NEWPORT BEACH — The winning has been long over for Lee Trevino. The competitive fire is hardly burning, he admits. The 71-year-old hall of famer says the desire for competitive golf left when he was 63.
But Trevino still displays a strong love for the game. He showed that passion, and plenty of personality, during a 45-minute interview with the media at Newport Beach Country Club Wednesday.
He chose to play his only Champions Tour event at the Toshiba Classic, and it appears he's making the most of his one stop.
Someone asked about Jack Nicklaus' sixth Masters win in 1986 and what he was doing that day, since this year marks the 25th anniversary.
"We got completely inebriated at the Atlanta airport," Trevino said, noting that he had finished before Nicklaus teed off on his way to his memorable win. "My wife and I are driving to the airport. Jack is on 14. And then he eagles 15. And the airline, there was a bar across from the gate in Atlanta, and I'm drinking double scotches. I mean I hit a wall when I went in that airport. And he won the tournament. 'Hold the plane, hold the plane.' We are screaming at this guy to hold the plane. Everybody is watching. The airport is going nuts. My wife and I are there and I'm hitting it hard."
Trevino had everyone in the media room laughing. He also shared a few stories, talked about Tiger Woods, suggested the PGA should penalize two shots if pros take too long and also plugged a procedure he had on his back.
That's called "X Stop," support for his vertebrae, which helped him regain strength in his back. Trevino also said he has a small plate behind his throat with six screws attached to his neck because there was also strain in his upper back.
"I'm a bionic man," Trevino said. "I told my wife I was going to be cremated. I said, 'When I die and they bring you the ashes you put your hand in the urn, if you don't get two rollers [from the X Stop] and a plate, damn, they are not mine.'"
Trevino had every excuse to provide cliché answers during the interview. He had just finished two television interviews out near the practice green. Before that he played in the Toshiba Classic Pro-Am and took down a lunch faster than he plays a par-three hole.
Yes, from the looks of it, he is making the most of his time in the Toshiba Classic.
Trevino, a 29-time PGA Tour winner who won the same amount on the Champions Tour, is playing his 15th Toshiba Classic, which is in its 17th year. He only missed 2005 and 2007.
"I just like this course," Trevino said. "I don't have to play. I don't play any place else. This place is special."
His love for Newport Beach must be genuine. He's never won here. His highest finish came in 1996, when he tied for fourth. He also tied for sixth in 1997 and finished ninth in 2001.
Last year, he was 73rd.
But he has provided great memories at the NBCC, like in 2008 when he brought his friend, comedian George Lopez, to play with him in the pro-am.
This week he appears to be leaving his mark on the tournament once again.
Trevino only hopes to shoot his age on the par-71 course.
"I had four birdies [Wednesday]," he said. "If I can get four birdies a day I've got a shot to break my age, yes."