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PGA OF AMERICA ANNOUNCEMENT
April 22, 2019
DARRELL CRALL: I'm Darrell Crall, the PGA of America's chief operating officer, and just to dispel any rumors, this injury did not happen in Frisco nor on future PGA Frisco site. We had hoped to have tee shirts for everyone that say "play more golf, not basketball," but they're not quite ready.
Enough about me. Thank you so much for joining us today as we celebrate PGA Frisco, where we were, where we are, and where we're going, and what started as a simple desire to bring championship golf back to northern Texas, really evolved into a dream, and Frisco is all about dreams, right? It's an amazing community full of potential and opportunity, the greatest place in America to live. It evolved to our headquarters where we will bring our staff so they can enjoy all that Frisco offers, a headquarters where we'll teach and educate our PGA professionals about how to be the best they can be, to deliver the business of the game, a place to develop coaching and player development in a laboratory setting where we can be innovative and make sure there's a place for everyone at every stage of life where they can enjoy this incredible sport.
Also the greatest players in the world will be on our site. We've promised 23 championships in the first 13 years. Some of those trophies are behind me, and more stories to follow.
But any dream takes world‑class partners to become a reality, and boy, do we have world‑class partners, certainly starting with the State of Texas, the City of Frisco, their economic development corporation, their CDC, their independent school district, an amazing group of people led by Mayor Cheney, City Council members, George Purefoy and others.
We also had incredible development partners, with Omni Stillwater Woods, Bob and Blake. Thank you for all that you've done to make this a reality. We're also so thankful for the Northern Texas section. Many members are here today, friends of mine, but specifically Ronny Glanton, the section president, the CEO and executive director Mark Harrison. Their vision, their pathway to Frisco made all of this possible, and we can't wait to share this campus with them, where we'll teach kids and adults alike this incredible sport, this game that we love.
Finally, I want to thank a very good friend and a leader at the PGA of America whose fingerprints are all over PGA Frisco, and that's our honorary president Paul Levy.
Now it's my pleasure to pass the baton. I'll throw it to him gently, a great friend of the game, one of the best interviewers in the sport, my friend and yours from Sirius XM, Dave Marr III. David?
DAVE MARR III: Thanks so much, Darrell. Appreciate it. Yes indeed, the PGA of America, one of the largest working organizations in sports, is moving with its 29,000 members here to Texas. I am personally very humbled and also excited to be part of this transformational event.
Let me just tell you quickly my personal association, my family's association with Texas and Texas golf. My grandfather was a professional in the Texas golf ranks for the PGA of America. He had a son who passed at 14 years old, and my father then had to rely on the PGA of America in the Texas area, Texas section, Texas golf community, to support my grandmother, the four children that were being raised. They could not have become who they became without the Texas community.
Dad would go on to win a PGA Championship. Luckily 1964 before Trevino came on the scene, but he would play in the Ryder Cup. He captained the Ryder Cup, including Lee's 1981 team. He wouldn't have been able to do any of those things without the Texas golf community and without the PGA of America.
So from my perspective, again, deeply personal, this move has taken a long time to get here, the PGA of America, founded in 1916 in New York City where I was born, but I feel like I'm part Texan because of my dad. It took more than 100 years for the PGA of America to find its rightful home, and it is moving here to Texas. I am so thrilled. It's going to be a terrific, terrific move.
Another person that is thrilled about this move, she has been involved with it since she became the first female president of the PGA of America, was dying to be here with us today but is under the weather, is Suzy Whaley. And Suzy, unable to be here with us, but she certainly will be in many more meetings and many more steps to the effort to bring the PGA of America here to Texas.
But joining me here on stage today, two members of the PGA of America vitally important to this whole mix and everything that goes on in the PGA of America, day in, day out and long‑term, starting with the vice president of operations for Troon Golf, the vice president of the PGA of America, Jim Richardson, and the vice president of the PGA of America, Seth Waugh.
So it's very exciting. Jim, we'll begin with you. Can you just tell us about your role representing the association of the PGA of America professionals?
JIM RICHARDSON: Thanks, David. As a PGA member myself, one of the 29,000 men and women around the country that make up our association, very fortunate, you mentioned Paul Levy, our honorary president, Suzy Whaley, who's the current president of our association, myself and our new secretary John Lindert get to represent our members on a national stage in a lot of the meetings and a lot of the work that we do throughout the year as an association with other organizations attached to golf and the industry.
We get to represent the men and women that are so passionate about this game, really the tangible connection, the hands‑on that bring people into the game, their passion about playing it. We have some of the best players in the country, their passion about operating clubs in some of the top country clubs around the country, are passionate about teaching and game and bringing those individuals into it, whether it be juniors for the first time that are experiencing golf, women, bringing them into the game, golf in school programs, bringing kids from inner cities in, really passionate about growing the game on all levels.
I'm very fortunate and humbled that I get to represent the 29,000 in that way. We can't be more excited to actually bring same passions that our members have to the project here in Frisco when we move headquarters to Frisco, Texas.
DAVE MARR III: Well, as we take a look at this next slide right here, it can get a little confusing in the game of golf, with all the organizations that are involved one way or another with running it, can you explain who the PGA of America is and who it is not.
JIM RICHARDSON: Golf is a little bit of alphabet soup these days with all the organizations. We get confused quite often with the PGA TOUR, those that you see playing the game almost every weekend on television. It's understandable. Seth gets mistaken for Rickie Fowler on occasion. I think it's the hair, I'm not quite sure.
SETH WAUGH: It's all about the swing.
JIM RICHARDSON: But we're two different organizations. Again, we're an association of 29,000 men and women that really are passionate about growing the game. We have a mission which is serving our members and growing the game. Everything that Seth and our staff is led to do, our board and our officers, is trying to make decisions that are actually going to make sure that we fulfill that mission. What we're working on, the partners that we have, programs that we're dealing with or introducing the industry that's helping support our members, serving them in a way that elevates them and their status in growing the game. I can't imagine anything better than our headquarters moving to Frisco to be able to do that.
Golf is an $84 billion industry, and our members are at the core of that, leading that charge and introducing people, getting them excited about it and to stay in the game. We look for partners that can do that same thing, that can help us energize individuals to get into this great game of golf, that can help us really elevate the status and serve our members in a better way, and can really help grow the game.
So knowing our members and all the education that they have to go through, the training that they have to go through, PGA of America is really positioned to be those individuals in the industry really that quite frankly are the best trained. Hundreds of hours that they go through to become a PGA member. Each PGA member has to take a playing ability test and show their proficiency in playing the game, so not only are we great players, we know the business, and obviously very, very passionate about teaching the game and bringing individuals into it.
Programs, in that photo that you had, David, so proud of PGA Junior League golf. That's just one of the many growth of the game initiatives. The National Championship has been in my hometown in Phoenix the last few years. We're really excited to bring that really to one of the first championships here to the project in Frisco.
So our PGA members around the country are very, very excited about this partnership and the move to Frisco. I'm personally very excited about it. I'm really looking forward to a lot of things about being a national officer and representing our members, but the move of our headquarters to Frisco is at the top of the list.
DAVE MARR III: And these gentlemen are part of the governance of the PGA of America so they've got to talk about all the 41 different sections and territories equally and love them each equally, but I get to brag a little bit about Texas, and now we're talking about teachers. Think about all the great legendary teachers in this state, what they've gone on to do, all the way back to Jack Burke, Sr., Harvey Penick, so many great teachers that taught others. Jack Burke, Sr., taught Jack Grout, who went on to teach Jack Nicklaus. We have some teachers in the room right now who went on to teach major championships, if I could recognize a couple of them.
