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Riding High

Feb. 12, 2007
Feb. 12, 2007

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Feb. 12, 2007

SI Bonus Section: Golf Plus
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Riding High

A Pebble Beach scene brought my golf journey full circle

For me, as a kidgrowing up in Los Angeles's San Fernando Valley, golf was invisible. Hell, Iwas invisible, if not disposable. I was a young Mexican-American who didn'tknow his father and whose mother left him to be raised by a grandmother. Ingolf terms I started life OB, three-putt, snowman.

This is an article from the Feb. 12, 2007 issue

My first memoryof golf was watching it on TV, where I saw someone who not only looked like me,but someone who had grown up dirt-poor and been abandoned by his father yet hadgone on to become one of the greatest players of all time. Because of LeeTrevino, I was the first person in my family to wield a club that wasn't swungin anger. Trevino became my symbol of opportunity.

During theensuing years I turned my opportunity into professional success, whicheventually allowed me to become friends with Trevino. This past September, Ilured Lee back to Pebble Beach for the first time in 22 years to be myprofessional partner in the Wal-Mart First Tee Champions tour event.

Lee and I hadscheduled a practice round for the day before the event. He wanted to go toCypress Point, one of the most exclusive courses in the world, but I hadalready booked us a time at Pebble. Luckily, I persuaded him to come over, orwe would have missed one of the proudest moments of both of our lives.

As we strolledtoward the green on Pebble's 3rd hole, a downhill par-4, the sight of twoMexican golfers with white caddies caught the attention of the maintenancestaff. (I guess the fact that it was Lee and me had something to do with thatas well.)

All work stopped,and many of the laborers gathered to watch us play through. I realized that, ina way, Lee and I were walking symbols of opportunity for these men, who wereworking so hard to prepare the course--and to create a better life for theirfamilies.

Thesuperintendent approached and asked if we wouldn't mind getting in a photo withhis guys. I noticed a large lawn mower nearby and asked to have it broughtover. Then I called to Lee, and we all climbed aboard. You'll notice in thephoto that the driver's seat is empty. That's to symbolize that we are allequal and that anyone, regardless of race, gender or financial status, can riseto captain the ship and control his or her fate. Lee did, I did, and so willthose men.

It's my favoriteshot of all time, and the photo hangs proudly in both Lee's house and myown.

Perhaps it'sappropriate that it was taken with a disposable camera.

TRUST ME

by JAMES P. HERRE

Move over, Jay Haas--Nick Price is the new sheriff onthe Champions tour.

New Math

MacKinzie Kline, 14, will be the first to use a cartin an LPGA event

PRECEDENT

+

TICKER TROUBLE

X

INNOCENCE

-

TV RATINGS

+

MARKETING SAVVY

=

OPPORTUNITY

PHOTOCOURTESY OF GEORGE LOPEZ AND LEE TREVINOGREAT SHOT Lopez (center) and Trevino proudly posed with members of the Pebble Beach grounds crew. PHOTONICK WASS/AP (CASEY MARTIN)PHOTOHANNAH GAL/CORBIS (HEART)PHOTODAVID WALBERG (DEER)PHOTOJENS NIETH/ZEFA/CORBIS (EYE)PHOTODARREN CARROLL (CAROLYN BIVENS)PHOTOTODD BIGELOW/AURORA (KLINE)