June 29, 1994
LES UNGER: What was it like out there today?
LEE TREVINO: I tell you, it was a pleasure. It is absolutely in the best condition, I think, I have ever seen any course in this area. I don't know how long they close the golf course to get it prepared, but I am sure that they have had it closed probably for a couple of three weeks, probably. It is very fair. The greens are, in my opinion, are fabulous; bent grass. I don't know if I have played this course with bent grass before. What, 19 years ago, I think, they were Bermuda, if I am not mistaken. Maybe not, maybe they were bent; then they converted them to Bermuda and then they went back to bent again. The rough I hit -- probably could be a little problem in spots. But it is fair, very fair. You can advance the ball, in other words, quite aways out of the rough. Nothing like what they had at Oakmont or -- yeah, Oakmont. The fairways have more grass on them than I have ever seen. It is literally impossible to get a bad lie on the fairway. If they let you touch the ball and tee it up with your hand, I don't think you can do any better. I mean, they are just absolutely fabulous. And, I think, because of that, if anything, it is going to make the course maybe play a little bit longer. I know we have had a lot of rain, that has probably lengthened the course out a little bit. But they have a lot of grass on it, a lot of grass on them.
LES UNGER: Questions.
Q. Fairways are wide for an Open course?
LEE TREVINO: I don't think they are any wider than they were at Cherry Hills. Cherry Hills-- you have to understand one thing, that fairways do get wider, Bob, when they get -- when they have a lot of grass on them and they are wet because if you hit a fade it will hold; if you hit a hook it will hold. When you get a hard fairway, even though it may be 30 yards, 28 yards wide and you get the ball going a little off line, it will run into the rough. Cherry Hills, in my opinion, the fairways were wide, but they were hard and the ball was running off the fairway. I don't think that they are that wide. You have to understand one thing here, that Pinehurst lives on the what we call Turtle Back greens. These greens may be 2,500, 2000 square feet, I don't know, but once you get on that green and you look at it, you can almost take a third away from that green that -- in other words, if you hit that green a little to the right, a little to the left, a little short, the ball is coming off the green. So the guy that wins here, in my opinion, is going to be the individual that can shoot away from flags, that can actually shoot at plateaus, almost like Augusta -- what they do at Augusta. The guy that comes to mind better than anyone I know that can do that is Nicklaus. Nicklaus can pick a target on a green and shoot it too. I haven't been able to do it. I may be aiming away from the flag, but my hands start working towards the flag when I come through. I mean, I can't seem to shoot away. And what they are going to do here is, we are going -- they are going to put flags left front, right front, right back, left back. And you are going to have to go to the long side of the flag and try to stay on that side, in other words. Because if you have looked at these greens, there is a lot of spots that you can hit the ball 15 feet on the green and then it will catch the hill and go off to the green. So, you are going to have to be very careful about going after the flags here. You are going to have to shoot to the plateaus. And if it stays wet, it stays overcast, cloudy and we get anymore rain, I don't think the golf course is going to show its teeth, to tell you the truth. I think somebody will shoot it pretty well because now the ball is stopping and then you can pinpoint your shots a little bit better when the ball is stopping. If it doesn't rain anymore, the sun comes out, and then they get these greens a little bit on the firm side, yeah, clean, through, like I said, not much rough, and the fairways are very forgiving; they are pretty wide. But it is going to be tough, you know, on the greens because of the contour of the turtle back on the greens, yeah.
Q. Do you think we can see record low scores?
LEE TREVINO: I don't know what the record is. We better find out before we answer that, before you write it, before I say it. We better -- I have no idea what the record is. I am going to tell you something. You can stand right here and play a practice round, and that course got -- you know, and you go out there and you can do all you want to with it, but it is still the U.S. Senior Open. I know there is still a lot of pressure. This is the one you want to win, and those greens get a little tough. Now, if you -- if you happen to go out there and not drive the ball very well, I don't care whether these greens are soft or hard, and you are going to have -- you are going to have a very difficult time hitting your second shots on these greens, yeah. There is going to be a lot of putting from off these greens up the mounds and onto the green; not a lot of chipping, tell you the truth.
Q. How does this course set up for your game?
LEE TREVINO: Well, I am more of a low ball hitter. I have never played this course very well; never done well here. The thing that will help me more than anything, if the greens do stay soft. I hit more of a lower trajectory shot. So, if the greens stay a little on the soft side, then it gives me a better shot at it. If the greens get a little firm, baked out, then I won't -- I don't think as good a shot -- I am not excluding myself from winning. In other words, I think I can win, but it will be a little bit tougher. I will have to do a little bit more on the greens, I think, than most, but it can be done. This golf course will favor a high ball hitter, yeah.
