Lee Trevino (aka The Merry Mex)
Lee Buck Trevino (born December 1, 1939) is a Mexican American professional golfer. He is an icon for Mexican Americans, and is often referred to as "The Merry Mex" and "Supermex". He won six major championships over the course of his career
Trevino was introduced to golf when his uncle gave him a few golf balls and an old golf club. He then spent his free time sneaking into nearby country clubs to practice, and began as a caddy at the Dallas Athletic Club.
Trevino had to leave school at 14 to go to work. He earned $30 a week as a caddy and a shoeshiner. He was also able to practice golf, since the caddies had three short holes behind their shack. After work, he would hit at least 300 balls. Trevino has claimed to have earned extra money by challenging competitors to rounds of golf where he used only a shovel and taped-up 32-ounce glass Dr. Pepper bottle.
When he turned 17, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, and served four years. Part of his time was spent playing golf with Marine Corps officers. Trevino claims being a golf partner helped earn him promotion to lance corporal. He played successfully in Armed Forces golf events in Asia, where one rival was Orville Moody, who would follow Trevino to the PGA Tour in the late 1960s.
In 1968, his second year on the circuit, Trevino won the U.S. Open at the Oak Hill Country Club, in Rochester, New York; Nicklaus was second. During his career, Trevino won 29 times on the PGA Tour, including six majors.
He was at his best in the early 1970s, when he was Jack Nicklaus's chief rival. He won the money list title in 1970, and had ten wins in 1971 and 1972. These included the 1971 U.S. Open, which he took in an 18-hole playoff over Jack Nicklaus. Two weeks later, he won the Canadian Open (the first of three), and the following week The Open Championship (British Open), the first to win those three titles in the same year.
Trevino was awarded the Hickok Belt as the top professional athlete of 1971. He also won Sports Illustrated magazine's "Sportsman of the Year" and was named ABC's Wide World of Sports Athlete of the Year.
Trevino won more than 20 international and unofficial professional tournaments.
Trevino was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1981.