June 27, 2000
LES UNGER: Well, it is a pleasure to have Mr. Trevino back up here where he belongs. Why don't you tell us a little bit about last week. I am sure some of the people here haven't heard all the stories.
LEE TREVINO: I was starting to peak a little bit. I had been working pretty hard at it, because I wasn't playing all that well. But the thing that was holding me back more than anything was the putting. My -- I had to -- did a little work revamp. Not only a left-handed grip, but also I was doing a lot of deceleration with the putter. I was taking the putter too far away from the ball, and I was slowing down at the ball. And the result of that, not only was my body moving as I hit the ball, I was looking up, and I mean I just couldn't make anything. I just shortened the backswing, strengthened the left hand a little bit, then I started making some putts. And like I said, was hitting the ball pretty good. I got a tremendous amount of confidence, and I was at a golf course that I enjoy playing very much. It is not a relatively long golf course. It doesn't take a tremendous amount of strength to play, so I thought that if I putted well there I could compete against the big hitter; and as a result, I ended up winning it. But I am certainly glad to be back here. I remember like yesterday being here - 1992 - I was making trips to the hospital to get cortisone shots for the thumb; I had a ruptured collateral ligament of the left thumb, and I was in dire need of an operation, and I wanted to finish up the Tour because I had won quite a few tournaments in the beginning of 1992, and I was leading the money by quite a bit. And I felt like if I kept playing that, possibly win Player-of-the-Year and the money, which I did eventually. And I kept getting cortisone shots. Also, the USGA and PGA TOUR approved a little brace. You remember that? I used to slip it under the glove. I had a little brace that I slipped under here that relieved the pain quite a bit. And that helped me a little bit. I didn't play extremely well here. I remember making the cut and finishing, but not playing well, because I wasn't at full strength. But man, what a jewel. What a beautiful golf course.
LES UNGER: This morning was your first chance back here?
LEE TREVINO: That was my first chance, and I was very eager to get here. I got here at a quarter to 7:00 because I wanted to look at it. I cannot remember much of it and -- But I am going to tell you something, folks. You are going to find some people who will say it is playing a little soft right now. Soft, not meaning that the ball is not running. USGA has given us wide enough fairways. In other words, they didn't tighten us up all that much, which is great for a bunch of old guys to play. The greens right now are very receptive to golf shots simply because we got a little rain here and there. But if they can control the water, let me tell you, these fairways are not going to be wide enough by the time we get through Sunday, because we have -- they have a way of making the golf course harder. Today we played a practice round. All the flags are probably at the most easiest position you can get to. In other words, they are all in the middle and in front and in the openings. They are going to work those back placements over the bunkers and what have you. I tell you, the rough -- I have never seen rough that is so uniform anywhere else in any other U.S. Open that I have ever played. I mean, it looks like it is four to six inches over there, and it will penalize you if you get into it, but it is mowed absolutely perfect. There is not patches here and there and you are going to get lucky, and one guy is going to have a good lie and the next one isn't. The greens have a terrific speed right now. They felt to me like -- this is an old golf course. You have a lot of pitch from back to front on this golf course. It would be very difficult, I think, to get the stimpmeter up to 10 1/2, because of this undulation. It looks -- I feel like those greens -- probably 9 1/2 out there now, 9. I don't know whether they are going to make them faster or not. But I am sure they will get a little firmer as the week goes on. Certainly looking forward to it.
LES UNGER: Ready for some questions?
LEE TREVINO: Certainly.
Q. At this point in your career, would you give us your assessment of what you want to do in the future; how much you want to play?
LEE TREVINO: I know what I want to do.
Q. What do you want to do?
LEE TREVINO: 14 tournaments next year, yeah. That is all. For the exception of where I won last week, which I will be defending, I will probably play 14, maybe 15 tournaments. I will probably play everywhere where there is a double-dip, naturally, a super senior event, and that will be basically it. My schedule has been that way. My contracts ran out last year, and I did not renew two of them, which was Motorola and Cadillac. My Top-Flite contract runs out in October of this year. And I don't think there is going to be any problems at all in renewing that particular one, if they will take 14 tournaments or 12 tournaments. I don't know whether they will do that or not. I am sure that my manager has been negotiating with them because they want me to stay. But my plans are to play 14 tournaments next year, maybe 15. That will be it. I know exactly what I am doing, yeah. This win didn't -- if you are trying to tell me that this win is going to make me -- going to make me use Grecian Formula and get my hair black again and play 27 tournaments, it is not going to do that. No. That is it for me.
