Lee Trevino - Turns Professional
Famous Sports StarsGolfLee Trevino Biography - Caddie Shack Golfer, Turns Professional, Chronology, A Year And A Career To Remember, Joins The Seniors - CONTACT INFORMATION, SELECTED WRITINGS BY TREVINO:
Eventually Trevino found someone willing to subsidize his expenses for a few tournaments that didn't require Professional Golf Association (PGA) membership. During 1965 he played in three events, finishing first at the Texas State Open, second at the Mexico City Open, and fifth at the Panama Open. His performance was good enough to garner the support of Martin Lettunich, a wealthy cotton farmer from El Paso, who secured a job for Trevino at El Paso's Horizon Hills Country Club.
In 1965 Lettunich and his buddies invited Raymond Floyd, a rising star on the PGA, to challenge a local player. As Sports Illustrated retold the now-legendary anecdote, "Floyd pulled into Horizon Hills in a white Cadillac, where he was met by a young Hispanic clubhouse boy, who retrieved Floyd's clubs from the trunk, escorted him to the locker room, and shined his shoes. 'Who am I playing today?' Floyd asked. 'You're talking to him,' Trevino replied." The two played three rounds, and with one hole left, Trevino was up by a stroke. Floyd saved himself from the embarrassment of losing by eagling the final hole to win by one. Packing up his clubs, Floyd told Trevino, "Adios. I've got easier games than this on the Tour." The two would meet again many times on the PGA and Champions Tours.
Joining the PGA in 1966, Trevino played in the U.S. Open at the Olympic Country Club in San Francisco. Tying for fifty-fourth place, he returned home with $600 and severe doubts about his future in golf. The following year, Trevino's wife sent off the twenty dollar registration fee for the 1967 U.S. Open trials despite her husband's misgivings. At the qualifying event, Trevino shot under 70 in both rounds, posting the best score of all qualifiers. He then shocked everyone, including himself, by finishing fifth in the U.S. Open. With new confidence, Trevino played a dozen more tournaments in 1966, finishing out of the money only twice and was named Rookie of the Year.
Trevino's first tournament, and first major, win came in 1968 when he took the U.S. Open, shooting a record four rounds under 70 (69, 68, 69, 69). Later in the year he won the Hawaiian Open. Although he only won total of three tournaments in 1969 and 1970 (the Tucson Open twice and the National Airlines Open Invitational), he managed to place in the money often enough to place him among the tour's top money winners.