I know Randy Smith is here. I saw him earlier. He was the teacher of Justin Leonard, who won the Open Championship. Stand and give us a little wave here. Randy supporting us. There you are, as well. Cameron Doan, as well, helped the 2002 PGA champion Rich Beem become a major champion himself. I know Cameron is here, as well. I saw him beforehand. I know Cameron McCormick was trying to make his way here. Not sure if he's been able to do so. Okay, Jordan Spieth has had something to say on golf scene for the past few years, close ‑‑ well, I can't even say a decade; he was about 12 years old back then, but thanks for all you've done, Cameron.
Just to show you, yes, the PGA TOUR is separate from the PGA of America, but I'll tell you, it would be a much different place on the PGA TOUR if PGA of America teachers weren't around to help them do their thing. They teach all of us, 41 sections, 29,000 points of contact that we all have with the game of golf at the grass‑roots level. Can you speak to that just a hair?
JIM RICHARDSON: Yeah, our association, we really dissect and break up the country into those 41 sections. The Northern Texas section, which is based here in North Dallas, and their home will be moving to this project, as well, too. Darrell Crall mentioned it, really without the work and the vision, some individuals from North Texas, Mark Harrison, executive director and CEO and Ronny Glanton and Courtney, their officers, really without their vision, we probably wouldn't be here today. It's one of the most passionate PGA sections that we have in the country, over 870 members.
You see David named some individuals, they barely raised their hands for recognition. I think that's really kind of the core of what PGA members are. They want to give back. They want to see others do well. They want to see kids get passionate about the game and get excited about it, but they don't want to take the credit themselves.
But because of the work that many of the individuals you pointed out, because of the work of the golf professionals from North Texas, we're here today, and all PGA members are going to benefit from it moving forward.
DAVE MARR III: Well, whether it's in television or radio as I am right now, I've spent the last couple decades trying to explain the difference between the Tours and what the PGA of America is all about. Great job there, Jim. I appreciate what you did there.
Seth, you're the grizzled veteran now, having spent a full six months in your position, but prior to taking the CEO position at the PGA of America, wildly successful in the finance industry, working on a number of different boards of great companies, including the PGA of America, but then you decided to make that left turn off of Wall Street and right into our laps here. It's a benefit for us, but why did you do it?
SETH WAUGH: Well, Paul Levy called and I couldn't figure out how to say no. I think you just heard it all, right? If you listen to the video and you listen to Jim's passion and your story, we have a campaign called journeys, right, and I have somehow along the way, I met Eddie Kelly who was the first person who ever gave me what still isn't really a golf swing but enough to get it in the air, and it changed my life. There's certainly, other than my family, been no bigger influence in my life in the last 25 years than the game of golf in a variety of ways. I met my wife on a driving range. I caddied for my son who's trying to do what Lee did so well for a living, and if I think about the relationships that I have either formed through golf or cemented over golf over the years, there's certainly no bigger influence that I've had.
I'm completely honored and flattered to be here. It's a chance to both reinvent myself and give back to something that is important. My parents are both teachers and coaches, and so for me, this is a little bit back to the future.
Jim just alluded to the folks in the room, and the game is full of wonderful, nice people. The association is driven by humility and gratitude, two qualities that didn't exist in the same abundance on Wall Street.
So it's a little bit of a change for me in that form. And it's terrific.
I just think, like everybody‑‑ we have a complicated association, as you pointed out. I think there's a number of things that we can do. I think we should be having and have been having and can have even more impact than any other association in this game that we love so much because we touch it from the beginning to the end. We have an army of 29,000 that if we can mobilize in the right way can impact millions of lives in a variety of ways. If we can make it more welcoming, more inclusive, more available, we can make the game look a little bit more like the world, we can make the world look maybe a little bit more like the game in the form of what we care about, the values that exist, the lessons that are learned, the charitable things that we do.
You just have to go to one PGA Hope event, which is our veterans deal, and we're literally saving lives, right, so what a gift to me, to have a chance to have that.
And so I may have gotten a call from Paul because I have a little bit of a business background. We obviously have a big business. But I took it because of trying to change 29,000 lives, and if we can do that, we can affect millions of lives in all the ways that we care about.
DAVE MARR III: Those lives that you're changing and the ripples that extend beyond them considerable as CEO of PGA of America, but given the timing, maybe even more so now that you're going to be able to impact the future of how we embrace this association for years and years to come. It's a very meaningful ‑‑ could end up being the most meaningful tenure of any CEO of the PGA of America, and along the way you came up with a great description of what's going on now that sort of portends to your future vision, as well. You called it potentially Frisco becoming the Silicon Valley of golf. Can you explain that?
SETH WAUGH: Well, meaningful can cut both ways, right? By the way, Darrell Crall, once again proving that the great ones play hurt. This guy hasn't missed a second from when he did this. So thanks for all that.
I think this is so much bigger than our headquarters and so much bigger frankly than a couple of golf courses, which these guys are going to do an amazing job at. It's really trying to create a community of golf, and Darrell referred to it as a laboratory, a university, and destination not only to play but to learn everything associated with the game. We believe in a lifelong education, and our professionals, the great ones are trying to learn all the time. Cameron, who's here, is coming to speak at headquarters in a couple weeks about just that, how do we make professionals better, because it's the right thing to do, not because of any other reason.
And so the chance to turn this into more than what has ever existed in golf I think is right. If you think about what happened in Silicon Valley, it was a guy named Hewlett and Packard building a computer in their garage, and now it's the biggest engine on the planet in terms of changing the world, right? And that was driven by the location of Stanford as kind of the anchor tenant and that energy that came.
And so we think with what we're building here, which is our headquarters, all of the things that you'll see here tonight plus a retail experience, a golf experience, the resort that our partners are going to build, the surrounding areas that the Hunt family is going to develop, we're going to create an energy about this and a curiosity that we think will end up being this community of golf. The best analogy I could come up with was Silicon Valley because I think it takes some of the same things. That's not because I'm saying it, it's not because we're the anchor tenant, but it has all the factors that exist.
You showed that sign before of how complicated the industry is, and there isn't truly a home of golf in the U.S. or a community of golf. We've got some in New York, you've got some in Ponte Vedra, you you've got us in Florida for now, so I think it's begging for it in the heart of the country. I also think the energy of this place, right, Texas overall is a miracle. Frisco, congratulations to our partners there, it's a miracle. You built a highway and a football field and now you've got the fastest growing city in the country and one of the greatest places to live, right. And so the chance to do it in the center of the country with a diverse group, a workforce, high energy, well‑educated, all of those factors, we have 600 acres of a piece that clay that we can mold into something really special. Every time we come out here, we get more excited. We're daunted because of so much we have to do, but we get more excited about what it can be.
So at first it started as a headquarters and then we started a dream of what it can be for what our mission is, which is serving our members, number one, and secondly, growing, evolving the game. We recently appointed a chief innovation officer because we want to create that DNA internally of thinking forward, kind of where the puck is going, right, and the chance to create an innovation lab here is extraordinary, right.
So we don't say it in an arrogant way about our impact. We don't say it in an arrogant way about this is going to be the U.S. community of golf. But we think if do it right and we think we have all the right partners, whether that be the state, the city and obviously our financial and developmental partners, we should get it done, and that's what we're all about.