Q. That's really not what I meant. What I was wondering, at your age, given all the things that you have accomplished, going back to St. Andrews in a couple of weeks, just get your reflection on your career, what you think about it now, and your assessment of it. Or do you actually assess things?
LEE TREVINO: No. I don't assess anything. It is an -- as a matter of fact, I just threw away all, for the exception of my crystal trophies, I chopped them up and threw them all away. I don't have any place to put them. I didn't want anybody else to have them. I don't dwell on anything of the past, no. I know I won those golf tournaments, and I thank God, and I thank the game, and I thank the people that put these events on each and every day, because -- thank God I took this game up and I made a hell of a lot of money from it. I am sitting here now simply because a lot of people worked, in other words, to keep this game alive for me to play. But as far as thinking and putting everything into perspective, I am the luckiest guy in the world. There is no question about that. But if I am going to think about, you know, something I won in the past or -- no, not me. I mean I look forward. I don't think any -- that water is gone. It is like water under the bridge, man. When it goes under there, it is gone. It ain't coming back unless you are pumping it on the other side. Now, if you got a pump on the other side, it keeps going in a circle. It is a different story. But, no, I love life. I am happy. Got a great wife, two great kids, and I am having a hell of a time, I am telling you.
Q. Buck, Pennsylvania has been awfully good to you. I was with you when you won your United States Open, the first big one right in this state.
LEE TREVINO: New Jersey has been good to me too. New York has been good to me. I am thinking about moving up here. But I don't know if they want any Mexicans up here now.
Q. If you won here, you will be eligible for the United States Open next year.
LEE TREVINO: Yes.
Q. You play that, you'd add a 15th then?
LEE TREVINO: I would play it only because it is a honor for them to give the seniors champion a spot in that. I would not be -- I would not want to be the one that did not play it if I won the Senior Open and then they took that exemption away from the Senior Tour player and then Nicklaus comes the following year and wins it -- in other words, that exemption is not there. But I would honor that. As far as playing in the U.S. Open, no. Too damn tough for me, and those guys are too good. But I would only do it because of honoring the invitation. I would do that, yes.
Q. You have seen Tiger Woods play?
LEE TREVINO: Yes.
Q. Your thoughts.
LEE TREVINO: I said a long time ago when I watched him, when I watched him win that last Amateur Championship at the Sawgrass. And I watched him in those trees coming down the stretch and working that ball out of those trees, putting that ball on the green, and doing the things that he was doing. I knew right then that he was way advanced. He was doing stuff with the golf ball that you don't do at the age of 18 and 19 years old, or at 24 now. The one thing that Tiger Woods has, in my opinion, is that not only does he have all the golf shots, but he is not afraid to try them when the shot calls for it, regardless of the circumstances. We, most professionals, when they are coming down the stretch and they need a particular shot to get into the green to win a golf tournament, they will hit a shot that they rely on the most, which is their favorite golf shot. Tiger won't do that. Tiger will hit the shot that he has to hit or that the shot calls for, regardless of if the pin is back, front, left, or right, or whichever way the wind blows. He is going to play that type of shot. It is amazing. I know it sounds like Rush Limbaugh, but you know because in my opinion Rush Limbaugh is -- is a Monday-Monday quarterback. All he talks about is what happened yesterday and the day before. If you ever watched his show, he doesn't know what the hell is going on today or tomorrow. It is always yesterday. I don't want to sound like him, but I predicted the Wednesday before that tournament that Tiger would win by a dozen. The reason I know this, because I was talking to a bookmaker in San Antonio because it was 4 to 1 and you got the field -- a lot of people spent some money, boy, because they bet against him. But he is unbelievable. I have never seen anything like it. He has won 12 out of the last 21 tournaments. How you are going to beat him? Now, that is the other question is: Howw do you beat a guy like that I will tell you when you take a guy that is stronger than you are, that probably has more talent than you, and works through times harder than you, you got no shot. You got no shot at a guy like that. If this guy wasn't stronger than you, you'd have a shot. If he didn't have more talent, then you you'd have a shot. If he didn't work hard, you'd have a shot. But if those three items -- he does all three of them, you can't get near him. You can't get near him. I made a prediction last week that I could beat him if there was a law that you had to hit the shot within ten seconds. I can beat him.
