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Angels, celebs turn out for Pujols' golf tourney

RANCHO PALOS VERDES, Calif. -- While Albert Pujols may be a nine-time All-Star and three-time National League MVP, the Angels first baseman pulls no punches in describing his golf game.

"I've been playing for the last seven years, and one day, you go and shoot a great round and then the next day, you can't hit a shot," Pujols said. "I still love it and enjoy it, but the game is so humbling and challenging."

Such feelings about the sport still didn't stop him from hosting the 10th annual Albert Pujols Celebrity Golf Tournament on Thursday at Trump National Golf Club. Along with the tournament, a cocktail hour, dinner and awards ceremony and silent auction were a part of the day's festivities.

All of the proceeds from the tournament will benefit the Pujols Family Foundation, an organization that not only provides assistance to children and young adults with Down syndrome in Anaheim and St. Louis, but improves the standard of living and quality of life for impoverished children in the Dominican Republic.

"Over the last month or so, we have been so excited for this event," Pujols said. "We couldn't wait for this day. It has been a great turnout.

"This is one of our biggest events for the year. It really is getting our feet wet in the community and getting to know people. It is really exciting. We are going to do a lot of events and this is one of many that we will do in the next 10 to 20 years out here."

With clear blue skies and views of the Pacific Ocean from nearly every inch of the course, Pujols was joined by his wife, Deidre, and more than 30 celebrities for his first golf event in Southern California.

Jered Weaver, Ervin Santana, Bobby Wilson and Scott Downs highlighted the current Angels who came, with Jim Edmonds, Chuck Finley and Rod Carew among the ex-Angels.

Weaver is known as one of the better golfers on the Angels, but he was nervous on Thursday without having the chance to go to the driving range and warmup.

"My golf game is a little rusty, because the last time I played was in Spring Training," Weaver said. "Hopefully I can loosen up and a find the fairway a few times. These houses better watch out."

Meanwhile, Santana took to the links for the first time without knowing much about the sport. The right-hander rented clubs and bought his golf attire from the pro shop at the course.

"I have never played in my life, but I wanted to support Albert and his foundation," Santana said. "I'm going to play and just go from there."

Pujols was also joined at the event by plenty of big names in Hollywood including Rob Riggle, George Lopez, Joe Mantegna and Cheech Marin.

"It's really cool to see so many different people," Riggle said. "I'm like everyone else, I keep looking around to see who else is here, because a lot of really cool people are here and it is such a great event. It is definitely a worthwhile place to spend an afternoon."

Lopez had been invited by Pujols when he held the tournament in St. Louis, but could never make it. Finally this year, Lopez was able to support Pujols' foundation.

"Albert is a great guy. Golf is a great game that isn't easy, but it brings people together for great causes," Lopez said. "If this were badminton or table tennis, it would be different. If you are helping someone, you are going in the right direction. It is all going to the right place."

Also making sure to talk to donors and sponsors during the event, Pujols believes his role as a baseball player is to take advantage of the platform he's been given.

"It isn't just about hitting home runs and winning World Series titles. I believe that this is part of my responsibility to give back and that's why this event and everything we do is so important," Pujols said. "It is about showing people what we do, and at the end, hopefully everyone has a good time and everyone supports us."

Los Angeles Angels, Albert Pujols