Q. Laoretti won this tournament in recent history. What do you think of the chances of somebody unknown, a qualifier; how tough is it going to be for somebody like that?
LEE TREVINO: This particular golf course, it will be quite tough, yeah. I am not discarding it. I mean, there is a lot of good players out there. There is a lot of club pros that play very well. There is some amateurs that are very good when they turn 50. So, I couldn't sit here and honestly say that a qualifier or somebody that comes in that we don't know, might not win this championship. I did it in 1968. Laoretti did it here, what, two years ago, up in Pennsylvania. So, no, I wouldn't put myself out on the limb and say that. But it is highly unusual to do it here. This is a very, very difficult golf course, especially around the greens. And it is going to take a lot of experience and a lot of patience on this particular golf course.
Q. If somebody put a gun to your head and said you've got to take the foursome of you, Jack, Raymond and Dave Stockton or the field as the winner, which one would you take?
LEE TREVINO: I hope he has blanks in there, because that will be -- that will be pretty tough. That field will be pretty tough. There is a lot of good players in there, a lot of good players in there. You left the guy that is -- even though Stockton and I and Floyd have won a lot of tournaments recently, the guy that is actually playing the best golf - he hasn't gotten a break there- that is Albus, yeah.
Q. He doesn't do too well in Opens.
LEE TREVINO: He is playing the best golf he has ever played right now. He is well rounded right now. We kept him out of that winner circle in the last three weeks, you know, he has been right there knocking on the door. He is strong; very, very strong. Drives the ball well. And he is putting well right now. So, you can't keep Albus out of there. Albus is going to be a big threat. Wargo -- Wargo hits the ball very straight, very long. You got to be careful with Wargo too. Mike Hill is always a threat if Mike Hill putts. I do not know of any one that can hit the ball from tee to green as well as Mike Hill. Mike Hill is very straight and he's probably as good an iron player as anyone. Again, he is like me though, he doesn't hit the iron very high. If it stays soft, Mike Hill has a much better chance than if the greens get hard. But everything with Mike Hill's game is going to be his putter; if he -- he has not been putting well the last three, four weeks.
Q. You alluded to the fact that it is the Open earlier. How much more do you feel the pressure this week than you would any other week?
LEE TREVINO: It only comes around once a year. You know, we play 36 other golf tournaments or 37 other tournaments and we play 4 major championships. Those are the golf tournaments if you lose one the next week you are going to tee up next Friday and there is another one just like the one you just played in. The Open Championship and the PGA, and the tradition for us, they only come around once a year. Now, they were asking me out there earlier about do I get my juices flowing, do I get the fire going and all this stuff. I don't get anything going anymore in a U.S. Open than I did last week or the week before or the week before that. I try-- every time I tee the ball up I try to win. Naturally, in the back of my mind, yeah, I'd probably be more nervous coming down this track on this tournament than I would be, say, in another tournament that I could tee up the following week and carries the same prestige. Yeah, we are all going to be nervous coming down the track. I think -- I think basically that will be about it. But as far as getting up for it, you know, and doing this and doing that, I don't do that anymore. I don't ever prepare for a Major anymore than I do any other golf tournament. Never have. And I probably never will. I just take them as they come along. Naturally I am trying to win and I may try to concentrate a little bit more; not try to take as many chances like I do at some of the other tournaments, because in a U.S. Open you always find out that they generally come out faster than they start backing up a little bit come Saturday and some Sunday. You have seen it at Augusta. You have seen it at the U.S. Open. You just have to be patient and make sure you don't get out of there too far.
Q. The way you and Raymond and David dominated this year, is that good for the senior tour?
LEE TREVINO: I think any time that you have someone that kind of comes out and takes charge, yeah, I think it is good. I don't think there is anything wrong with it. I am happy it is me this year right now. I mean, it is -- the year is not over. But I have won a lot of tournaments this year and then Floyd and I were flip-flopping and Dave Stockton came in there and Stockton would have won three in a row and I nipped him at the wire in Nashville. But yeah, I think it creates a lot of interest, not only for the fans, but the media and there is a lot a favorites when you come in there. You start getting golf tournaments to where -- I mean, I saw a headline at the U.S. Open this year, didn't I, where it said it is wide open? Do you see what I am saying? It is wide open. You know, so he evidently -- someone wasn't -- no one was really dominating or winning a lot of tournaments or anything. I don't think there has even been a double winner up to the U.S. Open on the regular tour -- was there one?