LES UNGER: Have you ever played with him?
LEE TREVINO: I have not played with him. But when I was with Toyota back in the 60s, we had a big Toyota tournament that we sponsored down in Orange County in L.A., and I was the guy that gave him a trophy. Every year, I watched him go from 8 years old right on up. He had just absolutely dominated Junior Golf in Southern California. I mean, he has got me watching it. You know, we don't watch golf much on television.
LES UNGER: If you are not playing, you won't turn it on.
LEE TREVINO: I don't watch TV. In other words, golf, no. We don't -- I mean, I don't do that. I will watch a football game. I will watch something. But, no, we very seldom ever watch golf. When Tiger Woods is in contention, I am glued to the television, and so are millions of others. I am not the only one. The man is unbelievable, what he has done. Television should have to pay him. CBS should give him -- and NBC should give him a deal. Remember Jordan, he moved that needle when he was on television. It's amazing. Amazing.
Q. How does he compare to Nicklaus when you were playing Nicklaus in his prime?
LEE TREVINO: I have never played with him. I wouldn't know. I have never played with Tiger Woods. If you look at the records, I don't know the records yet -- I mean, the jury is still out. If the young man wins, if he wins across that pond next month, he is right on the money with Jack, if I am not mistaken. The jury is out. You can't -- you got to wait for a while yet. I hope you and I are alive to see that, but I would like to be alive, yeah. But to see it. But the jury is still out. Believe me, Nicklaus is still the best I have ever seen. I know this young man is good, and he is going to be one -- one great player when he finishes. But I wouldn't put him in Jack's category just yet, no.
Q. It is a matter of time right now?
LEE TREVINO: Time. It takes time. See, I have always wanted to -- I have always -- my opinion is -- I suggested many times or many years ago, is forget this money thing. I mean, he has won $16 million, $17 million. Somebody's got to come up with a way of -- You better turn that air conditioning on. These people are going to die. What is going to happen here is you are going to have to evaluate players by a point system, not by the money. There is too much things about money -- Hogan had $248,000 in his lifetime. He can't do that. What you need to do, somebody has got to come up with a way of rating these players by points, Top-10s, wins, major wins, and then you see, in other words, where everybody is at. Yeah, I am sure someone has already done that. I have never read it in the paper -- not your paper I have ever read it in. I think it would be great. Then you could see how close Tiger is getting to Jack Nicklaus. Then there is no question, you understand about how great he is and how great Jack Nicklaus is. Put it in a point system.
Q. People tend do that with majors in that regard; he is on a course to surpass Jack's majors....
LEE TREVINO: That is fine. Let's wait until he does that. That is fine. I don't have any qualms with that. What we need to do, we need to take these majors -- see you are comparing him to the greatest player in the world. Now, you can't do that now because if we had a point system, he wouldn't be near him. You understand what I am saying? We don't want to do that. We have got to do it on a point system. He has already won 20 or 21 tournaments and I am going to tell you then you just keep -- he is probably passed me pretty close -- no, he hasn't passed me yet, but he will. No, probably has passed me if you give him the three -- got to give him the three amateurs. He has got six -- I had 27 wins, he is right behind me. Yeah, he is going to pass me. That is fine. You can't judge this guy because -- you can't do that. No. We need to get a point system on this thing. That way you can see how great all these guys are. And the ones that are not so great that you are calling great. And hand it to the guys doing the announcing in the booths when they talk about these great players, some great player walking down that fairway, yeah, look at this thing, that is how you can tell if the guy is a great player or not.