DAVE MARR III: So I'm a traditionalist. A lot of golfers are traditional, but sometimes you get mired in tradition, as well. If you're forward thinking, that's where the PGA of America has really separated itself, especially of late, from other governing bodies. Can you look forward into the future and tell us when you open the door to the building, what's it going to look like? Work spaces are evolving as we speak, but what's yours going to look like?
SETH WAUGH: So this is once‑in‑a‑generation, which is an amazing opportunity but also a big obligation, right, and we just talked earlier tonight about how do we make the most adaptable kind of flexible space, right, because the building isn't everything, but it matters. We want it to be timeless. We want to have the best minds around it.
As I said before, one of the most beautiful‑‑ two most beautiful things about Texas which is also why we're so intrigued to be here is that everybody that lives here can't imagine living anywhere else and they kind of want everybody to live here. Took you 100 years to get back, but that's kind of the way it works, and they're such big thinkers. You guys are always looking where the puck is going and how big can it be. Think about what Jerry Jones built. It's the Pyramids, right, in terms of what he's doing, and yet it's an incredible success.
Our partners are just a huge part of that, and so our building, again, we're going to build 100,000 square feet, we're going to make it as great as we can make it, but what's going on outside the building is really more important than that, and luckily we have one of our founding partners here in the Rowlings with Bob and Blake, and I'd love for Bob to get up, one of the favorite sons to get up and help us explain kind of your vision of it. You're the expert. We're just golfers.
DAVE MARR III: Bob Rowling, chairman and CEO of TRT Holdings. Thank you very much.
BOB ROWLING: I just want to tell you, this has been a really‑‑ in my business career, I've never seen a deal more complex and complicated that came together. It took so many people, and Darrell thanked most of them. I'm going to thank you in a minute. But the City of Frisco, the PGA of America, the Stillwater Woods group, there were various parcels of real estate that had to come together. It was complicated. I'll also say, to me it's a once‑in‑a‑generation opportunity. Not many times in‑‑ well, none, basically, does an opportunity come along to do something as transformational as this project is. The number of hours that are going in every week in planning this thing, it's countless hours.
Blake, my son, and my team, Mike Smith is here, Mike McCoy and also with Beau, you guys, I know how many hours our architect firm, SB out of San Francisco, they're here every other week in meetings, and I'll tell you, this thing has gotten better and better. Each iteration it gets better. And it's taken hours‑‑ I'll tell you just a couple of things.
Like the PGA headquarters is here. It started out over here. It was going to be really cramped, and this practice facility I think is going to be‑‑ there's not going to be anything like it. It's three‑sided, tees on three sides. It's going to have a par‑3 course. It's going to be phenomenal. I think it's getting better and better and better.
You know, Omni is a little bit different than most companies. We own and operate our properties. The project overall, if you count the PGA headquarters and the par‑3 courses and the retail area, which is sort of located right here, it's a‑‑ the number is north of $500 million. It's a half a billion dollar project, which is really big for anybody anywhere. I don't think anything like that is going on. When I look around the rest of the United States, first of all, there aren't many golf courses being built in the United States right now, but nothing like this.
Omni loves the resort segment. We have some really good ones, La Costa in California, Homestead, Amelia Island Plantation. This coming Saturday after a year of being closed we're reopening Barton Creek down in Austin. I urge all of you ‑‑ in fact, you all are holding some of your championships there, and I urge all of you to go see it. It's going to be spectacular.
But I don't think anything is going to be better than this. The hotel is going to be‑‑ when we first started out, the hotel was kind of a long, linear, and now it's angled‑‑ this is a big event lawn. These are pools, spa, these are golf villas, and it's really‑‑ as Blake says, it's not baked yet, but it just keeps getting better and better.
I think that when you see this, you're going to be‑‑ we're all going to be‑‑ I promise you, the city of Frisco and the PGA, we're going to knock it out. We really are.
I want to say thank you, and you thanked most of the people, the City of Frisco, but particularly Darrell, Seth, thank you so much, John, all you guys that have worked so hard, and we're excited to be a part of it. Like I say, it's a once‑in‑a‑lifetime deal, and we're so thankful that we could be a part of this project, and we're writing a big check. It's a little scary. It's a big check even for a big company. But we have‑‑ we built this hotel‑‑ Jerry Jones came in and said, he'd actually‑‑ I think the Cowboys had been to play in a game in Nashville and he stayed at our hotel in Nashville and then somehow he stayed over in Fort Worth, and Steven came to us and said, we want to build a hotel at the Star, and we're not even talking ‑‑ we just want to do it with you guys; we want to do it 50/50, and we did. We built this hotel, and this thing has been amazing. It's been Jeff Smith, our GM here, I don't know if Jeff is here or not. Jeff, thank you. They do such a great job. It's like one of the top in terms of service. Everything you measure in terms of the way a customer wants to be treated, our employee engagement scores here, they're all off the charts, and we make a lot of money, which is really great. So it's been a great partnership with Jerry, and we've beat our budget from day one.
You know, I'll say‑‑ I'm talking too long, but when we first heard about your project, Gail was our sales and marketing director. She's general manager at another one of our hotels, but I went to her and said, gosh, these guys are coming and we're talking about building like a 500‑room resort with lots of meeting space like seven miles north of here, should we do it, and she said, absolutely, do it; we can fill it. And this‑‑ the hotel, the success here has really been in the groups. We're getting group after group after group, and that's what it's going to take to fill this hotel. We need to get the group business coming in. I think the PGA will bring a lot of that to us, so we're thankful that‑‑ I want to say thank you again, Darrell and Seth, for bringing us in. We're excited to be a part of this, and you guys have been great partners, and we promise we will be a good partner to you.
SETH WAUGH: I just want to say golf and life is all about partners, and we keep saying the same word, which is really important, we couldn't ask, and so Bob, you had me at hello, but the line that I'll always remember is he said, I've done a lot of these things and every one of them I'm always looking to figure out how to cut a little cost and figure how to do it a little smarter. This one, I'm telling you, I'm going to blow you away. I'm looking for ways to spend more money.
I hope you make a lot on the back end of that, too, so thank you all for this.
DAVE MARR III: It's going to be a special place, and I do believe the groups will come, certainly whether it's junior golfers, other championship golfers, pointing to this place as a goal for them to get to, to Frisco, Texas, because it's big news in America if you end up bringing a major championship to a city. There are parties, celebrations. Seth, you're bringing 26 to Frisco. Tell us about that.
SETH WAUGH: Yeah, so you know, obviously our PGA Championship gets a lot of the play and Ryder Cup, which isn't up here, but that could be in the future, as well, at some point, gets a lot of the play, but we hold amazing championships all the time. We've got our KPMG major, we've got our Kitchen Aid Senior, as well, as well as things across the spectrum, boys and girls junior championships, and our club professional championship, as well, as well as the PGA Junior League, which we talked about before, which we think is one of the coolest things going on in golf.
We started about five years ago with I think about 5,000 or 6,000 kids. It's going to be about 60,000 this year, and we think it'll be 100,000 in a year or two. A couple of other really cool things, too: We hope it'll be 50 percent sometime soon, but it's about 40 percent girls are participating there, and about 25 percent are kids of color. So something really neat is going on there.
If you make golf fun, if you make it accessible, if you make it a team‑oriented, reasonable amount of time‑‑ Jim and I were there last year, my first time ever at the National Championship, if you ever want to be reminded why you do what you do, what you care about, that's here.
