Money, however inextricable, has its limits. "It seems to be everybody's way of keeping score," says Trevino. "People don't care about anything else but who the leading money winner is, and I'm sorry about that. We should judge golfers by tournaments won and scoring average adjusted for the difficulty of the courses. We should keep score by keeping score."
It follows, then, that Trevino honors consistency and the self-possession that creates it. "There are two ways to play this game," he says. "One is being able to do something about not playing well. Two is not being able to. It's easy to play when you're on. But you have to play when you're not. Seve Ballesteros can do that. He makes things happen."
Trevino is no slouch at it either. Ben Hogan once said that Trevino manipulated the club better than anyone. "My gift, my fascination," says Trevino, "has always been feel. Having good hands and feel are the most important things in golf because when you're on the practice tee and things aren't working, it's feel that lets you fall back to plan B, or C, so you can adjust how you're working the ball."
It is important to Trevino that money not be all that important. "It's funny," he says, "how everything in this country is judged and surrounded by money, by how big your house is, how expensive your clothes are. I've never had respect for money. Don't. Won't. Never will." So he has kept the reward from rearing up and becoming a distraction.
"The biggest problem with money," he says, "is figuring out how to keep it. That is, after managers and friends and investors get through with it."
This is in rueful reference to his having taken deep losses when businesses and developments urged upon him by friends foundered.
"All I ever asked of the people who handled my money was that my plastic not bounce," he says. "It was a mistake not to oversee things more closely. After losing two fortunes, I've learned. Now, when someone comes to me with a deal that's going to make me a million dollars, I say, 'Tell it to your mother.' Why would a stranger want to make me a million?"
Trevino's own worth has always been immediately apparent to him, without need for symbols. Therefore, age has not deflated his buoyant, startling, innate and well-founded confidence.
"I know I can play," he practically bellows. "I'm not worried about the next shot or any shot. I know I can execute it. I can execute them all. So my concentration is 15 seconds a shot. After that, we can talk about football.
"My personality flows from this. I know guys who are hysterically funny in the clubhouse, and when they step to the first tee, they turn stone silent. Then after they're done and back in, they're funny again. But if I had to concentrate every minute, I'd be a spastic out there." Trevino has pledged to stop and smell the roses more often on the Senior tour. "I never have seen much but airports, golf courses and hotels," he says. "I plan to have more fun."