Q. You mentioned that Tiger works three times as hard as the other guys on Tour. Why do you think that is and do you --
LEE TREVINO: He is dedicated.
Q. Do you see the other guys dedicate themselves --
LEE TREVINO: He is dedicated. I mean, that statement that he made at the USGA said everything when they asked him if he was scared of anything. Remember what he said? He said: Marriage and kids. That is what he said. I didn't say that. He said that. He is dedicated. I guarantee you if you ask Tiger Woods when he entered the golf tournament what the prize money is, he couldn't tell you. He couldn't care. I told you many times before, Sunday when I finished was the greatest time of my life, when I did have a good time -- when I made the last putt, no - I won - when they gave me the trophy on 18? No, that wasn't it. When I walked into the locker room after all this hoopla, the presentation, the press, the TV, the radio, and there wasn't a damn soul in the locker room, I knew I had won. You see, because everybody was gone and that was great. Right. I got three O'Douls and some sushi and went back to the room, that was it. That was my celebration. But that is what he likes. That is what drives him.
Q. But the other players, why do you think they don't work as hard as him and do you think that they will dedicate themselves even more to try to --
LEE TREVINO: Only one that I saw over there that really was dedicating himself - Cupcakes has got all the talent in the world, but you know that Couples, Cupcakes - (laughs) - a lot of talent there. Duval was the only one that went after it and he fell short at Augusta and he trained like -- he trained like, I mean like Holyfield for Augusta and he fell short. I don't know how he feels about it now, you understand, after that. But Duval looked to me like he was dedicated and he fell a little bit short. I didn't know about the other players. A lot of the other players have families, you know what I am saying, and they have their religion, they have something else to do. They go fishing, they do this, they do that. Tiger, will go fishing only if he has time, but he puts first things first. And I don't know this for a fact, but they tell me that he gets up early in the morning and he does, what, about an hour to hour and a half cardio, I mean, with the stairs and the treadmill, and then he will do an hour of weights, and then he will go out and chip for three hours, I mean, this is dedication, man. Dedication. I mean, a guy last week told me in the pressroom, he said, why does he have to do that as good as he is. I said, let me tell you something, ask a marathon runner that runs 26 miles why he runs everyday, because he doesn't want to run 18 miles and run out of gas. He wants to make sure he knows he can make it all the way. It is the same thing with what he is doing. It's a little bit of what everybody else is doing but he spends three times longer than everybody else. He is dedicated. That is what he wants. My hat is off to him. I am just -- because I know how hard I worked, but I didn't have the tools that he has. He has got power; he has got height; arc; he has got the swing; the technique, you know, I did it completely with a golf swing that wasn't a mod -- didn't practice any harder than I did. He lifted weights; I drank beer. That was the only difference. That is why my right forearm is so big, see this. That is the truth, but he didn't hit any more balls than I did. He might have been sober when he hit them, but I hit just as many. I hit just as many as he did.
Q. After this morning's round, where do you think this tournament -- any particular holes that are going to make a difference?
LEE TREVINO: Well, I will tell you, this golf course here, is absolutely beautiful, as I said. It is not -- you have got to really watch that 11th hole. That 11th hole will bite you real quick, that par 3. It is amazing. It does not look like that thing is that much uphill. And I tell you one thing, I had to stop and rest a couple times just walking up to this thing. The next hole is a par 5 which is almost 600 yards long. And that hole there is -- you are going to see a lot of bogeys on that hole simply because of -- it is a blind tee shot, you can't actually see where the fairway is at and if you miss that fairway, I don't know if you are going to be able to lay up far enough down there to get this ball on the green in 3. I did that today. But I tell you Irwin is going to be tough as nails here. He is going to be tough because this golf course -- you are going to have to hit the ball straight. I don't think anyone drives it as straight -- I do drive the ball straight, but he hits it longer than I do, and extremely straight. I tell who you is hitting ball very well. J.C. Snead. I am pretty good when I pick players. I remember picking Orville Moody in Houston. I was defending champion. I walked in, they asked me in a press conference like this, the guy said, well, who do you pick? I said, Orville Moody. Guy said: Orville who? I said, Orville Moody. They said, you got to be joking. He ended up winning, beating, what, Rosberg and Beman by a shot in that tournament at the Champions and won that golf tournament. But I tell you J.C. is hitting the ball awfully straight and he is long and strong, but his putting stroke is a highly suspect thing and he has got his hands on the putter wrong. He has got it under here and got it back on top now to where he can hit the ball square. But they got some guys -- Watson, if he can hit it, Watson can -- depends on how Watson is putting. That is the whole thing with Watson. He, in my opinion, is the best ball-striker out here. It doesn't look to me like he is 50 the way he -- very agile, hits it long, but he will be the one to tell you whether he is putting any good or not. That is the thing.
