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I could give him $15,000," says Claudia Trevino, fixing her husband with a gaze you could hang wash on, "and he'd blow it in a week. Money means nothing to him."
Lee Buck Trevino lets out a roosterish cackle, delighted by the rebuke. He has been averaging roughly $2,200 a tournament since joining the pro golf tour last June, but still has trouble finding a dime to mark his ball. "Until lately I never had any money," he says. "It's like pieces of paper to me."
The Trevinos are sipping soft drinks at a table in the Horizon Hills Country Club, which lies 20 miles southeast of El Paso in the desert. Lee is the club pro—a grinning, copper-colored Mexican, 28 years old, who at 5'10" and 180 pounds is built like a paunchy bulldog. Though he was born and raised in the countryside near Dallas, newspaper columnists almost invariably invite their readers to imagine him standing at Pancho Villa's right hand, with a bandolier tossed over his shoulder. The name Ann is tattooed on his right forearm. Ann, he explains, was a sweetheart who wrote him a Dear John letter when he served in the Marines, but, as matters turned out. the tattoo regained its usefulness. Claudia's middle name is Ann.
"We can go out to shop for a pair of socks," Claudia is saying, "and he'll spend $500."
"I never spend nothin'," Lee grumbles, toughening.
"Because I never give you anything."
A lithe, blonde cutie from Dallas, Claudia administers the family fortune and is the Wilbur Mills of Lee's existence. The savings and checking accounts are in her name, an arrangement that Lee recognizes as prudent, because any money he can lay his hands on is as good as gone. Deadbeats melt his heart with hard-luck stories. Across the Rio Grande, waiters at Ju�rez racetrack find their hands stuffed with Lee's $5 tips. Gambling men keep a chair open for him at the table. "If there's a little poker game nearby and if I got $500 I'll blow it," he says genially. "Or if I got $5 I'll blow that. I got to bust that poker game or it got to bust me. Unfortunately, I don't bust many poker games."
"He never comes home with a dime in his pocket," Claudia sighs.
"You only live once. Why not have some fun? I'll tell you, this is the most money-hungriest woman I ever seen."
There is no acrimony, only affection, in Lee's tone, for it was Claudia who last summer launched him on a tournament career that already has netted them upward of $60,000 in winnings. There he was, an El Paso nobody, an old Mex of 27, a golfer who had never had a lesson—who had mastered the game in the Marines on Okinawa. The local qualifier for the 1967 U.S. Open was drawing near at Odessa, but Lee did not regard himself as Open material. Claudia, however, sent in his $20 entry fee and ordered him to Odessa.