69-67-136, the lowest local qualifier score in the nation. Next, he finished
second in the sectional at Dallas, proceeding from there, on borrowed money, to
the Open at plush Baltusrol in New Jersey. "Jack Duffy!" the caddie
master called through a microphone to the caddie yard. "You've been drawn.
Your professional is here, and he wants you immediately."
into view, a 40ish, tournament-hardened veteran. He looked over Trevino as if
to say, "Well, there goes my chance for a piece of the money."
wordlessly, Duffy trailed Lee through a practice-round two-over-par 72,
confidently expecting to see an 80 before long. But in the next three days of
practice he saw instead a 68, a 71 and a 70. By daily stages Duffy quickened
his pace, first drawing closer to his professional's heels, then abreast of him
and finally out front, authoritatively leading the way. At last he spoke.
"Kid," he announced as Lee concluded his last practice round, "I'll
tell you something. These guys can have Nicklaus, Palmer and Casper. I'm ready
to go with you."
Lee did not share
Duffy's optimism. He phoned Claudia in El Paso and said, "Honey, I've just
blown the Open. I shot a 281, and I'm going so good that I can't have anything
left for the tournament." Baloney, said Claudia. She ordered him to shoot
another 281. Lee went out swinging, sustaining himself each day on peaches and
plums, eaten in his motel room. He finished with a 283 for fifth place and
$6,000. Back at Horizon Hills, the members tossed down drinks on the house.
Meanwhile Lee handed Duffy $250 that he had hoarded for that purpose; he then
ate another peach, endorsed his check and mailed it to Claudia, who opened a
bank account for herself. Later he would pry $100 from Claudia and send it to
Duffy as final payment.
Lee flew to the Cleveland Open, arriving with $15 in his pocket. "Can I pay
you Thursday?" he asked the lady registrar collecting $50 entry fees.
"You just won
$6,000," she reminded him.
Lee said, "but my wife's got it all, and she's promised to send me a
In his heart Lee
yearned to be back at Horizon Hills, knowing the members stood waiting to throw
a party in his honor. Distracted by his thoughts, he arrived at the 36th hole,
where he three-putted from six feet away and missed the cutoff by a stroke. He
flew home and got joyously drunk.
Except for the
Cleveland Open and the American Golf Classic, Lee Trevino finished in the money
in each of the 13 PGA tournaments he played last year, closing the season with
$28,700 in winnings. His face creased by a broad smile, enjoying every moment
of tournament golf, he has brought to the tour a breezy presence that already
has created a Trevino cult. The press tent clamors for his ingenuous
interviews. Last August at the Westchester Classic, where he had a 67 rained
out yet won $8,125 in seventh-place money, a band of Connecticut Italians more
or less adopted him—and have continued to follow him around the country even
after discovering he is not a paisano. Lee's Fleas, they call themselves.
enjoys playing golf like I do," Trevino insists, and he's probably right.
On his first day at the scene of the Masters this year he put in 36 holes of
practice, then played nine holes on a pitch-and-putt course. After a shower and
an evening of cards with a few of his Fleas he wound up at midnight on a par-3
course, going nine holes in a sports jacket and alligator shoes.