Lee Trevino: My Life in Pictures

1 of 23 Angus Murray
Lee Trevino has played golf with a U.S. president, shared a tee box with a chimpanzee, and been struck by lightning. The man has stories. We presented him with a photographic celebration of his colorful career. In return, we got Trevino at his entertaining best. Enjoy the show.
2 of 23 UPI/Corbis
PGA again, '74. I had a two-shot lead but I bogeyed the 17th hole. On 18, Nicklaus teed off with a 3-wood, I hit driver and out-drove him. He hit 5-iron to 18 feet left of the hole, I hit 6-iron to about 20 feet behind the hole. I putted the ball down to about a foot and a half short. I was choking so bad that I couldn't swallow. It's customary if you're leading to mark, so you're the last one to putt. But I said, "Jack, do you mind if I putt?" He said, "Not at all." He knew I was nervous. So I made the putt. There was no hoopla. Jack and Hubert Green still had to putt. As we were walking off I said to Jack, "Thank you for letting me putt out, because if you wouldn't have, I'd have passed out." That's why he's laughing.
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That's Herman [Mitchell], my caddie, '73, Las Vegas. I said, "Herman, it's cold." He said, "Get behind me." I was trying to sort of play with him there and he said, "Don't touch me now. Don't touch me now. Keep your hands in your own pockets." [Claudia Trevino: 'Herman was part of our family. He was there at the hospital when the kids were born, and he ate with us at every holiday. He and Lee were very close.']
4 of 23 AP Photos
This is at the Sammy Davis Jr. tournament, the pro-am. This was a very smart chimpanzee. You could put its hands on the club. There's Flip Wilson [the comedian] in the background. I was on the first tee and all of a sudden this chimpanzee walks out, and he's got this golf club and the hat on. It actually scared the hell out of me for a second.
5 of 23 AP Photos
Another dumb move: sticking my tongue out [at the '78 PGA]. It looks like I'm sticking it out at someone else, but actually the ball lipped out and I'm sticking my tongue out at it. And that's the one thing you try to teach your kids — don't stick your tongue out!
6 of 23 AP Photos
Walton Heath, the 1981 Ryder Cup. Jerry Pate, who had never won a point in the Walker Cup, lost his first match. Dave Marr [the U.S. captain] called Raymond Floyd and me into a private room that evening and said, "What am I going to do with Pate?" I said, "Give him to me." The next day we played Sam Torrance and Nicky Faldo in four-ball, and I said to Jerry, "You can beat these guys by yourself." Jerry was a hell of a player. So on the first hole I hit my drive down the right side and he was straight down the middle. I walked over and I picked my ball up and put it in my pocket. Then I walked over to him, and he said, "Where did you go?" I showed him my ball. You could see the fear in his face. I said, "Don't worry. You can beat these guys yourself." He wanted to cut a 4-iron. I made him hit a hard 5, and he pulled it in there to six inches and made 3. We won that match 7 and 5. I told the BBC afterward, "I may be playing with the greatest player ever — from the neck down." [Laughs.]
7 of 23 Courtesy the Trevino Family
[Lee and wife Claudia, whom he calls 'Mom.'] Mom does everything for me. She can really cook. She gets up at 7 a.m. to chop stuff up. I say, "What are you doing?" She says, "I'm making dinner." "Dinner's 12 hours away!" I'm lucky I'm not 400 pounds. I am totally blessed with these two children. They love each other, which is a testament to their mother. This is a proud moment for me, Olivia's debutant ball. I had to learn how to waltz. It's only four steps but I was practicing with a broom in the garage for a month.
8 of 23 AP Photos
One of my favorite people: Sam Snead. People don't realize how good he was, as good as Tiger. There's no telling what he'd have won if the putter had stayed with him. Sam was a hell of an athlete. When he was 75 he could kick a light out of an eight-foot ceiling. No joke. He always came around, "How you hittin' it, boy?" "I'm hitting it good, Sam." [Laughs.]
9 of 23 Wally McNamee/Corbis
I've played twice with President Bush. The second time was in Houston. I remember flying back in the president's helicopter to the White House, and his secretary says, "Mr. Bush, where have you been?" He says, "I've been playing golf." She says, "Isn't today a working day?" He said, "It is." She says, "Why are you playing golf?" He says, "Because I'm president." [Laughs.]
10 of 23 Gerry Cranham/SI
This is Muirfield in 1972. I was defending Open champion, and we took five couples with us. We flew commercial and we were supposed to get off at either Glasgow or Edinburgh, and we got off at the one before. I called my manager and said, "Where the hell is everybody?" He said, "We're at the airport waiting for you." I said, "We're at the airport!" He said, "You got off at the wrong one!" We rented a castle that week, and after I won we threw a party. At about 11 o'clock, the local bookmaker comes in with a suitcase with all the pounds in it, because we'd bet. We emptied his suitcase. I didn't win much. I'm not a bettor. But the people who were with me, they all bet.
11 of 23 AP Photos
U.S. Open at Merion, the playoff, last hole. I wanted to throw the hat out but held on too long and it came back down around my feet. It was a freak playoff. The greens were extremely hard, and Jack hit the ball so high that it didn't make any difference. I hit the ball lower so hard greens gave me a lot of trouble and I knew I was going to have a problem. But after about the fourth or fifth hole there came a rainstorm, and they delayed it for an hour and a half. It softened up the greens. I was on go from there. If the rain wouldn't have come there's no way I'd have won.
12 of 23 AP Photos
I had pneumonia in '72. This was a Tuesday. I was defending U.S. Open champion, and I got out of bed, jumped on a plane, flew to Pebble Beach and got there Wednesday night. I teed it up on Thursday morning and ended up playing with Nicklaus in the last group on Sunday. I was playing with him when he hit the 1-iron on 17. And there's that carpet. I brought it to the hospital with me.
