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the first player ever to win three national titles in one year
Lee Buck Trevino was born in Dallas, Texas, on December 1, 1939. He was raised in poverty by his mother and grandfather, in a house with no electricity or indoor plumbing. The house did happen to be near a country club, however, and Lee began caddying at the age of eight. He soon began playing with, and hustling, other caddies, and a passion for golf had been born. That passion was further fueled when he began working at a driving range owned by Hardy Greenwood, who became his tutor and father figure.
Having dropped out of school after the eighth grade, Lee decided he needed a little discipline and direction in his life, so as soon as he turned 17 he joined the Marine Corps. Although he wasn't always the ideal Marine, he put in four years and made it to the rank of Lance Corporal before being discharged in 1960.
After the Marines, Trevino returned to Dallas and tried to make a living at golf, mostly by hustling. In 1966 he took a job as a clubhouse attendant at an El Paso country club, where he continued to make money hustling.
By 1967 Trevino was ready to go professional, and entered the PGA Tour. He finished fifth in that year's U.S. Open, and was named Rookie of the Year. He won the U.S. Open again in 1968, and became the first player ever to shoot in the 60s in all four rounds. By 1970 he was the leading money winner on the Tour, and, in 1971, he became the first player ever to win three national titles in one year -- the U.S., Canadian, and British Opens. He was named the PGA Player of the Year, the Associated Press Athlete of the Year, and Sports Illustrated's Athlete of the Year that same year.
Trevino's incredible Tour streak almost came to an end when he was struck by lightning while playing in the Western Open in Chicago, on June 27, 1975. The strike damaged his spine and made it difficult for him to play, but it didn't stop him. He simply adjusted his swing style and, after back surgery in 1976, returned to the Tour. He went on to win at least one tournament a year between 1976 and 1979, and three tournaments in 1980. His last Tour win came at the PGA Championship in 1984. He was elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1981.
By the time he retired from the Tour circuit in 1984, Trevino had won a total of 29 Tour events, including six majors -- two U.S. Opens (1968, 1971), two British Opens (1971, 1972) -- and two PGA Championships (1974, 1984). He had also played on six Ryder Cup and five World Cup teams, and earned five Vardon Trophies (awarded to the player with the lowest scoring average of the season).
After a stint as a television announcer, Trevino joined the Senior Tour in 1989. To date he has a total of 29 wins and has been named Senior Tour Player of the Year three times.
Robinson Library >> Golf
This page was last updated on June 11, 2018.