Legendary golfer Lee Trevino speaks at the Texas Sports Hall of Fame luncheon in Waco
By Gio Gennero | sports editor
“I don’t pay much attention to it,” Lee Trevino said. “The good Lord knows the talent he gave me. That’s why I worked so hard, because I’m going to have to meet him one day, and I don’t want him to be disappointed. I want him to look at me and say, ‘You know what, you don’t belong here man; Go slowly.'”
Trevino, often considered one of the greatest golfers of all time, stopped by the Texas Sports Hall of Fame speak at the Lone Star Luncheon on Wednesday afternoon. The Hall of fame won six major championships and was named PGA Player of the Year in 1971.
Before turning professional, Trevino was known as a “municipal golf course hustler” because he constantly made and won bets against other golfers around the course. Trevino easily sent opponents down the par three course they were playing and even had to get creative to keep players betting with him.
“I was so good with a corner, it got to the point where nobody would play with me,” Trevino said. “So I found this 32 ounce bottle of Dr Pepper and I put duct tape on it. I could punch [the ball] 100 meters. I could actually put the ball in backspin… The best I ever shot was 29, 2-over. I’ve played with it for four years and never been beaten.
This did not go unnoticed and even landed him a lucrative opportunity.
“It was the first endorsement I ever got,” Trevino said. “Dr Pepper paid me $50,000 a year for five years. We did the advertising and all.”
Trevino said he didn’t start golfing until he was around 22, and his iconic career might never have happened if he hadn’t gotten into trouble at 16 . He ended up in the Marine Corps, and after three years of service, a mistake was made. When Trevino received incorrect orders, he went to his captain and, after a conversation, he was asked a simple question.
Do you practice a sport?
Trevino said he told his captain he knew a little about golf. His captain quickly called another lieutenant to see if they needed golfers, and that’s where Trevino was sent.
“I found myself on this team for two years,” Trevino said. “That’s all I’ve done in the Marine Corps for the last two years is play golf. I’ve gotten pretty good at it.
Looking back, Trevino said he was happy with how things turned out for him. Soon to be 83, he jokingly told the audience that if he fell off the stage, bury him right there.
“It’s been a really great life,” Trevino said. “The game I played and the way I played it – it wasn’t supposed to happen.”