And so I say it, A, because I think it's one of the great initiatives for the game, but secondly, we're going to make Frisco the home of that, and so think about Williamsport, right, Little League World Series. We've got a new contract, television contract with ESPN. They couldn't be more excited about changing our‑‑ this event into that, right, which will be another thing that just is a great sort of feel‑good thing.
So for the next 13 years, we're going to have basically a championship or two a year, and we couldn't be more excited. And a little pressure on our guys who I didn't even know they owned ties, but they have them on today. That might mean they're delivering bad news. It's like going to the principal's office.
But this is‑‑ we love to have a home where we can show off 24/7, but also when all the eyes of the world are upon us. So it's great.
Look, I just want to say one last thing, which is I talked about Texas in general, and those of us that aren't from here, it's infectious, and I said to somebody earlier that if this was in New York we would have had 12 people and we certainly wouldn't have Lee Trevino in the front row. Thank you all for coming and for caring so much about this. It's why you guys are doing amazing things in my view, and we really appreciate it.
We're going to be a good neighbor. We're going to be a good partner. It'll take us a little while to get here because we want to do it right, but we couldn't be more excited.
DAVE MARR III: They're also going to bring some bling, like those trophies behind us right there. Between the three of them, ballpark of 250 years or so of major championship competition. One on the far right, you heard Seth talk about the KPMG Women's PGA Championship, all the cool things going on there. The Senior PGA Championship, long before Senior Tour ever came into existence, that was the oldest and most prestigious event in the game of senior golf. First couple were held at Augusta National actually.
And the PGA Championship trophy, the Wanamaker Trophy, year in and year out, it has the most highly competitive field, the best field in terms of top 100 in the field every single year of all the championships in the game of golf.
So guys, let's take a look at the championships you're bringing to Frisco.
DAVE MARR III: A couple guys are on the clock because you know you can't have great championships without great golf courses and two of the best architects in the game are here to try and make that piece of property sing for professionals for centuries to come, so I'll bid it to the two of you.
SETH WAUGH: We just couldn't pick two better folks to do this.
DAVE MARR III: They're here now to tell us how good those courses are going to be. Jim, Seth, thank you so much. Appreciate it. My pleasure now to introduce two of the great architects in the game of golf. We've got Gil Hanse and Beau Welling. Welcome to the stage, guys. Great to have you here. It is something special. You're both certainly well experienced as far as land use, golf course architecture and all that. Gil, let's begin with you. You talk about what you see when you come on out to a flat terrain of golf course. Can be intimidating, can be opportunative? What was it for you when you saw it, inspirational?
GIL HANSE: Well, Seth wasn't joking when he said we have 600 acres of clay to mold because we have 600 acres of clay to mold. It's a site that has tons of potential, but it also has a few issues that we're going to have to work on and get rectified, soil being one of them. We have to do some shaping, some creativity, actually move a little bit more dirt than we would like to, but I think at the end of the day, my partner Jim Wagner and I are always trying to create golf courses that look and feel like they belong there, and this site has some tremendous natural opportunities.
We go through the routing of the east golf course, we've got some wonderful hillsides. We have the opportunity and the routing of the golf course to change direction. We know wind is a key component of golf and the challenge of golf in Texas, so we're going to move around quite a bit, don't play many holes in a row in the same direction. We also on the back nine have I think what will ultimately be one of the better amphitheaters in championship golf. We've got a setting on holes 14, 15 and 16 where we're going to have hillsides above looking down into those, and I think the cauldron of championship golf going through those areas, the people getting excited about it, not quite the amphitheater that we saw at Augusta 10 days ago, but I think there will be some roars that will resonate around this property.
And then we've got Panther Creek, which I think is ultimately the key asset that we can utilize in the design of the golf course, and it's a beautiful stream that meanders through. If you look at the design, we've used it in a number of ways, but I think the most important one will be on the 18th hole. We have intentionally designed a par‑5 finish, so hopefully a lot of exciting things can happen there, but the creek will be a part of the decision making off the tee, second shot, and certainly if you're going for the green in two.
While we've got our challenges to work out there, but we're just generally excited, and after watching all these videos and hearing them, I'm getting a little nervous actually about it.
DAVE MARR III: You mentioned 600 acres of clay. Michelangelo did okay with the clay and the marble that he worked on. What are the world's best golfers when they get out here going to see?
GIL HANSE: Well, I think one of the things we're really going to focus on is giving them different lies, different angles, the ball playing from below their feet, above their feet. It will hopefully feel not like a new golf course but as the best of our abilities we'll create something that looks like it's been there for a long time, and then that's a combination of utilizing native grasses and the roughs, trying to utilize native vegetation in and around the bunkers and the lower areas and just building a more rustic, rugged feeling golf course. Obviously through the green, the fairways, the greens will be maintained to the highest standards, but we're hopeful that in the periphery of the golf course it feels like that golf course was just plugged into a wonderful natural piece of ground.
And one of the interesting things we've been working on here is sort of the convertibility of the golf course, how do you make a golf course that's playable for resort guests and every day, and then how do you ultimately have it turn into something that's suitable for the many championships that are coming, and with the different grass types that are now out there, we'll be able to use a single type of grass through the golf course and we'll be able to move the grassing lines around to accommodate the championships that are coming, which was an interesting exercise on placing hazards and working through that.
DAVE MARR III: Great, a couple championship courses, the east and the west, but also the 10‑hole short course. Tell us about that.
GIL HANSE: Yeah, that actually will probably be the most fun part of this job is we're going to build a 7,600‑yard monster out there, or it can be, and then we're going to build one of the most fun little golf courses around. We've had this great experience at Pinehurst resort. We built a little 10‑acre cradle, and I was out there last week and just watching the way people use it and the way they light up and seeing groups of kids and parents and grandparents with kids and guys on buddy trips out there running around, and building something that will ultimately be user friendly for everybody but you still have to golf your ball if you really want to play it, and I think that convertibility, that sort of hybrid feeling for us will be very exciting, and I think Bob mentioned the changes in the campus and the way‑‑ I think it's phenomenal that the PGA headquarters will be focused primarily on the teaching center, the facilities, and then you'll have a front row seat‑‑ we've got the front yard for the whole headquarters to have kids running around and have grandparents and all these different people using that little golf courses in many different ways. So we're as excited about that as the big course.
DAVE MARR III: I don't know if you're all excited like I am. I want to book a tee time right now, so when are you going to start breaking ground and then open the doors?
GIL HANSE: Well, I think we're going to start sometime a little bit later this year. We're working through ‑‑ as Bob mentioned, it's a complicated process, but we're getting a lot of help from our partners and making sure that we can get in the ground as soon as possible, and we'll start heavy earth moving later this year and then probably start actual golf course fine‑tuning and construction last quarter of this year, beginning of next year. Obviously we've got the clocks running. We've got 23 coming pretty quick.
DAVE MARR III: Beau, obviously you talked about you're designing the west course. I talked to Gil there about some of the challenges maybe, some of the opportunity, as well. When you first saw the land, what was your first takeaway?
BEAU WELLING: Yeah, very similar to Gil. It's a very naturalistic site with Panther Creek going through it. It does have some elevation change to it, does have some flat spots to it. So you certainly see opportunity. You see challenges. But I think we're big believers in how do you take challenges and turn those into something opportunistic. The west course has the highest point on the property as well as the lowest point, and we have golf holes that will play down from that high point down to the low point fairly quickly. So I think you really sense that elevation change.
