For the Love of the Game

It’s always darkest before the dawn. I learned that firsthand at 4:30 this morning when my alarm went off. Foregoing the traditional Saturday sleep-in, I staggered from my bed, downed a quick cup of coffee, and headed out for my 6:18 tee time.

Why do we do this to ourselves? I know I’m not alone. We work all week to get to the weekend, then we short ourselves on sleep and spend the morning knocking a little white ball around for eighteen holes. Are we insane? No. We’re golfers.

Love of the game will make a golfer do some of the most outlandish things. Employees leave work early. Husbands lie to wives. Brothers get into fistfights over extra strokes. I even heard one story about a PGA golfer getting struck by lightning …

Lee Trevino shows off his trophy at the British Open Golf Championship at the Royal Birkdale in Southport, Eng., on July 10, 1971. Trevino also won the American and Canadian open championships, establishing a golfing record by winning all three titles in the same year. In the background is second place finisher Liang Huan Lu, of Formosa. (AP Photo)

The Lee Trevino Story

In the 1960’s and early 1970’s, Lee Trevino was one of the most intriguing golfers on the PGA Tour. His peers could always expect a good joke or rowdy story. Fans were treated to spirited battles between Lee and Jack Nicklaus.

In September of 1975, Lee Trevino was waiting out a rain delay at the Western Open when he and his partner Jerry Heard were struck by lightning. He suffered severe burns, back, and leg injuries. Many people thought he’d never return to the sport again.

The doubters obviously didn’t know Lee. When asked by a reporter what he would do if he encountered lightning on the golf course again, he replied, “I’ll take out my 1-iron and point it at the sky, because even God can’t hit a 1-iron.”

The incident caused permanent long-term injury and Trevino was never the same golfer again, but he played. In fact, we went on to win eight more PGA tournaments. Weakened by the injuries, he could no longer rely on long drives, so he reinvented himself.

Lee Trevino’s story is an inspiring example of one man’s love of the game. Even lightning couldn’t stop him from stepping back into a tee box again. I get it. I’m sure many of you do too. We’re golfers.

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