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June 25, 2001

Lee Trevino


BOB STEVENS: 1972 GHO winner --

LEE TREVINO: I had black hair. I could swallow all my saliva. A long time ago.

BOB STEVENS: When you won this, you were already -- was this before the Open in '72, before you defended your Open or were you the Open champ in '72?

LEE TREVINO: I had won two Opens by that time, yeah. My first win on TOUR was the U.S. Open. It was Nicklaus' first U.S. Open, I think it was -- and my first tournament that I had won.

BOB STEVENS: And you went here from winning in '72 and went over and won the British.

LEE TREVINO: I won the British Open.

BOB STEVENS: After you had won here that year?

LEE TREVINO: No. I think the GHO was after the British Open. I won the Open in '68 and '71, in a playoff at Merion with Jack and came here and won. The thing I remember most about '72 and winning here is that I won a Cadillac. I didn't care how much money I won, I wanted that car. You don't see very many Mexicans in a Cadillac, you know. (Laughter.) Not in 1972. So, I thought this was great. It was a white Cadillac. I remember sitting there by the 18th green and I won the golf tournament, and I was pretty excited about it, yeah.

BOB STEVENS: Did you keep the car for a while?

LEE TREVINO: I sold it. At the time I had a bunch of junky cars. I had like eight sports cars and pickup trucks. I was living in New Mexico -- I was actually in New Mexico, El Paso, and I had all kind of -- I had a Ford pick-up hotrod and a '68 Mercedes and '66 Lincoln and all of -- I could never get any one of them running. The batteries were all down on them and everything. You've got to have the car jacked up on blocks. I had a lot of them out there.

Q. What do you remember about that week?

LEE TREVINO: Well, my best friend -- I'm sure there was some people that remember Pete. He passed away eight or nine years ago. He had open-heart surgery and he ended up with Hepatitis C from it and lived another seven or eight years. We became very good friends. I remember coming here in 1967 for the first time -- Cheffa (ph) I guess was the pro there at the time and I always liked to play for a few dollars. When I used to go to clubs I used to go in and say , "is the club champion here?" "Does the club champion want to play for money?" And Pete, at the time, I believe at the time was the club champion. We got a match the next day and I talked him into playing three of them. Your two partners they have to be amateurs give me -- inaudible -- and I played Freddie Cash and Creed, I think it was and I played Pete Zackanino (ph) and I beat him. I remember putting out on the 18th green and I looked at Pete and there was a lot of the members up on the hill and I said to Pete, "Pete, you need to start turning all your scores in because you don't have the right handicap." Because he told me he was a scratch. He was a real strong 3 or 4, I thought. But we became very good friends. I used to come up and see him all the time and we'd play a lot of golf together. We played -- we teamed up once and played Port St. Lucie when they had a Pro-Am tour tournament down there. That's the thing I remember most about the GHO. I loved coming back up here because I got to run with the guys, and if you remember correctly, if you are from around here, on a Tuesday night I would play a practice round and then hold court in the grill, and then they would -- after I went to sleep in my seat, they would put me to bed because we would drink a lot of beer. I saw that Budweiser truck come and deliver beer twice a day. We would hold court in that locker room. I loved it.

Q. (Inaudible.)

LEE TREVINO: Yeah. It changed -- I remember going up -- I remember going up to Olympic in San Francisco and playing and I saw where it had changed and I don't remember what particular year that was. But it was in the late 70s or early 80s. I remember I used to smoke and I didn't have any cigarettes. I saw about six or seven guys sitting in the locker room and I said, "anybody got smoke?" They looked at me like -- they don't smoke. I knew that Nicky Price smoked to, so I said to the man -- inaudible, sure enough there was a carton and I started smoking and when I lit it, the six guys got up and left the locker room and I went in there looking for a beer and the cooler was full of orange juice and apple juice and I said, it's time for me to go on. Time for me to move on. All the fun is gone now. We used to have a heck of a lot of fun. No question. We still do.