It gets low because it gets down into a floodplain, but to solve some of those issues, I think there's really a real opportunity there in terms of the creation of habitat and you can sort of see on that drawing there these created wetlands that will happen.
So as Frisco develops and as urbanity comes in, this is going to be a respite, an oasis in the middle of this very naturalistic, looking like a prairie‑type site. So I think we're really super excited with Gil about all of that.
But to specifically answer your question, I can barely remember what I thought about the site when I first came because I was so excited about what this presented. I've been fortunate to be around a lot of great projects in the course of my career, and it was sort of greens, tees and bunkers that really got me involved because I was a player. But the more I'm around the game and around projects, it's projects that really bring people together and create this community like Seth talked about, those are the ones that I really get super excited about.
I grew up in Greenville, South Carolina, at the Greenville Country Club. We were fortunate to have a short course. We had an older course, and then we had a really top‑100 level golf course, and so you see real distinct levels at that facility, and I recognized that opportunity here. I look back to my youth and the relationships that I developed and how I developed in the sport, the facility was a big part of that. It was PGA professionals running programs on this facility that allowed this great community to happen.
I look at these videos and you see Jordan Spieth, Tiger Woods, Jim Nantz, Seth all talking about the impact of PGA professionals on their life, not on their game, not on how they swing but on their life. And so I think that to me is what is so radically special about this opportunity that we have, is to create this environment that is going to be‑‑ have these trophies be contested for, but the day‑in and day‑out impact, the opportunity that exists for the game is so special and so meaningful. I feel like I've got to wear a tie, right? This is a big‑‑ take a picture because this doesn't happen very often.
But seriously, with this being located in the center part of the country, 29,000 members being able to get here very easily, we're going to be able to make a huge‑‑ the PGA of America is going to have a huge impact on its members but the network effect of that on everybody else is so substantial and so great, it's like all of that was just starting to twirl around in my mind when I first came to the site, and it's only just gotten bigger and bigger and bigger. So I'm just so excited. At one point, Darrell said, hey, if you can't be involved in this whole thing, is there a part that you'd like to be involved in, and I was like, I'll design the parking lot. This place is just going to be so awesome, it's just something I have to be involved in.
DAVE MARR III: You talk about your commitment to family golf, junior golf, as well, the sense of community, the golf course, what the PGA of America brings to the game and to a community, as well, is there anything about that that informs say your philosophy in terms of designing a golf course and how you might play a hole?
BEAU WELLING: Sure, and I think Gil shares a very similar thing. We're believers in wits. We want people to go have fun, go play, different levels, to be able to play and play together. I want to be able to here come with my mother who's not as good a player as me and us have fun together, and so to create places and spaces to be able to do that, you can still challenge the best players in the world looking to score and protect par and contest them with the way you place hazards, the way you design green contours, but the totality of being able to do this, to get people here, being together, a sense of community gathering, I think golf is recreation. It still needs to remain to be fun and it needs to be fun for all different levels, whether you're beginner starting to learn the game, or you're one of these players contesting for one of these championships. The fact that that can all happen on the site is going to be remarkable, and I commend the PGA for making this big, bold step because this is going to be very meaningful, have major impact on our sport.
And you know, why do you grow the game? The game is centered around values, it's centered around culture, camaraderie, integrity, honor. These are all things that we need as people and that we need in this country, and so I think this project is going to be absolutely spectacular, and I'm just so thankful to have the opportunity to be a part of it.
DAVE MARR III: Well, appreciate it, and I'm not sure if each of you guys know, but you can trade your ties for some coveralls and they've got two tractors waiting in valet parking downstairs because you boys are on the clock right now. You'd better get going. Thanks so much for what you do and what you're doing.
Now we have a special treat. It's a treat ‑‑ not that the others weren't special, but this one is one if you're a fan of the game of golf or life, mentorship, as well, and what it means to the overall development of people and of community, as well, we'll have a couple of minutes, maybe more now, to chat with two people in the game of golf. It's a legendary relationship, both legendary PGA of America members, both in the PGA of America Hall of Fame, as well. One is one of the great PGA professionals and teachers. His tree has limbs that go on forever, the leaves, some of which are here in the room right now. He is someone who found a young man who needed some guidance, needed some help to get on the TOUR. That man went on the TOUR and won so proficiently in so many different ways with such character and personality, it just captured us all when he was doing so. So ladies and gentlemen, two amazing PGA of America professionals, World Golf Hall of Fame member Lee Trevino and his mentor Bill Eschenbrenner.
Great to have you guys here. Always special to have you here. As we sit here and chat with the two of you, first I think what we need to do is maybe get to know him just a little bit better, what you wrought on the golf world. Let's take a little peek behind the scenes at Lee Trevino.
DAVE MARR III: Lee Trevino came on our stage as that unbelievable talent, fantastic knowledge of the game, and understanding that very few if anybody else ever had, but you saw him before we all did. What did you see first in Lee Trevino?
BILL ESCHENBRENNER: Well, there was a couple things that I saw were pretty strange. I've never seen anybody shuffle their feet around, and as they're shuffling their feet around, take the club back and hit it to the right of where their feet are aiming, and Lee always said, the game is not parallel. It's not parallel lines. It's a V. You came over here, you hit it over there.
I tried it and I still can't do it, but it works for him.
And the other thing, I had a hard time when there's a guy talking and then hitting his shot while he's talking. It sort of reminded me of a story of when he was playing Tony Jacklin at Wentworth in the finals there and Tony walked by and said, Lee, I just want to let you know I'm not going to say much, I'm going to kind of stay quiet. Lee said, that's okay, I'll say enough for both of us today, it won't be a problem.
But the one thing that I saw was so exacting was that I was fortunate enough to grow up in Fort Worth and watch Ben Hogan hit thousands of golf balls at Colonial, and when I saw Lee, I said, that's the first time I've ever seen anybody through the hitting area that looked like Ben Hogan, and that was the fact that the back of the left hand was going down the target line and it never did release over, just stayed there and never released over. And he also created a nice shot, a little straight shot with a little fade at the end, and when I saw that, I wanted to help him get that card because I knew he should be on the PGA TOUR. I knew there was no other player that could hit that shot every time. That's what my goal was to get him out there. And also I wanted to get him out there because he was beating us in every one of our section tournaments and I wanted him to get out of there.
DAVE MARR III: Lee, how important was Bill as a PGA of America professional to getting you out on the PGA TOUR to win all those majors?
LEE TREVINO: He's the one that did it all. There's two people that I owe my whole life to, my career and my life now belong to that little lady that's setting over there. But two people in the beginning, and there's two that really put me where I'm at today. There's no joke of where I came from. I used to pick the cotton when I was three years old in Raleigh, Texas. I used to see this property here and it was all cotton. They ran cattle and what have you, and I never thought I was going to be able to do this.
I actually didn't start playing golf until I was about 19 years old in Marine Corps, and I didn't even pursue it when I got out of the Marine Corps. I actually went to work at the Columbian Club, which is now Maridoe just down the road, and I went to work there in 1961 rebuilding a new nine holes. I was on the construction crew there. I was 21 years old, already served four years in the Marine Corps in the Pacific. I was a machine gunner heads, old 331, if there's any jarheads in here.
DAVE MARR III: You couldn't go in at 17 years old.
LEE TREVINO: Went in when I was 17.
DAVE MARR III: You had to lie to get in, didn't you?
