Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Look Into the Poll Question: Lee Trevino

Homer (Kelley) told me one time that very few golfers actually go all the way down. Almost all reach the Ball and begin their upward Motion before the Low Point is reached.

"Even Tour players," he said. "They almost all come up, and I'm really kind of surprised when I see them still take a divot."

I asked him for the name of a player who did go all the way down.

"Trevino," he said with a lowered voice and a growl.

"I like that guy. He hits a wedge, and you've got to help him get the club out of the ground!" - Lynn 'Yoda' Blake

Lee Trevino is a 6 time Major Championship winner and a 29 time winner on the PGA Tour. He was known as one of the greatest ballstrikers of his generation and arguably the greatest wedge player of all time.

His swing was a bit unorthodox because he had some extreme positions. For instance, most golfers are told to side on playing with an open stance over a closed stance in case they need help with their pivot and Lee played with a very open stance. He also had a huge loop in his swing which came down very shallow on the hands plane. His customary shot was to aim left and push it down the middle or aim left and push it a tad and fade it a tad down the middle. But, he was also known as a brilliant shot maker who could hit it low, high, fade it or even draw it. That being said, he usually avoided hitting a draw due to being averse to possibly hooking the ball in the future.

Back when Putting 'Guru' Dave Pelz first got into analyzing the game, he originally tried to find out what the great golfers have in common. This was well before Pelz had concluded that success from 100 yards in correlates to golf scores.

So Pelz went out and charted every golfer on Tour and had the task of figuring out where the golfer's target was and then charting how close they were to the target. According to Pelz, Trevino was by far and away the best he had ever charted and if Trevino was just an *average* putter, he would have had more Majors than Nicklaus.

As far as Majors go, Trevino won the PGA, US Open and British Open each twice. He was particularly strong at the US Open and British because the US Open places such a premium on fairways and greens, a Trevino specialty and the British requires great trajectory control, another specialty of Trevino. However, the Masters is a tournament he struggled at since it usually favors the longer, higher hitters unless you have a draw and are a great putter, none of which were Trevino's strongsuits.


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