Q. How is Jack Nicklaus game? Have you played with him?
LEE TREVINO: I haven't played with him.
Q. You know much about Kite?
LEE TREVINO: I know that Kite is -- depends on that putter with him too. You can't win a US Open without putting well. You understand -- no one has ever won the U.S. Open with a yip. Because you are not going to hit all these fairways and when you don't hit all these fairways, you are not going to hit all the greens. And you are going to have to lay up in front and wedge the ball up on the green and you are going to have to make some crucial putts somewhere down the line. You are going to have to make some putts. So Kite, sure, got all the tools in the world but how is he putting, I don't know. I haven't played with Kite yet since he has been out here.
Q. What about your chances?
LEE TREVINO: Listen, I am going fishing tomorrow. I already played one practice round -- where is my lake, man? I got my little boy here. He had that pole out last night in the room. He said: Dad, look at here, put it all together. He is hitting lamps. I said, man, put this pole down, we are going fishing, yeah.
Q. Assessment on the SENIOR TOUR? I know they have signed a new contract which is rather unique with TV?
LEE TREVINO: God, I don't even know anything. I know nothing about this television -- CNBC?
LEE TREVINO: I don't know anything about that. You know at 60 going on 61, and playing for ten years on the SENIOR TOUR, and trying to get some things done, nobody listens, so I just kind of just play now. I just play and leave it alone, that is all. I think it is best that way. They are going to do whatever they want to and I have suggested stuff to them for ten years and they -- so I just -- my wife says, man, you got the ticket. How much have you won, 13 million dollars? She says, you are exempt until you fall over your beard at 95. She says: So just give them your ticket; let them clip it and keep your mouth shut. And that is what I have done. If they have ever want to come to me and agree to do what I tell them, it will be great, yeah. But they won't listen to me. I am not getting into it with them now. I quit asking them to do things. I just go play and go home. That is all.
Q. Talk about your schedule for the next few weeks? Are you going to play in the TPC in Princeton?
LEE TREVINO: I am not playing in it.
Q. British Open?
LEE TREVINO: Yes, I am -- I am going a week early to the British Open. After Baltimore next week, I am playing Baltimore next week; then from there I am doing an outing in Philadelphia on Monday and then Wednesday I am going to Gleneagles, I am taking my little boy fishing and playing golf. He is 7 and we are going to go play that par 3 course around the hotel at Gleneagles for a week. Then we are going to British Open on Sunday evening and we will play a couple of practice rounds and then do that champions thing on 1, 2, 17 and 18. Go to the dinner, take the picture, then I am going to look at the course see how tough it is. If it's too tough, I am going to get my spot as first alternate. I am going to watch them because there is no reason for me to go out there - humiliate myself and keep a spot from some young guy, you know what I am saying, that would want to play. But I will not play, if they done something crazy to that golf course because I have played in it many times, if they left it alone I can bump and run with the best still. I can still bump-and-run the ball. But if I go there and they have done some crazy -- put rough in the middle of the fairways, no, I am gone. I will look for balls. I will go out late in the evenings and -- look, my little boy and I will go look for balls or something. Because I have already paid up seven days at the Old Course Hotel. That is not cheap, I want to tell you. They got my money.
LES UNGER: We appreciate it.
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