DALLAS -- Ask other golfers about their impressions of Chi Chi Rodriguez and you'll hear more about his concern for people than putting or prizes.

"When I won the Canadian Open in 1966, Chi Chi finished second," Don Massengale recalled. "At presentations, he told the crowd he felt like the real winner that week because he made 50,000 friends."

After winning the Silver Pages Classic in Oklahoma City on May 23, Juan (Chi Chi) Rodriguez, 51, donated $10,000 of his $37,000 first-place check to help victims of tornado-ravaged Saragosa, Tex.

"He is so grateful for his life," Doug Sanders said. "He has never stopped giving. I just wish one thing. I wish there were more Chi Chis."

Chi Chi -- a nickname acquired as a boy in San Juan, Puerto Rico, because he idolized baseball star Chi Chi Flores -- could live with that.

"I've always loved crowds," Rodriguez said. "There were six of us kids and my parents raised us in a little wood house with an outdoor toilet and bats living in the ceiling. We were so poor, I grew up under a sign that said, 'Made in Taiwan.' "

When the PGA Seniors Tour's No. 1 money-winner brings his show of good humor and one-liners to the Senior Players Reunion Pro-Am -- scheduled for Dallas' Bent Tree course Friday through Sunday -- he should be in top form.

Smiling, Rodriguez peers from beneath the broad brim of his trademark straw hat. That model is so popular now that golf shops stock a "Chi Chi" line of headwear.

He was wearing such a hat when he arrived on the PGA Tour in 1960, a former caddie and U.S. Army veteran who hit long-distance drives despite his small (5-foot-7 1/2, 132-pound) frame.

When he sank a birdie putt, he crouched over the cup and covered it with his hat, delighting the gallery, if not playing partners waiting to putt.

Rodriguez meant no disrespect. He explained that he began placing his hat over the cup because he once sank a putt and then watched the ball pop out because a toad was in the hole.

He eventually discarded the hat trick and turned to his now-famous matador routine, brandishing his putter like a sword after sinking a putt. But he's never without the hat.

"When I was a kid, Sam Snead was my idol," he said. "I wanted to wear a hat just like his, but that coconut straw looked goofy on me. You need a round face to wear one of those, so I tried this one. That's as close as I could come to Slammin' Sam."

Rodriguez lives such an upbeat existence that it's easy to believe he takes nothing seriously. But his track record says something else. He cares. He shares.

His credo: "It's better to live like a millionaire and die poor than to live poor and die a millionaire."

And Rodriguez has touched the lives of countless youths through golf clinics, which are a mixture of free advice on golf and life.

"You've got to share, kids," he tells them. "You've got to be proud of this country. It's the greatest country in the world because it's given me the chance to come and talk to you today.

"It's not the size of a man, but the size of the heart in a man that counts. Just remember each time you go to the mirror, you've got to like who you see."

When Rodriguez reflects on his life, he told the Dallas Morning News that these are among the experiences that have meant the most:"Meeting Mother Theresa in the Philippines. I missed meeting the pope, but that's okay; we'll always get another pope. There's only one Mother Theresa." "When I first won a tournament {the Denver Open in 1963}, I bought my mother a three-bedroom house. Then, when I won my second one, I gave my sister the down payment for a home. She had four kids and her husband was an accountant. In Puerto Rico, being an accountant is like being captain of the Titanic. It's a very unrewarding job." His two special foundations, a children's hospital in Puerto Rico and a center for abused children in Clearwater, Fla.