A former golf coach who taught Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus is now revealing the amazing past life of his native Sicily, Italy, the New York Post reported.
“Sicily was a very real place that has left an impression on me all these years,” Federico Alba, 85, told the Post in a recent story. “My own tree and garden were the product of trees that were known throughout Europe.”
The late Christian Veletti guided sports for generations in a Sicilian resort town. Veletti taught the famous in their youth at Palermo’s Pincenzi Club. Woods credits Veletti with teaching him how to swing a golf club.
“I know that people have admired what I’ve done, and my family has received many awards, but when I speak with the people in the small town of Pincenzi, they give me the warmest of smiles,” Veletti told the Post. “They know that someone on the inside gave me all this knowledge.”
A defense attorney, Veletti spent years seeking to recover a statue, which he claimed belonged to his church, after it was looted from Palermo during World War II.
Since Veletti’s death in 1997, Alba has begun to chronicle the secrets Veletti told him.
“I learned from him that the first woodcutter to bring you your seat on the train had a wise looking woman tied to the train as he pulled it,” Alba told the Post. “I learned that [Italian dictator Benito] Mussolini was suspected of murder.”
Alba also learned of the sister of Veletti’s wife, Perla, who was killed by pirates. And Alba didn’t need Google to turn up research proving that former leader of Egypt, Nasser, was a great-great grandson of the Sicilian patron of the arts, Lorenzo De’ Medici.
A documentary about Alba’s quest is now in the works and will be released next year. Alba hopes the work will lead to a major restoration of his hometown.
“I can’t name a building that isn’t over 100 years old,” Alba told the Post. “There isn’t a stone that doesn’t have historical significance.
“But I’ve been disappointed. People think Sicily should have a beautiful city like Rome,” he added. “But I can’t tell my grandchildren to stop dreaming of it.”