Q. (Inaudible.)

LEE TREVINO: I thought I had met her at a different time but she's corrected me a hundred times. Her brother was caddying for Mike Hill, and I think Pety was caddying for someone else. It might have been Fred or it might have been-- (inaudible), I'm not sure and Mike Hill was-- (inaudible) and I think Claudia was about 11 years old. She was kind of hanging around with him because Bruce Edwards and all the kids and Peter Larkin was caddying for me and all the group of other guys, Dennis and she was just kind of hanging around and she had long red hair. She was, you know, a little girl. I just became friends with the brothers and the mother. Never with her dad. Her dad at the time had already gone and he was running -- well he passed away in '73, but in '67, when I first came here, her dad was actually running and he was a professional at Goody Park (ph). But I never got to meet him. He was a tall man and then he got ill in 1970 and passed away in '73. I just -- you see him all the time when she was here. We became good friends. She graduated high school and went to college in Boston and lost touch with her. After college she went to work for United Airlines and I was living in Dallas. I was married, and in 1982 I got divorced and just decided to call her. I called Pete to get -- I couldn't remember the name of the street. (Inaudible). So, I called information and we have always said that -- Claudia and I, that it was meant to be because when I called -- she was home and she got laid off from United and she had gotten a job with American Airlines and was coming to Dallas the next day for training there in Dallas. So when she got there, we started dating and then after about ten months, we decided to get married. Now, I was 19 years older and we had discussed all of this before. After being married -- first thing she told me was you've got to ask my mom. This was my third marriage; I had never asked anybody else. And I asked her mom and we kind of had an engagement party. What's the big restaurant down on the Turnpike? Hawthorn's. We rented the upper room and we had a little party up there and I gave her her engagement ring and all of the aunts and cousins and everybody was there. It took us a while to get there because Father Murphy wanted me to go through a whole rendition of what marriage is supposed to be like because he knew that I was kind of suspicious because that was my third marriage. But Claudia wouldn't -- the great thing about Claudia is -- great lady. Done everything in the world for me. The great thing about her is she would not marry me unless I got married in the church. In order to get married, I've had got to get the records. I didn't have my confirmation records. I had to get two annulments. I tell you, that little girl got that yellow pad out and she said, "Where did you get your first marriage?" And it was somewhere in Oklahoma but, hell, I couldn't remember the town. Then Claudia called every town in Oklahoma until she found the record. It took her a good ten months and then, we finally got married on December 20th of '83 and five years after we were married, we decided to have a family. I'm proud to say, I've got a 12-year-old daughter, Olivia and an eight-year-old boy, Daniel. Couldn't be any happier. I'm the only guy in the world that goes to bed without a worry in the world and gets up like a duck: Which lake am I going to swim in today? You know, it's a wonderful life.

Q. (Inaudible.)

LEE TREVINO: To tell you the truth, I've been asked that question, and I've answered it honestly, because I'm a guy that wears his honesty on his shoulder and I will tell you what I feel regardless of what -- I'm like Bill Russell. That's what I enjoyed about Bill Russell. He's always an honest man; he didn't beat around the bush. I'm the same way. First time, believe it or not was actually in the Marine Corps. I was raised mostly in Dallas Texas and I was raised around black people. We caddied at a country club, all of the caddies out there on the Tour, they are all friends of mine. Lee Elder for instance was from Dallas. He didn't move to California until he was about 14 years old. Neil Harvey (ph) which was my first caddy, a buddy of mine when we were kids. I don't know I would have endured that. I don't know. But I've never had any problem with it. I've always kind of been accepted, I guess, I don't know. And I tell you something, I think it probably still goes on as far as Mexican Americans are concerned. But I've never -- I've never witnessed it. I did take the time and the pleasure to read his book, and he wanted to play. I think the thing that upset me more is when he went to Oklahoma and played in Oklahoma -- I remember when they had a guy named Turner down there that used to have a golf tournament and he invited Charlie and he told Charlie, he says: You can play but you can't eat in the dining room. You have to eat in the kitchen with the help. I think Charlie at the time was trying to break through; so he did that. I remember Pete Brown going there and playing. But I've never -- I've never -- I don't understand it. I think it's gotten a hell of a lot better, but I think it still has a long way to go, I really do.

Q. Thoughts on being with a group of past champions?

LEE TREVINO: I had the pleasure of going up last night with Jimmy Rosetta (ph), a very good friend of mine that works for Canon. He asked me, he says, all of my bosses and all of the guys are coming and having a private dinner in downtown Hartford. He says, "Could you come down and say hello to them?" I was beat and I drove back from Boston and I didn't play too good yesterday. I just got home in time to take a shower and I had a wonderful time. Stayed about an hour and a half I guess. I just want to say one thing. We do a lot of outings and I do a lot of corporate stuff and everything, but I don't think of any other golf tournament that's on the schedule that's ever honored us; you understand what I'm saying. I was telling my life last night and I was telling my brother-in-law, Freddie, and actually this morning -- and I said -- I mean, that is a fine gesture. I know they are not going to -- inaudible -- GHO to bring all the these players back. And even though I know it's a different ticket for these people to pay and come and watch us, but it's wonderful for a tournament to remember their fans and remember their supporters and remember the players that supported them for all these years. I think it is wonderful and I think more tournaments should do it, and I think it's really wonderful that you all are doing this. Hopefully you've set a precedent here for other tournaments to do this, but it's wonderful. I don't think there's any possible way that you are going to come out on the -- inaudible -- end of this deal, but it's just wonderful what you're doing. It's a pleasure to be here.

Q. (Inaudible)?

LEE TREVINO: On 18. It's true. I don't remember which day it was, but I remember one year playing Hartford, the guy says: What do you remember most about here. I says, I remember coming up to 18 and three guys were just inebriated. They had been drinking all the way around and one guy went into the Port-A-John and the other two guys turned it over on him. He comes out; he's got paper everywhere and he's chasing these guys, trying to grab them and he's not smelling that good. If that was me I would have run straight over to the 16th lake and jumped in. That was when it was all cow pastures out there. Turned it over on the poor guy.

