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Albert Pujols Celebrity Golf Classic 2010

August 16, 2010

By Derrick Goold | St. Louis Post-Dispatch, used with permission

ST. ALBANS, Mo. — The tallest, biggest and most famous golfer in the group arrived at the Country Club of St. Albans wearing a newsboy’s hat, khaki shoes personalized with his Blue Chips-era “dunkman” logo and a sweater vest. Yes, a sweater vest.

“Shaqie!” Dee Dee Pujols greated Shaquille O’Neal with a hug.

She whispered later: “Only I can call him ‘Shaqie’.”

Right, but who was going to tell him about the sweater vest?

In temperatures considered tame for this time of year — especially considering the roaster oven that St. Louis Cardinals played in all weekend — O’Neal and dozens of other sporting celebrities joined Dee Dee’s husband, Albert Pujols, and other Cardinals at the annual Pujols Family Foundation golf tournament. Pujols, the Cardinals first baseman and reigning National League MVP, was asked by a reporter how big the event has grown, now in its eighth season. Dee Dee handled the question: Shaquille O’Neal is here. ‘Nuff said.

In addition to the Big Hogan, coach Bobby Knight, NFL star Eddie George, baseball Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith and multitasking All-Star Bo Jackson were in attendance. St. Louis Blues defenseman Barret Jackman and president John Davidson attended. Some Milwaukee Brewers, including fresh-from-surgery announcer Bob Uecker, were at the course for the event, and almost the entire active roster for the Cardinals showed up, not to mention most of the front office and Tony La Russa’s coaching staff.

“It’s an off day,” La Russa said. “I’ll find some way to (monkey-wrench) it up.”

“This,” Pujols said motioning around to the friends, celebrities and those who paid to be a part of the event and referencing what the money goes for, “is more important than the game that I play.”

As part of the event at the Country Club of St. Albans, the golfers and guests are showed a video of the work the Pujols Family Foundation does in the St. Louis area and in the Dominican Republic. Dee Dee Pujols just returned from the Bateys in the Dominican. She and others with the Foundation delivered 80 new mattresses to the people there. Later this year, Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina plan to visit the Bateys to launch a project Pujols has quietly been working on for more than a year — a baseball league.

For awhile, the Foundation had boxes of baseball uniforms, baseball bats and gloves waiting to be delivered to the impoverished communities that the Foundation has unofficially adopted. That equipment was recently delivered and passed out to the children there, and there’s a field almost ready for their use.

“That is…our goal, my goal is to grow (the game), take it to different places,” Pujols said.

Pujols handicapped the scramble that is taking place this afternoon at St. Albans and said the best bet to win is whoever has coach Jose Oquendo. There are some underdogs lurking, though. Kyle Lohse and Adam Wainwright are among the best golfers on the team. But the sleeper pick might be Mark Mulder. The former Cardinals lefty whose career has been stalled — and likely ended — by shoulder trouble has filled his days with golf, appearing in some celebrity tour events and trying to qualify for the U.S. Open.

He’s been in town since Thursday.

He’s golfed each day.


August 16, 2010
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