“PRO” FILES…FEATURED TOURING PROFESSIONAL – LEE TREVINO

Common wisdom today says that if a golfer isn’t a star by the time he graduates from high school, he has little future in the pro game.  Fortunately, that didn’t apply to Lee Trevino, a member of golf’s Hall of Fame.

Trevino started working in the cotton fields of Texas at the age of 5 to help support his family.  A few years later, his uncle gave him an old golf club and some balls, and Trevino practiced wherever and whenever he could.  He eventually took a job caddying at the Dallas Athletic Club, where he had access to the practice areas, often hitting over 300 balls a day.

He joined the Marine Corps at the age of 17, and his golf skill helped him get into games with the officers.  After his discharge, he worked in Dallas and made money hustling on the course.  He later worked as an assistant pro at the El Paso Country Club, where he and tour rookie Raymond Floyd famously engaged in three days of matches, with Trevino winning the first two.  Floyd’s backers abandoned him prior to the third and final match, forcing Floyd to fund himself.  Fortunately for Floyd, he emerged victorious the last day, and later remarked how he couldn’t beat the “cart boy.”

In a true “Tin Cup” scenario, Trevino entered the 1967 US Open at Baltusrol and finished fifth, and he was on his way.  The next year he won the Open at Oak Hill, and from there his Hall of Fame career emerged.  He wound up winning 29 times altogether with 6 major championships, and won the Vardon Trophy for low scoring average five times.  He dominated the Champions Tour in the early 1990s.  He is widely considered one of the greatest ballstrikers in history, a fact confirmed by Dave Pelz, who said that Trevino was the best ballstriker he ever measured statistically.

Trevino is largely retired today, playing only in the annual Legends of Golf in Savannah, Georgia.  He lives in Dallas with his wife, Claudia, and continues to play the game he loves almost every day.

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