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« Punters: Tiger Still 4-1 Heading Into Merion | Main | Video: The Mood For Merion, 16th Hole Flyover »

Trevino! On Merion, Watching The '71 U.S. Open Replay And A Reminder About The Upcoming NBC Documentary

Jaime Diaz has a super Golf World column on the attention Lee Trevino is getting with the U.S. Open's return to Merion. It seems the Merry Mex watched the 1971 rebroadcast and figured out a putting problem that had him using a belly putter.

"Oh man, I didn't remember putting with that style," the familiar voice effused into the phone. "Getting all close to the ball and upright, with my eyes right over it and with my elbows in and my feet pigeon-toed? I guess that was one Wilson 8802 I didn't bend flat."

Trevino made a series of big putts on the back nine of the playoff and recently told Golf Digest that for the rest of his career he searched to regain the feel he had on the greens at Merion. So he could only laugh at how he could have strayed from a method so distinct and successful. "The day after watching it I went right out and copied myself," he said. "My yips went away! Forty years too late, but at least I got rid of the belly putter!"

In the June Golf Digest, Trevino filed a My Shot with Guy Yocom full of all sorts of great anecdotes. Trevino's comments about '71 sound especially prescient as the course gets hit by a tropical storm.

MERION IN 1971 was so penal. The setup was so hard. The rough was Merion bluegrass, a strain I hear was discovered by a superintendent there. It was thick, and because it rained early in the week, wet. It held the moisture and never did dry out completely. Then there were the bunkers, known as "the white faces of Merion." I didn't think the sand itself was that difficult to play from, but the bunkers were surrounded by long, unmanicured grass that was wild and scary looking. They triple-cut the greens twice a day, and the looks on players' faces when they hit their first few putts was something to see. The course was very intimidating. Even though it was a big field, most players had no chance. Between the visual end and the fact it played as hard as it looked, I knew I didn't have to beat as many players as usual.

Finally, big DVR Alert: Lee Trevino "An American Champion" is set to make a NETWORK debut on NBC Sunday at 5 p.m. ET, with a re-broadcast on Golf Channel Monday, June 17 at 10 p.m. ET.

Actor Andy Garcia narrates the Israel Herrara-produced and Aaron Cohen-written documentary.

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Reader Comments (19)

Great Stuff!! Nice to hear of someone getting rid of the belly putter.

He says in 71 they "triple cut the greens, twice a day" What does this mean? one triple cut in the morning and one at night?
06.7.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPress Agent
As we head to the last 3 Majors at Merion...Muirfield... and Oak Hill, remember that Trevino won majors at all 3 venues!!! That should say something about the type of play required to be successful.
06.7.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPerspective
That Golf Digest story was great. And the story about the irons from Australia that he ruined, well, I wonder who that guy was that supplied the clubs.
They don't make them like Lee any more.....

06.7.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDick Mahoon
What a good way to start the day!
06.7.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKLG
Jaime Diaz almost never writes a bad column.
06.7.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSari
If I could play a round with any golfer living or dead, Lee Buck is the choice.

Lee, you can talk, I'll listen.
06.7.2013 | Unregistered CommenterTighthead
Thanks, Geoff, I have it set to record.
Lee is one of my all time favorites. I was always sorry he didn't have more success at Augusta. I've read it didn't fit his game, but he had the game to adapt to any course.

In the pantheon of golf's giants he is truly unique, an original.
Self made man. Self made swing.
06.7.2013 | Unregistered Commentergov. lepetomane
Thanks for the postings Geoff. I'm a big fan of Lee Trevino. So much talent, so much character, the anti-thesis of golf's privileged background/history but contributed so much to this game with his playing and personality. I would have loved for the US and European tour to be more integrated back then to allow Lee Trevino and Ballesteros to play together more often. I just don't see the like of their 1-club match in Britain happening now with the current pros.
06.7.2013 | Unregistered Commenternguyenvuminh
Just great stuff. Perspective, thanks for a great bit of majors trivia for this year.
06.7.2013 | Unregistered CommenterF. X. Flinn
Don't you just wish there were more guys like this around today? Hardscrabble upbringing, homemade swing, armor plated mental game, and an endearing, gracious personality. Great story, great ending.
06.7.2013 | Unregistered CommenterGinGHIN
Can only imagine the excitement that a player of Lee's background and personality would bring in the current era. And sad that it seems highly unlikley. More of an exclusionary/country club game than ever before.
06.7.2013 | Unregistered Commenterjeff
Was lucky enough to caddie at the 86' US Open and for a kid in college in love with the game what an experience to have my buddy hitting balls on the range next to Trevino and Ballesteros. Trevino was holding court for about 6 or 7 players( I remember Norman and Floyd but can't recall the others) and their caddies about having to pay for a wedding and how it was killing him because it was so expensive. He was like a natural comedian and the language was rough but the stands, filled with fans, were far enough away that no one could hear a word. Then we played a practice round and were next on the tee when Trevino and a few others(don't remember exactly the others but I think one of them was Jim Thorpe) basically walked right up, said hi to everyone and pegged it in the ground. It was hilarious and for some reason none of the guys in the group were upset. Anyway, I had never seen a pro, Norman included, hit a driver more solid than Trevino. The sound was beautiful and I had always heard he played a big slice but the ball actually started out as a draw and then dropped right. No reason he couldn't of won the Masters; much more mental than physical.
06.7.2013 | Unregistered Commenterol Harv
At one of his last Masters I watched Lee Trevino hit wedges on the old range while entertaining Herman, who played along with the crowd, which was close enough to hear. 10 shots, 100 yards each, dispersal pattern in a 4-foot radius. I suppose they all can do that, but it was sweet to watch. And even better to hear the ball come off the clubface.
06.7.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKLG
Dick Mahoon

The clubmaker in Sydney at the Slazenger factory was Sandy Faickney (sp) Slazenger had a deal with Palmer,Nicklaus, Player and Devlin to play their clubs in Australia and he made them all.
A friend of mine caddied for Trevino in that 1969 tournament at Yarra Yarra (the one where he shot -16 and lost to Devlin in a playoff) and Trevino gave him a matching set. They were amazing looking irons - perfect - and Slazenger turned them into a best selling model down here. They eventually rebranded them as Dunlop Australian Blades - and they became huge sellers.
06.7.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike Clayton
Shortly after his Open win, Trevino played an exhibition match against Bernard Gallacher, at a course just outside Edinburgh. A car load of us from my club headed over to see the match. Trevino was in great form, never stopped talking from the first tee to the 18th green, and he hit those power fades and just made the golf ball talk. We were unaccustomed to the non-stop chatter, indeed we didn't even know he was Hispanic, just another well tanned American!!

We all enjoyed the match, weren't quite sure what we'd just witnessed, but knew it was special.
06.7.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdgs

Thanks for that, I believe I've heard my father-in-law (he's from Wagga) talking about this clubs before. I like collecting old clubs, I'll have to keep an eye out for them on my next trip to Aussieland.

06.7.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdmahoon
My brother has a dusty set of Autrailian blades he takes out to the range a few times a year and that is the extent of his golf, nice sticks.
06.7.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPABoy
The story about the kid falling out of the on the 18 th at Merion is just too funny. After the putt, he asked if he was ok. Loved that!
Trevino is just a great story teller, I've got to read his books.
06.7.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKG
@Mike Clayton: Many thanks for the info behind the "Aussie Blade" irons...shame they're not around today. Also miss seeing the classic look of Golden Ram, Sounder, and even those Yamaha Hal Sutton grind blades. Works of art...and very functional!
06.10.2013 | Unregistered Commenterjohnnnycz

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