On Sunday the rust and the fatigue caught up with him. Trevino was four over on the back nine with bogeys on the 11th, 12th, 14th, 15th and 16th holes and tied for sixth place in the 20-man field, five strokes out of a playoff.
Trevino plans a full schedule in 1995. He will compete in the Senior Skins Game in Kohala Coast, Hawaii, on Jan. 28 and 29 and then go to Key Biscayne, Fla., to defend his title at the Royal Caribbean Classic on Feb. 3-5. That's more than Trevino expected on Oct. 26 when he reported to Dr. Ralph Rashbaum at the Texas Back Institute in Dallas for surgery. In 1983 Rashbaum repaired a career-threatening ruptured disk in Trevino's lower back. This time around Rashbaum inserted the donor bone between Trevino's sixth and seventh cervical vertebrae, bracing it by screwing the titanium plate over the area.
Those who know Trevino expect a big season. Two years ago, coming off thumb surgery, he won three times and was fourth on the money list, with nearly $1 million in earnings. The rehabilitation for the neck operation includes a conditioning and stretching program. Twelve pounds lighter than he was in 1994, Trevino says he has never been in better shape. "When I get dangerous is after rehab, because I do three times as much practicing," he says. "It happened with the thumb, it happened with my lower back. I'll know when I'm finished, and I hope it's not because I'm hurt. I want to prove to myself more than anyone that a little injury is not going to make me quit."
Baby on Board
Playing while pregnant might seem cumbersome, but it is not unheard of on the LPGA tour. Nancy Lopez and Laura Baugh did it several times each. Judy Dickinson did it carrying twins. Myra Blackwelder did it seven months into her pregnancy and finished tied for 16th at the 1987 S&H Golf Classic in St. Petersburg, Fla. The latest two-for-one to walk the LPGA's fairways is Dana Dormann, whose first child is due March 5.
Dormann, who practices at Grand Cypress, shot 81-74-77-80 to finish 33rd in the Tournament of Champions. Dawn Coe-Jones finished with a seven-under-par 281 to beat runner-up Beth Daniel by six strokes. "I had trouble swinging around my stomach," Dormann said. "I know Laura Baugh and other players have said they hit it farther when they were pregnant, but that was definitely not the case for me."
At Golf Channel headquarters in Orlando last week crew members and commentators hurriedly prepared for the network's first day of broadcasting, scheduled for Jan. 17. "The only thing I can equate this to is being in the delivery room when my son, Julian, was born," said Golf Today host Dwayne Ballen. "To see this come into fruition is remarkable."
Ballen represents the progressive stance the Golf Channel has taken in its hiring. Besides being relatively young (33) and unknown in the golf world, Ballen is black. The only other African-American who has had as significant a role broadcasting golf is Bryant Gumbel, a member of NBC's golf team in 1990. For Ballen that gives special meaning to his new assignment. "To African-Americans it means a lot," he says, "because many attempts have been made to make inroads into all facets of the game. It's a slow process, but it has been happening."
Ballen, who previously worked as the sports anchor for the ABC affiliate in Raleigh- Durham, N.C., is not much of a golfer. He played four times in 1994, and "was never near 100," he says. "My wife actually outdrove me once. But just because I'm lousy, doesn't mean I don't love the game. That puts me in line with millions of golfers across the United States." Amen.