13 of 23 Bettman/Corbis
Sammy Davis Jr., in Hartford, Conn. We played in the Greater Hartford Open pro-am in '73. Little guy. I had never seen a person that small. Not only was he not tall, he didn't have any meat on his bones. But he was a hoofer, a tap dancer, extremely talented. It was great that he put his name on that tournament. Nice grip, good stance, very square. He couldn't play, he couldn't hit it very good, but he loved it.
14 of 23 UPI/Corbis
This is a classic. That's me and my manager Bucky Woy. After I won the [1968] U.S. Open, I got invited to play the Match Play at Wentworth, and I met this guy that runs [the event]. He actually pissed me off a bit. We were staying at the Savoy Hotel, and he comes over and says, "We want to take you to the opera." I'm trying to be as hospitable as I can, but I don't give a damn about going to no opera. He insisted, and then he says, "By the way, you will not be able to attend in that attire." We had on golf shirts and blazers. So we ordered tails and dressed to the hilt. We looked like a couple of penguins. I couldn't understand [the singers]. Opera's like rap to me.
15 of 23 Angus Murray
That's the snake that I tossed over to Jack Nicklaus in the playoff [at the 1971 U.S. Open at Merion]. People talk about me playing a trick on Jack. No, no. Sports Illustrated had bought this. We were posing at the beginning of the week to show how high the rough was. They brought me the hatchet and the safari hat and the snake. And when we're done, I stuck the snake in the big pocket of the bag. Well, Monday, when I got out to play, I went in to get a new glove and there's the rubber snake. So I pulled it out and Nicklaus said, "Throw it over here." So I threw it over.
16 of 23 David Cannon/Getty Images
This is Shoal Creek, 1984 PGA. Look how dark it is. I hadn't won in so long I didn't realize how much press you had to do. I didn't get out of there until 10:30. When I won the 1968 U.S. Open they took me to a parking lot with a tent, and four press guys asked me questions for 15 minutes and I left. The biggest mistake I made here, in Alabama, was getting in a one-prop airplane to fly back to Dallas, in a rainstorm, after I won. That was the dumbest thing I've ever done. We're lucky we made it.
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A big mistake. I was demonstrating how I used to play with a 32-ounce Dr Pepper bottle. Everybody used to think it was a Coke bottle. People thought I had a stick in the bottle, people thought I hit it off of a tee. No. I threw it up like a baseball and I could hit it about 100, 120 yards with the roll. The problem was we didn't realize kids were going to see this and emulate it, and instead of taking that particular bottle, which is very thick and didn't break, kids were picking up all types of bottles. They were breaking and kids were cutting their hands, so I stopped this demonstration. Not smart. But I did wiggle $50,000 a year and a contract out of Dr Pepper. [Laughs.]
18 of 23 AP Photos
I am absolutely dumbfounded. I don't recognize any of this. I don't even know where the hell you got this. I have a pretty good memory and I never remember taking this picture.
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Oh, my God. This is where all my [back] troubles began — right here, Butler National, the Western Open, 1975. I was playing with Mike Fetchick and Jerry Heard. My favorite number is 3, and everything is in 3s here. I hit a 6-iron to three feet, it was 3 in the afternoon, 13th hole, par-3. The sky kind of looked weird, like it was gonna rain. [The storm] was close and we knew it. They suspended play, but we had to mark our balls. So we walked down to the green, and when we got there, Jerry and I looked at the sky and it was starting to get lighter. I said, "Hell, I'm not walking [in]. It looks like it's fixin' to clear up." So we sat down at the back of the green next to a lake, and the lightning bolt hit the lake and glanced off the water. It knocked me out. Jerry got burned. It took [Arnold] Palmer's club, on some other fairway, and slung it. That's when I started having all the problems with my back.
20 of 23 Walter Iooss Jr.
Redoing a house. [Laughs.] We were saving these toilets to go back into the house after we renovated it. That's [my daughter] Lesley, God bless her soul. She passed away when she was 36 years old. She had a blood disorder. That's [my son] Tony, who now runs Heritage Ranch [in Fairview, Texas].
21 of 23 Walter Iooss Jr./SI
I hit more putts on the carpet than I ever have on the course. I've never been one to go out to the putting green because there are always people out there, and I talk too much. When I first went on Tour in '67, the carpets in hotel rooms were shag, and you couldn't putt them. So I used to take a [customized] carpet with me. It had a bumper on the end, and you could shoot at numbers. I always worked on keeping a firm left wrist.
22 of 23 UPI/Corbis
This has to be the 1974 PGA. That putter there, that's Ms. Mayberry. I rented a house that week from a woman whose husband had passed away about six months earlier. There was a storage room, and I could see this bag lying on the floor with this Arnold Palmer Wilson putter sticking out. I said to her, "Is it for sale?" She said it wasn't, but that I could use it. I putted the eyes out of it. Saturday evening she says, "You know that putter? If you win the tournament you can have it." I still have it.
23 of 23 AP Photos
This is the Piccadilly World Match Play in '72. Tony Jacklin and I played 36 holes [in the semi-final]. We teed off about 7:30 in the morning, and it was cold. I remember on the first tee, Tony comes up and says, "Mex" — he called me Mex — he says, "Mex, I don't want to talk today. Let's just play golf." I said, "Tony, you don't have to talk. Just listen." [Laughs.] Tony and I had 26 birdies and three eagles between us in 36 holes, and I beat him 1-up, on the last hole. We were completely exhausted. Tom Weiskopf beat me 4 and 3 the next day.