Lee Trevino probably won’t bring his best golf game to Monday’s Pro Classic at The Creek at Qualchan Golf Course.
But if the comments he made earlier this week about his recent struggles on the Senior PGA Tour are any indication, golf fans can expect him to bring his sense of humor.
Trevino, who has won 54 titles and more than $10 million on the PGA and Senior PGA Tours, joked about the current condition of his swing which has yet to produce a victory in 16 tournaments this year.
He insists he is as physically healthy as he has been since undergoing neck surgery in October of 1994. Yet he has only five top-10 finishes.
“I’ve been kind of searching all year,” he admitted during a telephone interview from his new home in Dallas. “I’m as enthused as I’ve ever been, but I’m just not playing like I did a couple of years ago.
“I wish (the reason) was my health, then I’d have something to blame it on. Physically, I’m 100 percent. It’s my golf game that’s sick - and I can’t find a doctor for it.”
Things aren’t actually as bleak as Trevino suggests.
He has made the cut in every event he has entered. And his 1997 earnings of $375,315 rank 19th on the senior Tour’s money list.
But Trevino, who will turn 58 in December, isn’t used to not cashing a winner’s check. Even last year, when he was bothered by back spasms and a bad knee and earned a Senior Tour career-low $662,753, he managed to win at least one tournament - the Emerald Coast Classic - for the seventh straight year.
With 17 events remaining on this year’s schedule, the streak still isn’t in immediate danger. But Trevino admits he needs to readjust his focus if he hopes to extend it.
Last year Trevino and his wife, Claudia, moved from Jupiter Island, Fla., back to Dallas. The move, coupled with the hassle of enrolling their 8-year-old daughter Olivia in a new school and coping with other problems that arise from a change of residence, has left Trevino with little time to concentrate on golf.
“I really haven’t been into it too much this year, and my scoring shows it,” admitted the two-time U.S. Open champion, who also has a 4-year-son, Daniel, from his second marriage. “I think the main reason is lack of practice. I haven’t had much of a chance to do that this year.”
As the headliner at this year’s Pro Classic, Trevino will compete in a Pro-Am scramble tournament Monday morning, conduct a clinic at 12:30 p.m. and then join 16 other Senior PGA Tour members in the six-hole Tidyman’s Shootout, which starts at 3.
He said he is looking forward to the friendly competition.
“It should be a lot of fun,” he said. “I haven’t been up in the Northwest in four or five years, so it’ll be kind of nice to see those people again. They love their golf as much as anyone else - maybe even more.”
Trevino said he has heard rumblings about the Pro Classic growing into a regular tournament stop on the Senior Tour. And he added those rumblings are part of the reason behind his decision to make the Classic one of about 15 such special events and exhibitions he will do this year.
“We’re trying to get a senior tournament back up there in the Northwest,” Trevino said. “I’ve heard next year that the (Senior) Canadian Open is going to be in Calgary, and then we have a tournament that next weekend in (Park City) Utah.
“Geographically, it could all be put together to where it could become a regular swing through there.”
Pro Classic promoter Toby Steward has not announced any timetable for turning the event into a tournament stop. But Steward has announced that Hal Seward, the Senior PGA Tour’s vice president of business affairs, will attend this year’s Classic.
Trevino thinks such an idea would fly.
“Look at the number of people Pumpkin Ridge drew for the (U.S. Women’s) Open last weekend,” he said. “It was the biggest gallery the Women’s Open ever had. It was tremendous.
“The people up there are kind of starving to see a little professional golf and pick up a few pointers here and there.”
And that’s what Trevino hopes to give the 4,000-plus who are expected to attend the Pro Classic - along with a few laughs.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color Photo
MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: Monday’s schedule 7 a.m. - Gates open 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m. - Pro-Am scramble tournament 12:30 p.m. Lee Trevino Clinic 2 p.m. Washington Water Power Kids’ Clinic 3-5 p.m. Tidyman’s Shootout 5 p.m. Pemco Financial Service Clinic (featuring Bob Brue)