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Love, family, why the PNC Championship (still) matters to Lee Trevino

Love, family, why the PNC Championship (still) matters to Lee Trevino

ORLANDO – When Lee Trevino started prepping to compete in this year’s PNC Championship, the World Golf Hall of Fame member and six-time major champion topped several balls on the range. Was arguably the best ball-striker in the game lifting his head? Say it ain’t so.

“I never, ever remember doing this in my life,” Trevino said.

His son, Daniel, 31, who is his partner in the two-person scramble format team event that begins on Saturday at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, suggested he go see renowned instructor Randy Smith, who teaches world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler. But Trevino made a vow many years ago that he wouldn’t take a lesson from anybody that he could beat. Trevino dialed up Smith and when he answered he said, “Have you got 15 minutes to look at me? I think you can beat me now.”

The lesson helped. Trevino recounted on the Subpar podcast that five weeks ago he made a birdie and nine pars and shot 82 in a fundraiser at Dallas National.

“What are you complaining about?” Daniel said. “You broke your age.”

Trevino, 84, calls the PNC Championship his major and he talks about it all year. He’s played in every edition dating to the inaugural event in 1995 when 10 major winners gathered with their sons. He’s assumed the role of the field’s elder statesman, which has evolved to feature 20 major champions (including women such as Annika Sorenstam) and their relatives competing for the Willie Park Trophy. There’s a wait list just to get in the field.

“It’s like people trying to qualify for Augusta,” Trevino said.

PNC: Saturday tee times | Photos

It’s interesting that he should mention the Masters, the only one of the four majors that he never won. He’s failed to win the PNC Championship, too, but the family gathering reflects the growing importance that familial bonds have come to mean to him.

Trevino never knew his father and that absence surely affected Trevino’s outlook on life. He grew up in a household where he rarely heard an encouraging word and re-enacted his youth with his children. “I gave them the roof over their heads, but I didn’t give them the love,” he said. “I was a screamer. I’d have a few beers and get crazy with the kids.”

Rick Trevino, his oldest, recalled in a first-person magazine article that his father would fly in to visit him once or twice a year in Green City, Missouri, where Rick lived with Trevino’s first wife, Linda, and they would speak by phone once every month or two,…


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