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'Big Daddy' gives back at golf outing

Left to right: Hugh Douglas, Rich "Big Daddy"

Left to right: Hugh Douglas, Rich "Big Daddy" Salgado, Gary Sheffield and Michael Strahan are seen at the 1st Annual Big Daddy Celebrity Golf Classic at Oheka Castle. (June 25, 2012) Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Despite threatening skies overhead and thunderclaps off in the distance, celebrities such as Michael Strahan, Mike Tyson and Gary Sheffield ventured to Long Island for a worthy cause.

And they did it because "Big Daddy'' had asked them to.

Rich Salgado, a client to the stars and founder of the Coastal Advisors insurance agency, held his inaugural "Big Daddy Celebrity Golf Classic'' at Oheka Castle in Huntington Monday afternoon to raise money for North Shore Long Island Jewish Medical Center's Brain Aneurysm Center.

Salgado, affectionately known as "Big Daddy,'' was diagnosed with a brain aneurysm in 2008 by North Shore LIJ neurosurgeon David Chalif and underwent open brain surgery that same year. And now that he's cured, according to Chalif, Salgado is intent on giving back -- now and in the future.

"This is the first one, hopefully, of many to come,'' said Salgado, who grew up in New Hyde Park and now lives in Franklin Square. "And maybe long after I'm gone, it'll keep going. I just felt I owed it to the hospital. I owed it to the county.''

Mother Nature almost put a damper on the golf outing, with downpours temporarily flooding the course. But after a few hours of nervous scrambling by event coordinators, the course was open by the afternoon.

Before the course was re-opened, Strahan said, "I came all the way out here, got my clubs. I hit a few balls yesterday. Got my handicap down -- at least I lied and got it down. So I'm hoping something good happens.''

The guest list included former Jets coach Eric Mangini, NBA guard Jason Kidd, former NFL defensive back Ronnie Lott and former boxing champ Bernard Hopkins. The event also featured a silent auction and a BBQ pit from Long Island's Famous Dave's.

"It's gratifying and satisfying,'' Salgado said of the support he received Monday from his clients.

Proceeds from the golf outing will be used to support the clinical and research programs at the hospital's Brain Aneurysm Center.

"He's been a great supporter of mine and our program,'' said Chalif, who called himself the "quarterback'' of Salgado's team of doctors at North Shore. "He wanted to give back. And we really appreciate it.''

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