Belen Mozo, the 24-year-old LPGA Tour player who grew up in Spain, played at University of Southern California and now lives in South Florida, was playing golf at the Medalist Club with a few of her PGA friends when a Twitter post caught her eye.
“Someone had sent me the most beautiful video I ever got in my life,” Mozo said on Monday from Mobile, Ala. site of this week’s Mobile Bay LPGA Classic.
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The video was from a senior at Beardon High School in Knoxville, Tenn. named Alex Notte who has a neurological development condition. Set to the tune “Call me Maybe,” Notte, through sign language and closed captioning, asked Mozo to attend his senior prom.
Although Mozo didn’t recognize him immediately, she was later reminded that she had met Alex and his parents at the Wegman’s LPGA Championship in Rochester, NY, where she conducted a junior clinic and interacted with many of the fans.
“I always like to offer myself when I have some free times, spend time with kids and introduce them to golf,” she said on Monday. “I don’t remember making a huge impression on (Alex), but apparently he started playing golf after he met me. When I found out that he was the Alex that I had met — and at the time I spoke to his parents about the Special Olympics — then it was definitely a done deal.”
Mozo, a four-time All-American at USC who’s now in her third pro season, called her agent from the fairway of the Medalist Club and told him to make the date.
This past Saturday, Mozo followed through.
“It was cool for me to go outside my comfort zone,” she said. “My agent and I flew from Palm Beach to Knoxville. I spent the whole day (Saturday) with Alex. We played golf and then met up for dinner and went to the prom. It was a very emotional time.”
She wore a sequined teal dress and the couple rode away from the Notte home in a 1959 Rolls Royce Sliver Cloud provided by a local luxury car service.
“I have to thank all the movies that come out, because that was where I had all my expectations for what a prom should be,” said Mozo, who ranks 60th on the LPGA Tour earnings list this year with $46,633.
High school proms don’t exist in Spain, so this was her first experience.
“Of course, the prom king was the cutest guy in school, the quarterback of the football team, and you could see the school dividing up in groups,” she said. “They played cheesy songs, and the boys were asking their teachers to dance. It was really fun. Alex was grabbing me and introducing me to his friends. We both had a great time.”
Alex’s mother, Kristine Notte, told The Knoxville News Sentinel: “This young woman took time out of her very busy schedule to help Alex have such a wonderful experience. Sometimes, we want our children to be in the community just like a typical child — and Belen has opened that door for us.”
But Mozo wants none of the credit. Fighting back emotions when recalling the weekend, she said, “There is something about that kid that makes you feel very good being around him. He is very close to God, and you feel blessed. It was an emotional and spiritual day.”
The attention worries her, though. Mozo is concerned that people might view this as a publicity stunt.
“I did not do this so anyone would know,” she said, her Spanish accent getting thicker as she fought to find the right words. “People are saying how lucky Alex is and how I made his day or changed his life,” she said.
“But that is not true. I am the lucky one. Alex has a fan for life.”