Lee Trevino: Tiger Woods will get mark
"My suggestion to Tiger Woods, which I don't know will ever happen, is he's got to look at the film from when he started winning all those tournaments and go right back to what he was doing and get rid of all these people," the 71-year-old Trevino, a Dallas native, said Thursday at a luncheon to promote the HP Byron Nelson Championship on May 23-29 at The TPC Four Seasons Resort and Club Las Colinas in Irving, Texas.
My suggestion to Tiger Woods, which I don't know will ever happen, is he's got to look at the film from when he started winning all those tournaments and go right back to what he was doing and get rid of all these people.” -- Lee Trevino on Tiger Woods
By "people," Trevino meant instructors. Trevino said that once Woods "gets his mindset straight and quits messing with all these instructors" that his winning form will return.
Woods, 35, has 14 major championships and needs five more to break Nicklaus' record.
Lanny Wadkins, who appeared with Trevino at the luncheon, puts Woods' chances of getting past Nicklaus at 50-50. Wadkins, 61, said Nicklaus faced better competition than Woods, noting that Nicklaus beat Trevino, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Billy Casper, Tom Watson, Seve Ballesteros, Tom Weiskopf, Johnny Miller and other top players.
"Everybody he beat were Hall of Famers," Wadkins said. "The best tournaments you talk about with Tiger were a playoff with Rocco Mediate and Bob May. Lee beat Nicklaus in a U.S. Open 18-hole playoff. The quality of people he's beaten compared to Jack beat, there's no comparison.
"The thing that's happening now is all these kids are finding their game. This whole next generation looks very impressive, and so he's all of a sudden going to have more competition now to get to his 18 than he's had in his first 14, in my opinion."
Woods has won four Masters (1997, 2001, 2002, 2005), four PGA Championships (1999, 2000, 2006, 2007), three British Open titles (2000, 2005, 2006) and three U.S. Opens (2000, 2002, 2008). His last PGA Tour win was the BMW Championship in September 2009, two months before the car accident outside his home that has altered his life on and off the course.
Early Byron Nelson Commits
The HP Byron Nelson Championship on Thursday announced a number of commitments, which include three of the PGA Tour's eight winners this season (Points, Vegas, Wagner):
Trevino said Woods should have owned up to what happened as soon as the accident occurred.
Last May, Hank Haney announced on his website he had informed Woods he was no longer his golf coach. Woods is now working with instructor Sean Foley, a partnership that began at last year's PGA Championship.
Trevino remains confident that the golf world will see a resurgent Woods soon.
"He'll find his game," Trevino said. "He's too good a player. He's got desire. He hasn't lost that yet. He just got off the road a little bit and it's going to take him a little while to get his head on straight, but he's Tiger Woods. He hasn't lost the ability to play. He might not be as intimidating as he was."
Nicklaus, speaking to reporters Wednesday at the Honda Classic, said his old instructor, Jack Grout, never set foot on a practice range. Nicklaus said Grout gave his thoughts on what to work on during practice, but that it was up to Nicklaus to execute them.
Trevino and Wadkins entertained a group of Salesmanship Club members during a 30-minute Q&A on Thursday. The event was held at J. Erik Jonsson Community School in Oak Cliff, a school that is supported by the Salesmanship Club, which runs the Nelson. The tournament has given more to charity than any other PGA Tour event.
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The two Hall of Famers -- who have 50 PGA Tour wins, seven major victories and 14 Ryder Cup appearances between them -- talked about what life was like when they played the tour and how they feel about the issues facing the game today.
Trevino feels strongly that the PGA Tour should mandate that players compete in every tournament at least once every three years. That's similar to the LPGA, which makes its players compete in a tournament at least once every four years.
"I tried to get that done in 1974," Trevino said. "How can you go to a sponsor and want them to put up $20 million for three years and he can't tell you who's coming? I don't know if I'd do that."
Trevino thinks the only way it would happen is if all the sponsors got together and forced the tour to make it mandatory.
Richard Durrett covers golf for ESPNDallas.com.