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.
Here's a preview: