Lee Buck Trevino

Lee Trevino

Lee Trevino
Personal Information
Dallas, Texas, U.S.
Height 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)
Weight 180 lb (82 kg)
Residence Rancho Santa Fe, California, U.S.
College None
Turned Pro 1960
Current tour Champions Tour
Professional wins 87 (PGA Tour: 29, Champions Tour: 29, Other: 29)
Best Results in Major Championships
Wins: 6
Masters T10: 1975, 1985
U.S. Open Won 1968, 1971
British Open Won 1971, 1972
PGA Championship Won 1974, 1984
Vardon Trophy 1970, 1971, 1972, 1974, 1980
Byron Nelson Award 1980
World Golf Hall of Fame 1981
Jack Nicklaus Trophy (Champions Tour) 1990, 1992, 1994
Arnold Palmer Award (Champions Tour) 1990, 1992
Champions Tour Rookie of the Year 1990
Byron Nelson Award (Champions Tour) 1990, 1991, 1992

Lee Buck Trevino (born December 1, 1939) is an American professional golfer. He is an icon for Mexican Americans, and is often referred to as "The Merry Mex" and "Supermex".

Early life

Lee Buck Trevino was born in Dallas, Texas in poverty to parents of Mexican descent. His mother, Juanita Trevino, and grandfather, a gravedigger, raised Trevino. He never knew his father. Trevino's childhood amounted to him spending time attending school occasionally and working to help earn money for the family. At the age of five, Lee started working in the cotton fields.

Trevino was introduced to the game of golf when his uncle gave him a few old golf balls and a rusty golf club. From this point on, Lee could not get enough. He spent most of his free time sneaking into nearby country clubs to practice his newly found activity. At eight years old he began caddying at Dallas Athletic Club, a local golf course. However, a few years later, caddying became a full time job because he needed to earn enough money to survive. Thus, before his eighth grade year, Trevino had to leave school in order to go to work. As a caddy and a shoeshiner, Trevino worked for 30 U.S. dollars a week. On top of this, he was also able to make priceless gains in his golfing ability. This was because the caddies had three short practice holes behind their shack, and it was there, with old, discarded clubs, that Trevino learned to improve his golf game. For years, every day after work, he would work on improving his skills by hitting a least 300 balls a session. At seventeen, Trevino joined the United States Marine Corps and served four years. Over the last eighteen months in the service, a great deal of his time was spent playing golf with Marine Corps officers. Trevino himself claims that his time spent being a desirable golf partner helped earn him a Sergeant's promotion.

Professional career

After his discharge, Trevino continued his pursuit of the game, taking a club professional job in El Paso, Texas, and gambling for stakes in head-to-head matches. In 1967, he began playing on the PGA Tour. That year he played in his second U.S. Open golf championship, shot 283, eight shots behind champion Jack Nicklaus, and earned $6,000 for finishing fifth. He won $26,472 as a rookie, 45th on the PGA Tour money list, and was the Rookie of the Year, as named by Golf Digest magazine.

In 1968 at the Oak Hill Country Club (Rochester, New York), a large goal was reached when he won the U.S. Open. From then on, there was no looking back. Over the course of his career, Trevino won 29 times on the PGA Tour, including six majors. He was at his best in the early 1970s, when for a time he was Jack Nicklaus's biggest rival, winning the money list title in 1970, and picking up ten wins in two seasons in 1971 and 1972. Among the highlights during those 2 memorable seasons, were winning the 1971 U.S. Open in an 18-hole playoff over Jack Nicklaus, then 2 weeks later, he won the Canadian Open and the following week The Open Championship, making him the first player to win those three national titles in the same year (Tiger Woods matched the feat in 2000), and he was rewarded the Hickok Belt as top professional athlete of 1971, as well as winning Sports Illustrated magazine's "Sportsman of the Year" award, he was also being named as ABC's Wide World of Sports Athlete of the Year that year.

After winning the 1974 PGA Championship, he was struck by lightning at the 1975 Western Open, and suffered injuries to his spine and back. He later underwent surgery to remove a damaged spinal disk, and back problems later restricted his play. However, while he never repeated his multiple-major winning feats of the early 1970s, he returned to his position of one of the game's leading players - he was ranked second in McCormack's World Golf Rankings in 1980, behind Tom Watson, the same position he had attained in 1971, and won his sixth and last major, the 1984 PGA Championship at the unusually advanced age of 44. In the early 1980s he was second on the PGA Tour career money list, behind only Jack Nicklaus.