Q. Nick Price.
LEE TREVINO: Yeah, so -- yeah, I don't think there -- I think it is good. I remember when Nicklaus was dominating and Palmer was dominating, tremendous amount of interest when Johnny Miller was dominating and then Watson came by-- he was, what, player of the year six years in a row. Yeah, I think so.
Q. You have won five this year?
LEE TREVINO: Yeah, here and one in Japan.
Q. It was a great year. What is it, your attitude? Is it physical? What is it that you are playing this well?
LEE TREVINO: I found my putting stroke. I am not hitting the ball any different than I did in '90, '92, '93. I am hitting the ball exactly the same. Nothing has changed. My attitude hasn't changed. I still have the drive that I have always had. I hit a lot of practice balls. But the one thing that I did at the PGA this year down in Florida is that I went back to my blade putter. I put loft on it and I went back to my old setup, forward press, pull the trigger, and I haven't missed very many putts in the last 10 weeks. That is basically what it has done for me. I have always hit the ball, basically, the same way. It is just that when I putt, I have always said that when my putter is hot I will win. I expect to. That is -- that is me. I think Mike Hill will tell you he feels the same way. When he is putting good, he hits the ball the same way. Right now, I have just been putting well. Yeah, been making the ones I should make, and 2-putting the ones when I get in trouble, and then making the par-putt, you know, when I get in trouble and I chip the ball up, eight footer, 10 footer, 12 footer. I am holding a lot of -- holding, probably 70% of those, you know, to save par. So, I mean if you will look at our us statistics, if you believe in these things, I guess, I don't know, I really don't believe in them anyway, I am not in anything and I am the leading money winner, but Rocky Thompson is leading in birdies, you understand? And I am way down the line. Now, let me tell you what that comes from. People say well, that comes from putting. Not necessarily. It may come from putting a birdie putt. But what about the par-putt? What has happened with Rocky is he has made more birdies, but he has made more bogeys and the thing that I have been doing, which is -- everybody is going to make birdies, everyone out there is going to make birdies. It is the guy that keeps them is the guy that will eventually win. And that is what I have been doing. In other words, when I do hit a bad drive, I get it back out in front. I will hit it up on the green and make that 10 footer, 8 footer, 6 footer, whatever it is, and I am not giving the birdies back and I think that has been the difference in the last 10 weeks for me.
Q. Is it important to you to have the most wins of the year? Is there a good competition there between you and Raymond and Dave?
LEE TREVINO: I didn't think so because you can ask Bob Green and Ron here. I always said that I was cutting back after three years, and I wasn't going to chase the rainbow anymore and I keep winning, and I don't know, I got a couple of hundred thousand dollars on the money, and I was going to quit, and I wasn't going to do all this, but yeah, it is important again, yeah, I guess I might as well finish out the year and see what happens, yeah.
Q. Have you and Raymond played much together since the Senior PGA final round?
LEE TREVINO: Year, we played last week, as a matter of fact, together we played the first round.
Q. Has he mentioned that at all or is that just ancient history?
LEE TREVINO: Well, Raymond's schedule I think he said he was going to play 20 tournaments this year. He does his scheduling and that is it. I am scheduled to play 25, so -- but if I am still leading the money and in the running for player of the year I may play 27, 28, maybe 30. I'd probably do the same thing this year I did last year. When I came home after the tour the wife already had the Christmas tree up and the presents under it, so you can tell about how long I was out there and she was hot. She said this isn't going to happen again. I said you are right, it is not. I am going to quit early. We had breakfast the other day. She says, you are doing pretty good, aren't you, kid? I said, yes. She says, are you going west. I said, no. She said, you have got to now, you are leading by too much. So it looks like I am going to end up in L.A. and Napa and Hawaii and every where else I guess, I don't know.
