.

How important is you charity work with the First Tee?
Nobody cared about us as kids, nobody came back to encourage us and nobody came back to tell us that we could succeed. I learned all the nine core values, but I taught them to myself because there wasn't a First Tee program. Joe Louis Barrow Jr. is doing and incredible job and it is an amazing organization. I approached him the first year I saw him at Pebble and told him I wanted to be deeply involved. This summer I am going to do some events at Twin Creeks and I already did their video presentation on my stage. Whatever the First Tee wants from George Lopez, they will have at any place and anytime. For a kid who used to hit lemons in the backyard to learn what I've learned from the game of golf starting at age 20 is amazing. If a kid could start learning those lessons at seven or eight years old, he would be much better off in life.

Q&A George Lopez
By Hilary Howard
Article by NCGA Golf Magazine Summer 2005

George Lopez is to help fight Kidney Disease since having a kidney transplant

George Lopez is getting serious about a mission that's close to his heart, or rather, his kidney. The co-creator and star of the hit ABC sitcom "George Lopez" and his wife, Ann, have been named national spokespeople for the National Kidney Foundation (NKF).

Lopez’s wife donated a kidney to him last April. Lopez suffered from a genetic condition that caused his kidneys to deteriorate, and needed the transplant in order to survive. Now he plans to spread the word about the need for early detection of kidney disease and the critical shortage of donated organs for transplantation. ------- Click here for more

Click here to visit George's official web site.

November 14, 2005

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