Lee Trevino: Golf is too long and difficult

By Mike BaileyApril 26, 2012, 3:16 pm

Growing up in the Dallas area as a caddie in the 1950s, Lee Trevino has always had his own way of doing things. He didn't start playing tournament golf until he got out of the Marines in the 1960s and he certainly had a unique swing.

His way was good enough to win 29 times on the PGA Tour and Champions Tour, including six majors, and make it to the World Golf Hall of Fame. While he can appreciate the modern player, he also wonders what's happened to some of the traditions of the game and why new golf courses are so built to be so difficult to play. Trevino says that it's one of the primary reasons golf has a difficult time attracting new players and keeping the ones they have.

Mike Bailey sat down with Trevino recently and asked him about the state of the game and golf course design.

Mike Bailey. What is the state of the game right now?

Lee Trevino: I think it's in trouble. I know that it's very exciting on tour, but it's not exciting to for a lot of people to have to play these courses that they're building for the tour players. They build these hard golf courses, and now they're talking about playing the forward tees (Tee it Forward). They should have never built those back tees in the first place. Why do you want a golf course that's 7,400 yards long? I mean the majority of your members are elderly, and they can't hit it anywhere.

Bailey: So you're not a big fan of the Tee it Forward program?

Trevino: Guys feel like they're going to the ladies tees when you push them up forward. They don't like that. Golfers want to be macho, play it from the tips. Why they're building these golf courses longer than 6,900 yards is beyond me.

Bailey: But don't they have to build the courses longer to accommodate the modern game?

Trevino: We build these courses that are supposedly going to challenge the pros. Well, wait a minute; we build hundreds and hundreds of golf courses in this country that most people can't play. They take too long to play because they’re too difficult. And also it costs too much for maintenance. And that, in return, sends the dues (and green fees) up and people are dropping out. We're in a lot of trouble right now.

Bailey: Do you think we should go more toward what they do in Great Britain, just a couple of sets of tees that everyone plays?

Trevino: Yes. And the greens are open in the front and you can run the ball up. In other words, a high handicapper can bump and run the ball on the green. These new modern courses they've built in the last 30 years are all carry. There are a lot of people who can't get it in the air or they get it in the air and it's low, and they don't have a chance to run the ball to the green. They've got to carry bunkers and false fronts. We've really gone the wrong way.

Bailey: But don't you think modern equipment combined with great athletes is making many of these golf courses obsolete?

Trevino: The guy with the lowest score wins, whether it's 9-under, 12-under or 22-under. Who gives a damn? The problem is who pays for that course and the maintenance of that course? It's the member, and thousands and thousands are dropping out.

Bailey: You've dabbled in design work a little, right? How come you haven't done more?

Trevino: No. 1, I don't need any jobs and don't need the money. But if people wanted some redos, I'd go back to traditional. If you hire me to redo your golf course, and you've got bunkers in front of your greens, I'm going to take them out. You're going to have a way to get in there. All these forced carries are stupid. Of course there are a lot of golf courses that have to have it because they only have so much land and they have to leave so much natural land.

Bailey: Is that what you did at Golf Club of Texas in San Antonio?

Trevino: Charlie Mahanna, my architect, and I sat down for two days and looked at their plans from the original architects out of Atlanta. We liked what they did, but we changed a couple of bunkers and stuff. People don’t understand: At a public course, time is money. If you build it too hard at a public facility, then it's going to take them five hours to play, and it's going to cost you tee times and money.

Bailey: What do you think of Donald Trump buying Doral Resort & Spa in Miami?

Trevino: He wants a U.S. Open. It could work there. He just hired the guy who's going to do the Olympic Course (Gil Hanse) to redo it and reroute the Blue Monster. I don't think the 18th will be changed because that's the signature hole. But I think if he changes everything else, and you get that Bermuda grass up in June in Miami, it could be a hell of a U.S. Open course because it's a traditional (Dick Wilson) golf course.

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Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

"That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

“It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

“What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

“When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.