Thursday, December 10

PGA TOUR'S Doug Milne on 'Dealing With' Lee Trevino

PGA TOUR Media Official Doug Milne shared the following reflection about Lee Trevino on Facebook and granted permission to publish it here.

By Doug Milne

IF A SINGLE IMAGE HAD TO REPRESENT my collective experience at the PGA TOUR to this point, nearing 25 years, [the below image] would be it. This gentleman scared me into a pale hue of white. He taught me not so much about fear and intimidation as much as my ability to react and respond to it on the fly and with some semblance of grace.

Lee Trevino and Doug Milne in Orlando.
(Image courtesy of Doug Milne)
When I first started with the TOUR in 1991, Lee Trevino was a player I was told I'd be "dealing with" on a regular basis. Relatively new to the Champions Tour (50 and older), Lee was the Tiger Woods of the era on that Tour. He was expected to win every time he teed it up and, for a long time, he usually did.

With Lee, however, I never knew what side of him I would get. It was either wonderful or catastrophic, with no middle ground. The first time I met him, he spent the ensuing 20 minutes asking genuine questions about me, my job and family. It was wonderful. The second time I met him, a week later, he cut my greeting short, telling me to "go the hell away before I get security." It was catastrophic.

Thus began my relationship with Lee Trevino.

I always prepared for the worst reaction, but celebrated the good ones. Also, there were never rhetorical questions from him. When he would grant me time for an interview, he would first interview me on exactly what I wanted from him. He expected thorough and quick answers. I learned to never fail with him. Before too long, I grew less and less intimidated by him, or anyone for that matter. He had helped me thicken my skin and strengthen my resolve. That would come to work well for me on the job and in life.

Lee would go on to win 29 times on the Champions Tour between 1990 and 2000. Not a bad showing. Thanks largely to him, my showing hasn't been all bad, either.

When I asked him for [the above photo] today in Orlando, it was the first time I had seen him in more than 10 years. I was certain he wouldn't remember me. I was wrong, and being wrong this time felt as good as anytime I can ever remember being right.

When I thanked him, he responded with "Anytime, you know that." To that, I said, "Yeah, anytime except next time, right?" The shared laughter right then said a lot more than any words could ever have.

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