Trevino also won more than 20 international and unofficial professional tournaments. In his fifties he was one of the key charismatic stars who helped to make the Senior PGA Tour, now the Champions Tour, a commercial success. He picked up the same tally of 29 wins on this tour as he had on the regular tour, including four senior majors. He topped the senior money list in 1990 and 1992.

Mark Schoenwald has been Trevino's caddy since 2005.

Playing style

His self–taught style, distinguished by an out-to-in swing designed to fade the ball (which he devised to combat a chronic hook), led to many exciting shots and skins game victories.

Distinctions and honors

  • Trevino played for the United States in the Ryder Cup six times (1969, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1979, 1981), and had an impressive 17-7-6 win-loss-half record. He also served as team captain in 1985.
  • Trevino won the Vardon Trophy for lowest scoring average five times: 1970, 1971, 1972, 1974, and 1980.
  • Trevino has established numerous scholarships and continues to offer assistance to many Mexican Americans who are less fortunate.
  • He co-authored his autobiography, titled They Call Me Super Mex.
  • Trevino was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1981.
  • In 2000, Trevino was ranked as the 14th-greatest golfer of all time by Golf Digest magazine.


Throughout his career, Trevino was seen as one of the more approachable and humorous of PGA golfers, and was frequently quoted by the press. Late in his career, he remarked, "I played the tour in 1967 and told jokes and nobody laughed. Then I won the Open the next year, told the same jokes, and everybody laughed like hell. At the beginning of their 1971 playoff for the U.S. Open, he playfully threw a rubber snake at Jack Nicklaus. During his early career, much attention was focused by the press on a BandAid that Trevino wore on his forearm covering a tattoo of the name of his ex-wife. This became a frequent topic of self-deprecating humor for the good-natured Trevino. (He has since had this tattoo removed by a plastic surgeon using a laser technique.)

Trevino had a cameo performance in the 1996 comedy Happy Gilmore.

PGA Tour wins (29)

Major championships are shown in bold.

Other wins (19)

Champions Tour wins (29)

Senior majors are shown in bold.

Other senior wins (10)

Major Championships

Wins (6)

Year Championship 54 Holes Winning Score Margin Runners Up
1968 U.S. Open 1 shot deficit -5 (69-68-69-69=275) 4 strokes Jack Nicklaus
1971 U.S. Open (2) 4 shot deficit E (70-72-69-69=280) Playoff 1 Jack Nicklaus
1971 The Open Championship 1 shot lead -14 (69-70-69-70=278) 1 stroke Lu Liang-Huan
1972 The Open Championship (2) 1 shot lead -6 (71-70-66-71=278) 1 stroke Jack Nicklaus
1974 PGA Championship 1 shot lead -4 (73-66-68-69=276) 1 stroke Jack Nicklaus
1984 PGA Championship (2) 1 shot lead -15 (69-68-67-69=273) 4 strokes Gary Player, Lanny Wadkins
1 Defeated Jack Nicklaus in 18-hole playoff - Trevino (68), Nicklaus (71)

Results timeline

Tournament 1966 1967 1968 1969
The Masters DNP DNP T40 T19
U.S. Open T54 5 1 CUT
The Open Championship DNP DNP DNP T34
PGA Championship DNP DNP T23 T48

Tournament 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979
The Masters DNP DNP T33 T43 DNP T10 T28 DNP T14 T12
U.S. Open T8 1 T4 T4 CUT T29 DNP T27 T12 T19
The Open Championship T3 1 1 T10 T31 T40 DNP 4 T29 T17
PGA Championship T26 T13 T11 T18 1 T60 CUT T13 T7 T35

Tournament 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989
The Masters T26 CUT T38 T20 43 T10 47 CUT CUT T18
The Open Championship 2 T11 T27 5 T14 T20 T59 T17 CUT T42
PGA Championship 7 DNP DNP T14 1 2 T11 DNP CUT CUT

Tournament 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
The Open Championship T25 T17 T39 DNP CUT CUT DNP DNP DNP DNP
Tournament 2000
The Masters DNP
U.S. Open DNP
The Open Championship CUT
PGA Championship DNP

DNP = did not play
CUT = missed the half way cut
"T" indicates a tied for a place.
Green background for wins. Yellow background for top-10.


See also


Hoobler, Dorothy and Thomas, The Mexican American Family Album. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.

External links

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