Before making his comeback as a golfer on the PGA Senior Tour, Lee Trevino was a television analyst--and a good one. Sunday, he showed he still has the knack for both jobs while winning the U.S. Senior Open at Paramus, N.J.
Trevino shot a five-under-par 67 to regain the lead from Jack Nicklaus, then was watching from the television booth as Nicklaus made an attempt to tie on the last two holes.
As Nicklaus stood over a four-foot putt for par on the 17th hole to stay one stroke back, Trevino told a national television audience: "He has the ball in perfect position for this putt . . . it's straight uphill. But Jack sometimes has a habit of peeking on these and pushing the ball to the right."
Sure enough, Nicklaus' putt lipped the cup on the right and spun out.
Trevino pulled his golf cap down over his eyes and said, "Gimme the trophy."
Trevino, who beat Nicklaus to win the 1968 and 1971 U.S. Opens, claimed the over-50 Open title with a 275 total, 13 under par on the Ridgewood Country Club course.
It was Trevino's sixth victory of the year and, with the $90,000 winner's check, pushed his senior-leading money total to $598,633.
"I knew I had to shoot a low round to catch Jack," said Trevino, who started the round one stroke back of his old rival. "I didn't think 67 would be good enough."
Nicklaus, winner of two of his three previous starts among the seniors, got away to a slow start, spotted Trevino two shots at the turn and couldn't catch up.
Trevino took the lead with birdies on the second and third holes and never trailed.
He was three in front after a 7-iron approach came to rest on the lip of the cup on the 10th.
Nicklaus twice closed to within one stroke, but each time cost himself dearly with a bogey on the following hole.
Nicklaus finished with a 70 and a 277 total.
Gary Player, who beat Nicklaus and Trevino for the PGA Senior title earlier this year, took himself out of it over the back nine, shot 73 and was tied at 281 with Mike Hill (69) and Chi Chi Rodriguez (66).
'I just played awful," said Player, who started the final round a single stroke off the lead.
Nicklaus and Player, the final twosome of the day, fell three holes behind Trevino and Jim Dent at home point and finished half an hour the pair in front of them.
That seemed to have an effect on Nicklaus' third shot on 17, which fell short of the green and led to a bogey as the wind picked up and a light rain began to fall.
"If Jack had kept up (with the pace of play), he wouldn't have to play in the rain," Trevino quipped.