Lee Trevino sounds off on slow play, cites Jack Nicklaus penalty as model

Lee Trevino didn't hold back when he was asked about slow play.

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With six majors and 29 total PGA Tour victories, Lee Trevino has proven himself to be not only one of the game’s most prolific champions, but also a respected voice of reason on the game’s pressing topics.

Over the last several weeks, pace-of-play has again become a hot-button issue on the PGA Tour, and it’s one that Trevino, now 83, has strong feelings about.

When Trevino joined Michael Breed’s SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio show Wednesday, he jumped right in on slow play, delivering his observations with his trademark candor and wit.

“I can’t really tell you on the radio what my thoughts [are],” Trevino said with a laugh when Breed prompted him to weigh in on players who straddle the line to read putts. “That’s a young man’s thing. An old guy can’t do that ’cause he can’t see his feet.”

Jokes aside, though, Trevino said he thinks something needs to be done to get players moving faster on the PGA Tour.

“They need to penalize some of these slow players,” Trevino said.

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While a high-profile player has yet to be penalized for slow play during a televised tournament round in years, Trevino said there is a big-name precedent: Jack Nicklaus.

Trevino recalled that Nicklaus was penalized two shots for slow play during the 1962 Portland Open. It was Nicklaus’ rookie year on the PGA Tour.

“Jack went ahead and won by six,” Trevino said. “It didn’t make a difference. But at least they had the guts to penalize a superstar. It doesn’t do any good to [penalize] some guy who can’t pay his rent.”

Though the debate about Patrick Cantlay’s alleged slow pace of play at the Masters has put the issue of slow play back in the spotlight, this isn’t the first time Trevino has publicly pondered ways to speed up the game.

In a 1973 edition of GOLF Magazine, Trevino suggested 10 ways to make the game faster — advice that still resonates today!

To listen to Trevino’s full interview on Breed’s show, click here.

Golf.com Editor

As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on GOLF.com.