LEE TREVINO: I didn't lie to get in there, but Dallas's best told me I'd better go in there because we had borrowed some hubcaps, and they said, how old are you. I said, 16. He said, when are you going to be 17. Pretty soon. I'll never forget it, it was December the 6th before Christmas. He said, I think you'd better go to San Diego, and they threw me on a plane and I ended up in the Marine Corps for four years. I'd buy the guy a house, that cop that put me in there if I could find him. But anyway, that's how I got started.
And I never pursued it. I never pursued it. But what I did is when I got out, I went to work at the Columbian Club, and after we built the greens and what have you and I just wanted to tell these great architects here, we used to build greens with a shovel. We'd mix the peat moss and the sandy loam and the sand, and we'd make a seed bed of 18 inches. We would seed it. We'd put oat straw on top to get the bent to come through, and then we'd have to pick the oats off after we got the straw off, and that's the way we built golf courses.
I helped weld the nine‑hole irrigation system, 44‑foot 4‑inch galvanized pipe and put the risers in. I mean, I'd go home at night and put potatoes on my eyes from burning, from my eyes burning.
And then I got pretty good. I started gambling with the crew and I started getting a little better and I started making more money gambling with the crew than I was making working. So I said, you know, if I really practiced at this, I might make a little bit‑‑ I might make more money. So now I went crazy. I'd get off work, I'd go home, I'd go find I'd practice until dark. I did everything I could. And I'll never forget it, one Saturday morning I went out to hit some balls, and the first fairway at the Columbian Club hadn't been mowed, and I went to the maintenance barn and I got a tractor and I hooked up a gangmore, and I mowed the first fairway early in the morning, and the reason for it is because I didn't want the members to come and play if that fairway hadn't been mowed.
And I mowed the fairway, put the stuff up and I went ahead and hit balls. Well, I was mowing the fairway, a guy comes across the fairway, leans on the tire and said to me, he said, listen, you've been coming out to this driving range on Lover's Lane in Greenville hitting balls. He said, You look like you could be pretty good. And I said, Pretty good at what? He said, at playing. I said, really. He said, yeah. He said, Are you going to do this the rest of your life? I said, Well, I don't know, I'm 21 years old, man, I'm drinking a little beer and having a good time. I don't know what I'm going to do.
So I went to work for him, Hardy Greenwood. He was a PGA member, and I went to work for him out there. He had a driving range and a short golf course, and I ran one on odd days, even days I'd switch, and I practiced. I went to work at 2:00, got off at 10:00. So I'd practice all day, hit balls, play the par‑3 with a wedge. That's where I got so good with a wedge and that's what I did.
And so I started getting better and better and then I started playing these pro‑ams, and I started shooting‑‑ winning all the pro‑ams. I won a pro‑am in Glen Gardens one here where Mr.Hogan and Mr.Nelson was ‑‑ we used to caddie, I shot 61, 11‑under on Monday at Diamond Oaks. In '66 is when I got really my start, when they started recognizing me. I went there to play in a pro‑am and I won‑‑ I shot 65 ‑‑ Mr.Nelson was there playing behind me. I shot 65 in the morning, and they wanted to know if I wanted to play in the afternoon, and I won the pro‑am in the morning. I played in the afternoon and I shot 66 and I won that division, also. I won both sides of it.
And then they started saying, who the hell is this guy, who the hell is it. And that's how I got to meet this guy. This guy took me under his wing after that, and he says, you know, you've got a hell of a lot of potential here if you really set your mind to it.
And we started practicing, and at the time I was trying to get my PGA card and I was not successful here in Dallas getting it. So when I went out there, Bill was gracious enough to take application and do whatever, and he went to the Sun Country section, and he went to bat for me, and he says, this kid here has worked under a Class A professional for four years. He went to the business school two weeks in Chicago, and he says, he deserves to have a Class A card. And that's the only way you could play the TOUR at the time, the PGA TOUR.
I got my card. I finished fifth at Baltusrol in '67 in the U.S.Open. I qualified here at DAC, and I went to New York at Baltusrol. Nicklaus won the tournament, I finished fifth. Finishing fifth I got five invitations to play in tournaments, and I took off and I played, and at that time the PGA had a rule that if you're a PGA member and you played in the tournament and you made the cut you were automatically in the next week, and I made 13 cuts in a row.
I won Rookie of the Year, which they gave me. I wasn't supposed to qualify for Rookie of the Year because I think you're supposed to have played 16 tournaments. I didn't play‑‑ there wasn't any more tournaments to play. I played every one of them. So they gave me Rookie of the Year, and I finished 47th on the Money List. I won $33,000.
And so I finished 47th, and then the next year, I won the U.S.Open, and the PGA and the USGA together had a rule that if you won a PGA tournament, you won a major PGA‑‑ U.S.Open or the PGA before 1970, you had a lifetime exemption. So not only did the PGA of America give me my life, this guy right here has been in my corner my whole life right here. Doesn't get any better than that.
But you're talking about‑‑ it's so funny, about how Bill says because there's some great teachers in the room and how Bill says that everything was a V with me, and it was a V. It was a V. And the guy says, well, where is‑‑ where are you aiming. I said, I'm aiming third base, and he said, well, where are you swinging to. I said, I'm swinging to first base. And then he says, well, where is the ball going. I said, it's going to second base. Every time I hit it, it does that.
I was a mechanic. If I couldn't hit a 4‑iron 67 yards and stop it on the green and hit it high, then you would see me there all day. I would hit every club I had in my bag, I could hit on the green. I could hit a driver 70 yards with a fade up in the air and stop it on the green because I monkeyed around with it. I kind of just‑‑ I'd just kind of do funny things with it.
My son right now wants to be a player. He can play. He can hit it really well. He's working as hard as anybody I've ever seen. The thing that's hard, as everyone knows, their son is not going to‑‑ he's not going to listen to you that much. I love this kid to death, and I love‑‑ he has work ethics like I've never seen before. He's really at it, you know. He's going to make it. I guarantee you he'll make it because he's not going to‑‑ that's the way he is, and I'm so proud of him. But I get out there, and he's hitting 8‑irons, and he's hitting 8‑irons where I'm hitting a 4‑hybrid, you know.
But my 4‑hybrid I can hit 100 yards and I can hit it 180, and I can hit it 155. His 8‑iron, there it is. And I tell him, I said, how many of those have you already hit. He said‑‑ and I said, can you hit that club 60 yards up in the air with a fade? And he says, I don't have to, I've got a wedge.
But we learned to play with different clubs. I learned to play with the back of the left hand. I hooked the ball when I started, but I realized that I couldn't find it, so I started doing this. These great architects will tell you, you wouldn't be able to play this way now because they guard the front of the greens. There's no more bump‑and‑run. The greens now are not coming at you in the old Donald Ross style with the bunkers on the right. Everything went to the center. If you look at an old Donald Ross golf course after it's rained, you see a river in the middle of it. There's always a river in the middle of it to drain because they built them this way. That's just what they did back then. Today it's all different.
But I learned to play with the back of the left hand, back of the left hand. Didn't have to hit it 500 yards. These guys ‑‑ I saw Tim Burke the other day hit a drive 485 yards and won the long drive contest. He's a buddy of mine up from Orlando. I know the ground was hard, I know the wind was behind him, but come on, 485? That's just unbelievable.
The game is in a great spot right now. Professional golf‑‑ I wished I was younger. I'd have to change my swing and the way I played to play today because I'd have to hit it longer, number one. I'd have to hit it higher, number two. And the way that I learned to play, I didn't have that. I learned to play down on the ground because I'm from Texas. I had this‑‑ everything here.
