Lee Trevino Quotes: 30 Great Quips About Golf and Life

Lee Trevino after the 1983 Open Championship played at Royal Birkdale Golf Club
Lee Trevino (pictured in 1983). Peter Dazeley/Getty Images

Lee Trevino has told the story of the very first time he was paired with Jack Nicklaus during a tournament. Nicklaus was well aware of Trevino's reputation for constant chatter. Trevino liked to talk to his playing partners - or anybody - during rounds, joking, laughing, chatting throughout. Nicklaus didn't.

So Nicklaus approached Trevino before their round to make sure Lee knew that Jack preferred not to talk much while playing. "That's OK," Trevino told him, "you don't have to talk, you just have to listen."

The golf world has been listening to Trevino ever since, and one reason is that he often has funny or interesting things to say. So here is a collection of some of Trevino's best quotes.

Trevino's Top 5 Quotes

These are five of the best-known quotations ever uttered by Lee Trevino (or any other golfer, probably):

  • "You can talk to a fade but a hook won't listen."
  • "If you are caught on a golf course during a storm and are afraid of lightning, hold up a 1-iron. Not even God can hit a 1-iron."
  • "You don't know what pressure is until you've played for $5 a hole with only $2 in your pocket."
  • "I've never had a coach in my life. When I find one who can beat me, then I'll listen."
  • "There is no such thing as a natural touch. Touch is something you create by hitting millions of golf balls."

The fade/hook line is one of the most-famous quotes in golf history.

The line about lightning is a comical take by Trevino, who was badly injured when he was struck by lightning during a 1975 PGA Tour event. Don't take it as advice, of course (it's the opposite of what golfers should do if lightning is around), just enjoy the humor about how hard it was to hit a 1-iron. (Do golfers under the age of 30 even know what a 1-iron looks like?)

Trevino Talks Bad About His Golf Game

Some of Trevino's funniest quotes came after poor play:

  • "I'm in the woods so much I can tell you which plants are edible."
  • "I'm not saying my golf game went bad, but if I grew tomatoes they would have come up sliced."
  • "I still swing the way I used to, but when I look up the ball is going in a different direction."
  • "My swing is so bad I look like a caveman killing his lunch."
  • "I putt so bad I'm gonna eat a can of Alpo."

On Marriage ... and Divorce

  • "I've been hit by lightning and been in the Marine Corps for four years. I've traveled the world and been about everywhere you can imagine. There's not anything I'm scared of except my wife."
  • "You can make a lot of money in this game. Just ask my ex-wives. Both of them are so rich that neither of their husbands work."
  • Asked when he started wearing a corset for his bad back, Trevino replied, "Ever since my wife found it in the glove compartment."

On Pressure and Confidence

  • "Putts get real difficult the day they hand out the money."
  • "How can they beat me? I've been struck by lightning, had two back operations and been divorced twice."
  • "I'm going to win so much money this year my caddie will make the Top 20 money winner's list."
  • After losing a lead with two holes to play: "The clubs got heavy."
  • After beating Jack Nicklaus in a playoff at the 1971 U.S. Open: "I was trying to get so far ahead I could choke and still win, but I had to keep on playing."
  • "There are two things that won't last long in this world, and that's dogs chasing cars and pros putting for pars."

And More Great Lee Trevino Quotes

  • "One of the nice things about the Senior Tour is that we can take a cart and cooler. If your game is not going well, you can always have a picnic."
  • "I'm a golfaholic. And all the counseling in the world wouldn't help me."
  • When asked what he thought of a famous golf course the tour was playing: "I wouldn't be here if there wasn't a golf tournament here. They (golf courses) are all the same - greens, tees. I'm here because there's money to be won."
  • "In the game of life it's a good idea to have a few early losses, which relieves you of the pressure of trying to maintain an undefeated season."
  • "My family was so poor they couldn't afford any kids. The lady next door had me."
  • On golfing in the military: "I started out as a private, but after beating the colonels a few times I rose to sergeant."
  • "When God wants to play through, you let him."
  • Commenting on an old driver: "This is one of those airport drivers. You hit this thing for two days, miss the cut and go to the airport."
  • "Columbus went around the world in 1492. That isn't a lot of strokes when you consider the course."
  • Asked what the first three things an aging golfer loses are: "His nerve, his memory and I can't remember the third thing."
  • "I played the Tour in 1967 and told jokes and nobody laughed. Then I won the (U.S.) Open the next year, told the same jokes, and everybody laughed like hell."