Q. You seem to enjoy playing this game as much as you ever have?
LEE TREVINO: I don't do anything else. That is my hobby. It is my business. It is my hobby. It is my meditation. It is my letting off steam. I like to do it alone, though, and I have to go home to do that. I can't go to any other golf course and get in a golf cart and go out on the golf course and then just -- I sometimes will sit under a tree, and just watch the squirrels play for 15 minutes; then I will go out; hit some bunker shots; do this; do that. I can't go anyplace else but home to do that. That is -- that bothers me a little bit because if I go to another golf course, before you know it, there is 4, 5 carts there; members come and people want to watch you play. I don't want to be performing for them. I don't want -- I am out there to relax, so I go home every Sunday night and then I leave again Wednesday night to go to the tournament and I go out at Hobe Golf Club where I am a member and I practice and nobody ever bothers me. We have 142 members and there is probably 10 there for the summer. I go around the golf course and practice and hit because. That is all I do. I love it. Yeah.
Q. Do you not do as many outings?
LEE TREVINO: I did one yesterday, in Chicago for Motorola. They were sponsoring the Western Open. They wanted me to come up and I entertained 90 customers at Beverly in the morning five o'clock in the morning and then at 1:00 I teed off for a pro celebrity shootout, eight holes at Cog Hill in the afternoon and then I got back here at 6:30. I was back in the hotel at 6:30. But no, I do not do many outings. I have three major contracts which are Spalding, Motorola, Cadillac, and those people want to see this on television. They don't want me to stand on a street corner and try to sell a hubcap or telephone. You understand what I am saying? And they said we don't need you to be out here entertaining guys and wasting your time. We would rather see you resting; hitting practice balls and get on television. And that is why I don't get anymore contracts because everybody else wants time and they do not take my time up. They pay me a hell of a lot of money, and I play extremely hard for them. And they know that. And they get all their benefit from television.
Q. Now, you go home early in the week and you get recharged?
LEE TREVINO: Every Sunday night. Yeah, I probably do -- I probably will do probably 6 outings a year, if I do that many. Which is nothing. Chi Chi does 160, probably, I don't know. Chi Chi does quite a few, but I do about-- 6 is all I do.
Q. Do those days early in the week going home and sitting under that tree enable you to continue to enjoy when you are away from home playing in the tournaments as much as you?
LEE TREVINO: I'd rather be home. I got a five year old daughter and a 22 month old son. I have a blast with them. I really have a lot a great time simply because it is my third family and I never spent much time with my other two. Because I stayed gone all the time. I'd leave home for two, three months at a time and I never watched them grow up or change or they ask questions, and whatever. I spend a lot of time with these two kids and I hate to leave home, but that is my business. I have got to leave. That is why I make the dollars I make, I guess, and have the sponsors that I have is because I do leave and go play. And I practice hard, but I work four, five hours a day when I am home on the golf course.
Q. What I am saying is those early days of the week that you carve out for yourself, make it bearable to be away that enables you?
LEE TREVINO: Yeah, it charges my batteries up, yeah.
Q. What is the latest with Herman?
LEE TREVINO: He is here. Herman is doing great. He is just trying to get his strength back now. He lost 72 pounds and he will caddy for me at Northville which is what, four weeks away. Three weeks away or whatever.
Q. What is the prognosis just have to keep the weight down --
LEE TREVINO: Herman has an enlarged heart and he -- heart failure is what he has. Herman had the problem of when the heart pumps and extracts the blood out of the heart an average person about 70% of it goes into the muscle tissue and what have you, Herman's heart was only extracting about between 40 and 50% of the blood. He was weighing 321 at the time and the doctor says if we can get this guy down to 225, 230, you know, he has got a chance to live. If he doesn't lose this weight, the condition his heart is in, he said, he will not see Santa Claus. That is why I sent him to Duke University to the rice diet and took the weight off. He looks great. But he doesn't have much strength right now. He is walking a couple of holes here and couple there. Hopefully he will be ready by --
Q. Any danger of him coming back --
LEE TREVINO: No, they said there is not much we can do. If he gets sick again, he is going to have to be the kind of guy that is just going to have to sit around and wait until it stops, you know, I take him with him everywhere he sits in the hotel.
Q. Down in Florida you said you weren't going to let him down on the bag unless he lost 100?
LEE TREVINO: He is getting down little by little. I had him up there for 11, 12 weeks, that is enough. You know you eat rice and beans for 12 weeks out there you can kill somebody. I didn't want him to get real mad at me. I mean, he might pull that knife out on me, man, I better take him out, you know, but he knows that if he starts gaining weight I am sending him right back in there. Yeah, but he is doing great. We laugh. Boy, I have had a ball with him for two weeks. I don't know who our neighbors are over at the hotel but they are catching an earfull out there. Okay fellows, ladies, thank you very much.
LES UNGER: Thank you.
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