As I tell everybody today, as I told them in an interview earlier, if you come to Texas to play this golf course, make sure you have a strong grip because the wind is going to blow, and when the wind blows you've got to keep the ball down. It's very difficult. As I've gotten older ‑‑ for some of you older guys that are out there, as I've gotten older, I've realized that I've had to go weaker with the right hand, and the reason I've gone weaker with the right hand is to keep the ball from going left simply because I don't move as fast as I used to. My body is slower, so I'm crossing over. I can't hold the angle as long as I used to. But it's in great position.
The PGA of America has done something that probably should have been done a long time ago and was never done and Bill will tell you, all the teachers now, seminars, we have TrackMan, we have Quad, we have so many ways of fitting you. You can buy driver‑‑ you go buy a driver for $500, it's got an $8 shaft in it. That's all I can tell you. It's got an $8 shaft. If you think for one second‑‑ if you think you're going to get a Diamana Blue in the next Callaway that you buy, you've got another thing coming because that Diamana Blue is going to cost you $400, just the shaft. You understand.
So when you go buy a driver, do one thing: If you like the head, whomever is fitting and fitting you for shafts, you go get this driver fitted for the right shaft, and this is where this game has gone to. It's in a great spot. It's in a great position right now.
It's absolutely unbelievable. I look at these youngsters, they have such an advantage, but it's so competitive now. When I was playing, we had the American Tour, and then we had Great Britain. Great Britain played five months, and they put their clubs up. That's what they did. That's why we killed them in the Ryder Cup. They had players that could play with us. They didn't have a bench, but they had five players that could play with us always. They always had five great players, six. Their bottom six were not as strong.
And then Europe comes in and all these guys start coming in and it's gotten more competitive. Why? Simply because there's more tours now. There's the Asian Tour and there's‑‑ there's tours everywhere, African Tour, now there's down in South America there's a Tour. The players are‑‑ there's just so many players.
DAVE MARR III: So you didn't have to play against anybody then?
LEE TREVINO: No. Well, I played against a blond‑headed guy and I can't remember his name.
DAVE MARR III: He's got four runner‑ups to you.
LEE TREVINO: But I'll tell you something, you didn't want a steady diet of him.
DAVE MARR III: He didn't want a steady of diet of you either. You were the guy he looked up to on the leaderboard.
LEE TREVINO: I was lucky enough to beat him a couple times. But I'll tell you something, he could hit it‑‑ if he would have played today with the equipment that they have, he'd be chipping back on the par‑4s (laughter). I mean, I don't know if you‑‑ anyone here remember the PGA here in '73? He won a long‑drive contest in 1984 or somewhere in there. You look it up. He's got a persimmon head driver, 42‑inch shaft, X shaft that weighed 140 grams, 11‑degree loft on the persimmon head, K 2 ball, which is the old Titleist ball. Look it up, he hit it 3‑‑ I don't remember what he hit it at the PGA. They used to have a long‑drive contest, and he hit it 3‑something. It's amazing how far he could hit it, and he could take a 1‑iron‑‑ I showed Eschenbrenner today a 1‑iron that I kept. I have a Tommy Armour 1‑iron. Let me tell you something, they make a 50‑cent piece bigger than this club. This head is about this big, and he could hit it nine miles straight up in the air.
And putt? Nobody putted better than Jack Nicklaus, and it was his method. It's the way he did it. He got down like this, he couldn't cock the wrist anymore. You see this? You see he couldn't cock it anymore, and so he got‑‑ he's got his forearm parallel to the ground. His hips were 45‑degree angle left of target, his shoulder is parallel with the line, and then he'd just pump the 4‑iron, and he just had a cylinder, and that was it.
And he stood over it forever. I could (snoring noise), I'd stand there and you know me, we're good friends. I said, I just need to ask you a question: What in the hell are you thinking of? How can you do that, stand there so long? He says, You know something, Lee, he says, nobody ever thinks about this. He says, Once I get the putter on line, I know that I'm on line, and he says, until my mind is 100 percent sure that I want to take this putter back, he says, I don't move. He said, that's why sometimes it takes me longer than other times. He said, I'll stand there.
And you know I went out to the putting green the other day, and I've been jumping a little bit. I've had it in here and over here, and I've had it everywhere, and I'm jumping a little bit, and I said, you know, I'm going to go out there, and I went out to my putting green and I got down, and I said‑‑ and I just stood there, and then I went‑‑ my mind said it's time to go, and when it said it's time to go, it just‑‑ but then when I get under competition, it'll jump, it'll jump just like that.
DAVE MARR III: It didn't when you needed to.
LEE TREVINO: The only advice that I've ever given the PGA is because they were having a hell of a time with this anchoring. You know they're still anchoring. What the hell, you watched that tournament last week (laughter). They've got a scar on their chest and there's a scab on their chest right here. They say, oh, no. They put the word "intent" in there. I call it a Trump word, "I didn't intend to do that." Intent. "I didn't intend to touch."
But I tried to tell them a long time ago, I don't know why you guys are having all these committee meetings and whatever about what to do with this putter. It's real simple of what to do with it, just make it the shortest club in the bag. The putter has got to be the shortest club in the bag. And then you cover all bases. You know? If a guy wants a putter 40 inches long, his pitching wedge‑‑ sand wedge has got to be 40 inches long. It's got to be the shortest club in the bag, you understand?
I mean, it's just‑‑ I don't know how‑‑ y'all do that? What time do y'all do those decisions? You might do it after a cocktail party.
DAVE MARR III: The USGA and the R&A get together and we don't know what happens after that.
LEE TREVINO: I'll tell you, it's real simple. I'd still like to see that. I'd still like to see the shortest club in the bag.
DAVE MARR III: It's a great solution. You've had so many different solutions to so many problems, problems that maybe didn't exist until the future. You've also created a lot of traditions within the game, whether it be skipping the ball over the 16th pond there at‑‑
LEE TREVINO: I did that at Augusta.
DAVE MARR III: Here's the thing, on practice rounds the crowds just roars and gets people to skip it across the green on the par‑3, 16th. You started that‑‑
LEE TREVINO: I did it on Saturday (laughter).
DAVE MARR III: There you go.
LEE TREVINO: I did it in the tournament.
DAVE MARR III: Did they like that?
LEE TREVINO: Cliff Roberts and I didn't get along very well anyway. But it rained and the water was up level, it was on the putting surface. It was beautiful. Looked like glass. So I said to Herman, I said, give me the 1‑iron. I had a 1‑iron that they had made me in Sydney, Australia. I loved that thing. And Sydney says, Don't go crazy, Lee. He said, Don't go crazy. I said, No, give me the 1‑iron. I'm gonna skip this ball. He said, You're going to skip it where? I said, I'm going to put it on this green, and I swear to you I hit this ball, and I go, boom, and that ball didn't get that high off the ground and it went over there and it landed about the middle of that lake and it goes up on the green, I two‑putt for 3 (applause).
Now, listen to this, now I'm the one that started the shot on 17 at the TPC in Sawgrass. The first year they're having it, there were 86 balls in the water first round. First round, 86 balls. We were looking for Pete Dye. We had a noose, we had everything. We were going to hang him in the locker room. The green was hard as a brick; you couldn't keep it on that green. But in the practice round I was practicing with‑‑ they had coveralls on, the caddies, and Herman was a good player, and the pin was kind of center back, and I let Herman hit an 8‑iron. I said, You've gotta be the first caddie to hit a ball here, and he can't want to do it. I got him to hit the 8‑iron. He hit the flag. He hit the 8‑iron, it took two bounces and hit the pin. It almost went in the hole, and now the caddies do it all the time.
