Handicapped amateur golfer becomes ambassador for the game



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Posted on May 23, 2012 at 5:06 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 23 at 5:34 PM

FORT WORTH - PGA golfer Jim Fuyrk played a practice round with Manuel De Los Santos at Shady Oaks Country Club.

Who is Manuel De Los Santos you might ask?

He's a 28-year-old golfer who lost his left leg during a motorcycle accident in the Dominican Republic eight years ago.

Despite having just one leg, he plays golf better than most amateurs.

"Jim Fuyrk I see on TV, and now [we] play 18 holes together, we're friends and my problem, I forget," De Los Santos said. "I don't [want] people to forget the life, there is only one life. For all of us, we have difficulties. It's not easy, the life."

When De Los Santos lost his leg, he was a promising young baseball player. He said the movie "The Legend of Bagger Vance" changed his life.

"This [movie] opened my eyes, and I said to my wife, 'I do this. I want to do this,'" he said.

"He's always smiling," Furyk said. "He's looking at the positive side of life. That's the type of person you want. He's got an inspiring story, a great attitude on life. He's a heck of golfer as well."

"I think where his inspirement comes from is his outlook," said Nick Raffaele, VP for global sports marketing for Callaway. "It's the old adage: when life gives you lemon, make lemonade. Well when you sit and talk to him, you've got some pretty sweet lemonade."

De Los Santos does motivation appearances for Callaway golf. When you see him swing, you understand why.

"Everybody has a problem, but the problem becomes bigger when you think," De Los Santos said.

De Los Santos carries an amazing three handicap and will play in the Crowne Plaza Invitational Pro-Am on Wednesday. He will no doubt turn some heads.

E-mail griba@wfaa.com