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Trevino to Receive PGA of America's Distinguished Service Award
Lee Trevino said that his last true moments of privacy during a golf event came when he sat in a golf cart in between rounds of the 1968 U.S. Open near a putting green just outside the clubhouse at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y.
"Every day when I was finished, I would go down and putt and get a beer and I would sit on that cart and drink my beer and putt," Trevino said Monday, during a media conference call previewing the 95th PGA Championship at Oak Hill.
"Everyone thought that I was on the maintenance crew. No one ever bothered me. I never signed an autograph, nothing. Here's a little Mexican boy sitting on the cart; they thought I mowed the greens. So they thought I was on the maintenance crew, and I just wanted to tell you, that's the last time I had any privacy."
While embracing his privacy following his glittering competitive career, the 73-year-old Trevino revealed something about a philanthropic life that the public knows nothing about. He will receive the PGA Distinguished Service Award, the PGA of America's highest annual honor, August 7, during a ceremony at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center.
"I came from nothing and never had anything," said Trevino. "I think the best way to sum it up is that my wife can send me to JC Penney's with $1,000 to get a pair of socks, and I'll come home broke without the socks. Somewhere along the line, I had given it all away. That's just the way that I do things.
"When I started making a lot of money, I started spreading it out to people. If I see a guy that looks like he needs a hand out or something, I'll pull something out and give him something. But for charities, you have to understand, that golf is actually the gateway in my opinion to all charities. I mean, there's more money raised for charity through golf than I think any other organization.
"I don't know of any other organization that's raised more money than golf has, because if you are a baseball player, you're a football player, you're a hockey player, if you're just a businessman, and you want to raise some money for a charity, what do they do? They have a golf tournament or a golf outing. And actually, indirectly and directly, it ties the PGA into doing all this. So I think that the PGA deserves more of the credit than I do, because this is what they teach you."
Trevino has been a longtime generous donor to the St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital of Memphis, Tenn., which has received a portion of his winnings over the years. Trevino was close friends with the late entertainer, Danny Thomas, who championed St. Jude's campaign for funding.
"I remember the first time going to St. Jude. I didn't like going there because the children were ill and it just broke my heart," said Trevino. "It makes you test your religion when you see something like that. But the Lord doesn't want just old people. You know, He wants some young people, too, and good people. He takes care of them.
"This is what we preach, promoting the game and raising money for different charities. I've given away a tremendous amount of money, and I can't tell you how many charities that I'm involved with, because I don't tell anybody. It's a private thing with me and always has been. I don't want to be praised and I don't want to be put on a pedestal."
The above report is courtesy of the PGA of America. For more information, visit www.pga.com.