The Lee Trevino Experience up close? Here’s what that’s like

Lee Trevino on the first tee before he teed off during the Friday pro-am as a preview for the PNC Championship

A professional-am spherical with Lee Trevino has a bit of little bit of every thing.

Getty Pictures

ORLANDO — With a heat wind whipping by the PNC Championship this week, listening in on gamers’ conversations is a problem. However as followers at Ritz-Carlton Golf Membership lean in over the ropes, hoping to listen to a morsel of one thing — something — from the golf legends within the area, one voice cuts by the gusts: Lee Trevino’s. 

If most individuals hover at an working quantity of 6 out of 10, Trevino cruises at a 9. You’ll be able to hear him from the inexperienced when he’s teeing off on a par 3. You’ll be able to hear him from the following fairway over, barking at Charlie Woods. That is a part of the take care of the Merry Mex or Supermex, whichever of his nicknames you like. When Trevino is on a golf course, Trevino is on, interval. He’s flamboyant, energetic, endlessly entertaining and…one way or the other additionally spry. The definition of 84 years younger

Golf’s best showman arrived on the tenth tee throughout Friday’s pro-am by docking his cart inches from the tee field markers, hopping out and telling 100 or so spectators, Don’t fear, it’s okay — Arnold Palmer used to park between the markers. Trevino’s parking job was way more respectable. 

When Trevino striped a drive, he posed in silence, watching it, holding for impact, then saying, “Individuals take holidays which are shorter than that!”

Stroll with Trevino and also you’ll study the person has a line for…every thing.

“Can we get an image?” is met with “I don’t have any!” He has performed in hundreds of pro-ams like this one. However like every nice entertainer, you’re feeling like what he’s saying is to you is the primary time he’s mentioned it. Strolling off the tenth inexperienced, Trevino had his workforce in stitches with, “I can’t wait to rise up within the morning to listen to what I’ve to say.” That’s certainly one of his go-tos.

“He’s a strolling joke machine,” mentioned James Saulez, one of many amateurs taking part in alongside. “You simply crank him and he goes.”

Saulez wasn’t unsuitable. Trevino is sort of a wind-up toy, spinning round from cart to inexperienced to tee. There isn’t sufficient house on this web site to incorporate each quip, however simply know if his strains are good enough to get Tiger, Rory and Jack howling, they’ll be ok for you. Fortunately for the pro-am individuals, who pay good cash for these tee occasions, comedy is simply half of the Trevino Present. The opposite half is a taking part in lesson from a {golfing} wizard. 

On Friday, Trevino performed from tee containers forward of the amateurs in his group, which, for contemporary execs can be an apparent signal to their beginner companions to thoughts their very own enterprise. However there Trevino was, backing off his companions for a fast tip on almost each gap.


lee trevino laughs on the golf course

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Josh Berhow



“Are you killing the fly or catching the fly?” he mentioned to a bunch standing by the eleventh tee. “Golf is about catching the fly.”

He had our consideration. 

He meant in case your golf ball was a fly on a desk, you wouldn’t wish to kill it, as many amateurs are inclined to do. Fairly, you’d attempt to sweep your hand (or golf membership) and catch the fly. Trevino put his first pupil by a radical swing train, holding up the whole group, slowing down the tempo of play. The payoff? A smashed tee ball that cut up the green. Trevino bat-flipped his driver to the facet, saying, “Gimme 5, goddammit. Higher but gimme a hug.” How might you not run into these outstretched arms? 

Trevino is the oldest participant within the area this week by 18 years, and he’s not shy about his age. The one different competitor taking part in from his tees is Annika Sorenstam’s 12-year-old son, Will McGee. From 5,500 yards, Trevino figures he and his son Daniel can contend if he putts effectively. That a lot was clear Friday afternoon. The par-3 seventeenth gap measured simply 109 yards for the elder Trevino. Nothing greater than a niche wedge, pitching wedge at most, his caddie thought. Trevino thought in any other case, electing for a back-of-his-stance, abbreviated 9-iron— the sort of shot solely a golfer’s golfer would think about. The ball flew low and drew barely into the crosswind, bounding wanting the inexperienced however then rolling on to it, stopping about 30 ft from the pin. The most effective of the group by far.

“Yeah, that’s a trick shot,” Trevino mentioned after the had applause died down. As soon as once more, he was speaking to his caddie however loudly sufficient for anybody inside 50 ft to listen to.

“I instructed my son Daniel once I was working with him one time, chipping. I mentioned, ‘Pay attention, I need you to go by the 7-Eleven and get a field of cereal. Get a field of cereal known as Trix.’ I mentioned, ‘I need you to empty the field and depend ’em. No matter quantity you give you, that’s what number of methods I obtained. In the case of hitting that ball, that’s what number of methods I obtained.’”

For newcomers to the Trevino Expertise, it could take some time to tire of this present. Trevino isn’t in entrance of cameras or journalists usually, however each time he’s it feels there’s a narrative to inform. Of late, he’s been on a little bit of podcast tour, sharing hours of tales with No Laying Up and GOLF’s Subpar. Even after indexing all that banter, although, one way or the other the in-person Trevino by no means feels drained. Spectators reached over the ropes to inform the amateurs how fortunate they have been, with one suggesting, “You must need to pay double to play with him.”

After Trevino’s spherical, I chased him all the way down to ask what he will get out of it, understanding that the pro-am train is commonly a one-way road of giving way more than receiving.

“I get pleasure from being round individuals, and once I’m round individuals I wish to entertain them,” he mentioned.

“You’re actually good at it,” I mentioned. 

“Yeah, that’s why I get the massive bucks once I do the dinners,” he mentioned with a chuckle. 

With that, he was off to lunch. 

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