Q. You're very colorful -- inaudible?

LEE TREVINO: We make up a lot of stuff, you know. (Laughter.)

Q. What's changed --

LEE TREVINO: The only thing that's changed in my mind is they are gauging players but how much money they win and that's wrong. You cannot -- I know Tiger Woods is unbelievable. I mean, I've known Tiger Woods since he was eight years old. He was dedicated. The man is dedicated. He wants only one thing. He wants to win every time he tees the ball up, you understand. Not all of us are like that. We're saying, well I'm not playing well enough to win. We have a doubt and he never has a doubt and that's what makes great champions. But the thing -- don't evaluate him with anyone yet, you understand, unless he has already passed their records. The only way that you can evaluate this thing is there's got to be some way to come up with a point system, and a point system is how many tournaments you play, how many times you make the cut, how much money -- not money, but how many majors you've won. And you've got to set a point system an all those. And you look at how many points Nicklaus has, Trevino, Player, that's how you gauge this guy, how many tournaments he's played. You can't sit there and say, oh my God this guy as won $20 million already; great player. If that is so -- Duval hasn't won a major yet, right? You call him a great player; you can't. You can't call guys great players until you make this point system, and to be a great player, you've got to win a major championship. You've got to get in the heat, baby. You've got to win great championships. I mean, Chicago Cubs, is that a great team? It's a good team. Everybody loves them. There's probably more Chicago Cub fans than anybody else in the world, but you understand, they have not won the World Series. What I'm saying is you've got to come up with a point system and I can't believe -- I cannot sit here and believe that the TOUR has not done that. I can't believe that they have not done that. They come up with this crazy thing about the World Ranking that don't mean a damn thing if you don't play, you can't lose your spot. If you play and don't make the cut, you lose 17 spots. Paul Azinger will tell you he missed a tournament last year because if he played and he didn't finish in the top 10. And so, would he lose his spot on the World Ranking. Well, that's the dumbest thing I've ever heard of. You want to do the world ranking, you've got to did it like tennis. Do it just like the tennis. Come up with a way of doing this in a point system. U.S. Open has so many points, PGA so many, British Open so many. You understand? PGA so many. The other tournaments, everyone has so many. Top-10, so many. And that's how you evaluate these things and this is how many points you have and that's what makes you a great player. That's the whole thing. Mickelson -- I think Mickelson can play. There's no question. Money. Hell of a player. Has not won any of the big ones. Unfortunately, they are evaluated by majors. That's how do you it. Not money. Money didn't have anything to do to with it. Ben Hogan won $240,000 in his entire life, his total, that's what it was 250,000, 260,000 in his career, Ben Hogan. He wasn't a good player, huh? These guys are finishing third or fourth, and I tell you what, they deserve every bit of it because I've always said that golfers were underpaid. If you take the best of the best in baseball and the best and the best in hockey and the best of the best in football, what do they make? Do you understand? I mean, they are making millions and millions and millions, and a golfer has to go out and win his, but that's okay. It's gotten now to where they put it up there to where he can pin something now -- if Tiger Woods was a football or a basketball player and as good as he is, do you think he would get more? What does he win last year in official money, $9 million? Wouldn't touch it. A-Rod gets 27. Tiger Woods is an A-Rod. Tiger Woods, underpaid. He's more underpaid. It's going to get there, yeah.

Q. Arnold is coming in. What's your best memory, what's your best story?

LEE TREVINO: I made a statement once about Arnold Palmer and you meet guys, and you know, you can always tell players, really, how they are. Some players are one way outside in the public and some players are a little bit different inside, you understand. And what I mean by that is they may be Mr. Nice out there, but when they get in here, they really, you know get the juices flowing and tell you exactly how they feel. Palmer is just -- Mr. Palmer is exactly the same way in private life as he is outside. The way he treats people outside, that's the way he treats everybody inside. The only way I ever summed it up and I said it once or twice, you look in the dictionary, and look up the word class and his picture is next to it for definition. I mean, what can you say about the guy? I don't know how he did it. The only man I know that will stop at a red light and if somebody wants an autograph, he will pull over to the shoulder. You know me, I'll say: Keep going. I'm serious, that's what kind of a man he is. I hope my son goes grows up just like him. It's unbelievable. And to watch him play, I tell him a story -- and don't tell Chi Chi because he'll use it. I'm hitting balls on the left of the practice tee -- inaudible -- and Arnold had been playing with Chi Chi Rodriguez and I'm telling the people I said -- I'm watching him hit his tee ball. I would not watch anybody hit a tee ball and I turn and watch him hit a tee ball and it goes right down the fairway. Arnold is what, 72 -- 71. He'll be 72 September 10. His birthday is September 10. And he hits his driver right down the middle of the fairway and I look over at the people and I said: How do you like that? When I get 71, I just hope I can swallow all my saliva. Arnold says, "Don't tell Chi Chi, he's use it forever."

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