But I did a lot of crazy things. At Augusta, I did one‑‑ I was playing with George Archer. I remember I was telling this story the other day, I was playing with George Archer, and we came to 16 and it had been raining a long time, and the problem, you had no‑‑ the green had that much water on the whole thing, and we're on the green, and they're trying to finish the round. They don't want to postpone the round. You know they've got all these radios and the men in the green coats and he's pushing me and telling me to play. I said, I can't putt. I can't move the ball anywhere around the green because there's water. And he says, No, they told me that you've got to‑‑ we've got to finish.
I said, no, you don't understand, I said, I can't. So they had some PGA officials there, and one of the PGA officials comes over and tells this guy in the green jacket, he says, No, he doesn't have to putt unless you squeegee this green, and so the guy says, No, he's going to have to putt.
I said, well, I'll tell you what, you'd better call up and get some sandwiches because we're going to be here a while. I'm not putting. So George Archer gets nervous, and George Archer hits his first putt and it goes about 12 feet. You understand, he had a 30‑footer and he hits it again and it goes about 18 feet. And then he makes about a four‑footer for a three‑putt. Well, that is the hardest thing I'd ever had to do is once they squeegeed it and I wouldn't putt was to two‑putt. Man, I was choking like a dog. They said, You've got to two‑putt this thing, and I two‑putted it.
But that wasn't what they got angry about. When they really got angry is on 12 when I took the wedge out and fished six balls out of that creek. And the group on the tee was waiting on me.
DAVE MARR III: Other stories, fact‑checked stories, people say Trevino said this, did this, and it can never be true, yet it's always true. Dave Stockton was telling me about the 1968 U.S.Open, fifth in the '67 U.S.Open, that stretch of made cuts that you played all those tournaments in 1967. But in '68 he's got a chance to win the U.S.Open. Dave Stockton is up on the practice tee, watching before the round trying to see what this new kid is all about, and he's got one club going. He's thinking, this is the strangest setup I've ever seen for a major championship. A guy is going out there but he's playing well, so maybe there's something to it, maybe this will help my warmup. Is it true and what were you doing?
LEE TREVINO: It's true. What did he say?
DAVE MARR III: He said when he asked what your deal was, you kind of looked around and said, I got this one‑club match back in Dallas‑‑
LEE TREVINO: Yeah, it was in El Paso I had a one‑club match the next day after the U.S.Open, so I was practicing. I was practicing shots with my 4‑iron, cutting them about 60 yards this way and stuff, hitting little hooks, seeing how far I could hit it. Listen, Darrell Royal said something one time that has a lot of merit to it, he said, you've got to dance with who brung you. You understand? Once you get there, if you're looking for it, you're a dead man. You're a stone dead man.
There's more instructors than there are players when you see a major championship, and no disrespect to these guys. If you don't get your man ready when he gets there, then there ain't no sense in you going. You can forget it. He got to be ready when he gets there. I mean, that's like a fight, oh, don't worry about it. Man, he ain't laid a glove on you. Goddamn, I can't see out of either eye. What the hell are you talking about?
BILL ESCHENBRENNER: Another great story on Lee, when he went to the British Open, you couldn't take Herman, so he had to take a caddie from over there. So they're on the very first hole and Lee says, how far is it? He said, Laddie, it's a 7‑iron. Lee said, No, no, I've got to know how far it is. He said, It's a 7‑iron. So Lee has two other balls in his pocket, so he drops them out there, grabs a 5‑iron out of the bag, hits this nice cut up there about 10 feet from the hole. Takes out another ball, gets his 9‑iron, hits this big wide hook, comes running in there about 15 feet from the hole, and then he took it a 7‑iron and knocked it on the green, and said, Don't ever tell me what club to hit.
LEE TREVINO: You know, the first time Herman ever caddied for me I went in the trees at Pensacola Country Club, first hole was a dogleg right and I didn't fade it, it went in the trees. I'm in the trees pretty good, and we would go in the trees and I got look and I gotta hook this ball about 40 yards, and I've got to hit it about 135, and I said, give me the sand wedge, I'm going to hook it out of here. He said, you're going to do what? I said, I'm going to hook it out of here. And I hit low duck hook out of those trees. At Pensacola Country Club the ball is going to run 50 yards. And it ran up on the green, and Herman, first time he ever caddied for me, and Herman says to me, I can't club you. I said, You're not supposed to club me. You're supposed to tell me how far I am. Just tell me what the yardage is, I'll do the clubbing. You don't have to do any of that stuff.
But that caddie thing, that started because of the first caddie I had. It was my fault, I couldn't understand him. He was Scottish, man, he was talking‑‑ I get to the second hole and I said, is there any trouble here? And there's an American following me, and I'm playing a practice round, and the guy says, (imitating Scottish accent) to the right. I said, what the hell did he say? And I looked at this little American guy and I said, what did he say? He said, there's a creek over there on the right. There's water, creek. I said, Oh, is the creek in the fairway? He said, No. I said, Don't worry about it.
So I hit the ball down‑‑ so I come to No.9, and there's a blind shot at Birkdale, and it's a par‑4 dogleg right, there's a blind shot, and he said to me‑‑ I said, where do we go here? It's a practice round, first time. First time I ever been there, and he says‑‑ I said, What's the line here. He says, at the marquee. I said, oh, shit. I said, What? At the marquee. I looked at the guy over there, and he said, At the tent. He said, It's a tent instead of marquee. He said, Hit it at the tent. So I hit it at the tent with a fade and I go in and tell the caddie master, I said, No disrespect, but I don't think it's going to work.
So the caddie that I got, though, was Willie Aitchison, who was with me for 30 years, greatest guy in the world. Drove a gas tanker in the wintertime, caddied in the summer. He won five amateur championships with Michael Bonallack, and he won with Roberto DiVicenzo. Didn't even play golf, but he didn't know anything about yardages. He knew how to club guys and stuff, and that's what I did to him on that 10. I actually hit four different clubs and I hit them all on the green, and I said, Don't be clubbing me, just give me some yardages. But what a life.
This has been the greatest‑‑ there's so many things that I do, this is‑‑ I think this is one of the things that I do, I do a lot of corporate banquets and dinners and stuff because I can remember all these crazy stories that I have, you know, and I was making a comment one time to my wife, and I said, you know what, it's crazy, I said, the things that these little hands have done for me. She said, the hell with those hands; what about your mouth.
BILL ESCHENBRENNER: I also liked what Claudia told him the other day, your clubs don't know how old you are.
LEE TREVINO: Yeah, I was trying to retire. She said, Your clubs don't have a clue how old you are.
DAVE MARR III: Well, the clubs, the hands, the mouth, you also have an exceptional loyalty. You talked about dancing with the one that brung you, and you've got the man to your right who you are always giving credit to, the PGA professional that made you who you are.
LEE TREVINO: He's my man. Thank you very much. Appreciate it.
DAVE MARR III: Thank you, Lee.
LEE TREVINO: I want to say one thing. I know Frisco was very excited when Mr.Jones came up here and built the practice facility and did what he did for the town of Frisco. He didn't do anything that we're not going to do. I'm going to tell you, the PGA is going to be phenomenal here. It's going to be unbelievable.
DAVE MARR III: Lee Trevino and Bill Eschenbrenner.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports