Lee Trevino’s Favorite Golf Gambling Story: Betting Makes Things More Interesting

Lee Trevino’s Favorite Golf Gambling Story: Betting Makes Things More Interesting article feature image
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David Mercer, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Lee Trevino

The Action Network spoke with several of golf’s biggest legends find out their favorite personal golf betting stories. In a previous series, we spoke with several of today’s biggest stars about their favorite betting stories. You can find those here.

  • Who: Lee Trevino

In case you haven’t heard, Trevino is a man of many words. When asked for his favorite golf betting story, his answer morphed into everything from old Tuesday practice round stories to how wagering can help a professional golfer to why he’s never once placed a bet in Las Vegas.

“When we played, we always played on Tuesday for a little something to make it interesting. We played match play, never medal, and the reason we did that is because every once in a while we’d want to hit a shot into a bunker to test the sand.

“I used to play with Lon Hinkle and Frank Conner every Tuesday and I’d beat ‘em out of $20 apiece. Everyone made fun of them about playing me for 20 bucks, but they told ‘em, ‘Yeah, but where are you going to get a lesson like this for $20?’

“We always played for something. Today, I think they play for more money than we used to play for. I never played for a lot of money. Now, I played some matches where there was a lot of money that other people were putting up and I was playing for them, but I never played for much of my own money.

“Titanic Thompson was one of the greatest gamblers ever. He came out to El Paso with Ray Floyd when we played back then. I have no clue what they bet. I have no clue who won what. All I know is that Raymond and I played. I won two days and he won one day, so that’s just the way it came out.

“Back in the old days, I’d bet a few football games, but wagering was never one of my things. I’ve been to Vegas 400 million times and never bet there.

“I realized a long time ago that they didn’t build those big elaborate hotels because they were giving money away.

“People go in there and play the slot machines. It’s the worst thing in the world you can do. I try to tell them: You never take on someone who backs up to a wall and puts one arm behind their back and takes on all comers.

“Even matches today at the country clubs, they might not play for much, but I think everyone plays for some money. There are some matches that play a lot.

“It makes you try when you’re playing for something. When you’re not playing for anything, it makes the shot pretty easy.

“It’s like standing on the putting green, taking three golf balls and putting to a hole with three balls. Well, the only thing that really matters is the first one; the next two don’t mean anything.

“It’s the same thing when you’re playing a practice round. If you’re out there practicing and it doesn’t mean anything, you’re not going to get a very good view of the golf course and you’re not going to think very well. You’re wasting the day, because there’s no emphasis on hitting a shot.”

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