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cover of Time Magazine.From ‘Merry Mex’ to ‘Su-per Mex, Trevino enteredthe noble ranks of the PGATour as a poor cotton work-er from Texas by way of ElPaso and nished as SportsIllustrated’s ‘Sportsman of the Year’.One of the more pres-tigious awards you can re-ceive in all of sports is TheVardon Trophy. Every yearsince 1937, the PGA rec-ognizes the player with thelowest scoring average. Itessentially rewards consis-tency over the long haul.Trevino holds ve VardonTrophies. Only Tiger Woodshas more.It was almost forty yearsago when I rst met Lee Tre-vino. I was in grade schoolin south Florida where myfather was the CBS sportsanchor and voice of theMiami Dolphins. Hence, avirtual backstage pass foraccessing players and ballelds. I had never playeda lick of golf, which is in-dicative of my game today,but Trevino and Nicklauswere household names,not your average sportsheroes. So when I met upwith Trevino a few weeksago at Roper Saint FrancisHospital in Charleston, andreminded him of our muchearlier encounter, he wasquick with his infectiousgrin. “How’ve ya been!?”,he said, as if recognizingmy face decades later sansthe Beatles haircut and bluesuede sneakers.Then I shared one of myfavorite Trevino moments.It was his spar with Britishgolfer Tony Jacklin before amatch in Wentworth, Eng-land. Both were approach-ing the rst tee when Jack-lin said, “Lee, I don’t wantto talk today.” To whichTrevino retorted, “Tony, Idon’t want you to talk, you just have to listen.”And this is what a roomfull of Lowcountry residentshad come to do at RSFH ona rainy Saturday morningas Trevino talked about de-bilitating back pain and thelatest device and procedurewhich has allowed him toplay golf again.Trevino was struck bylightning while playing golf in 1975 and his back hasnever been the same. “NowI carry a one iron in my bagbecause even God can’t hit aone iron.” But there weren’tenough prayers that couldhelp the ensuing pain.A series of intrusive sur-geries and years later, thehall of famer found himself immobile due to the sever-ity of his condition, then lit-erally bedridden by 2004.It was always in Tre-vino’s nature to help oth-ers in need. After walkingoff eighteen, he donated agenerous portion of his rstBritish Open paycheck toa neighboring orphanagethat could hear the roars of his victory. He paid all themedical expenses billed tohis caddie and friend whowas strapped with an illnesswhich required a litany of pricey treatment.Today Trevino is thetraveling guru and self ap-pointed “poster boy” onback pain and breakthroughremedies. He approachedMedtronics, a companyheadquartered in Minneap-olis, which had developedthis newest technology andprocedure called X-STOP.The procedure went so wellthat Trevino called it a “mir-acle” and was hitting golf balls a month later.X-STOP is a fairly sim-ple device which relievesthe pain caused from Lum-bar Spinal Stenosis. LSSis a common degenerativecondition of the aging pro-cess which affects over sixmillion people. About 1.4million new cases are foundeach year. Minimally inva-sive and less expensive thanback surgery, X-STOP isimplanted as a spine spacerto prevent tissue and bonefrom rubbing and pinchingthe spinal nerve.Medtronics boasts of having successfully contrib-uted to over fty thousandprocedures worldwide. Thecompany is quick to conveythat it’s not for everyone.For starters, it is not recom-mended for anyone underfty and it’s advantageousfor the patient to be in goodphysical shape. A soundprescription for just aboutanything.Resident expert andRSFH neurosurgeon, Dr.Brian Cuddy, has one hun-dred and forty X-STOPpatients. Cuddy sees it asone more option in the ghtagainst chronic back painbut also stresses the impor-tance of being t.Trevino is swinging theclub again and in some cor-ners of the world, that’s aninspiration. When you talkto an accomplished personlike Trevino every fortyyears, you set out to makethe most of your time. “I betyou’d like to ask me aboutTiger” he said. Of course.“I love Tiger to death; he’sthe only reason why I turnon the television to watchgolf.” Trevino wasn’t go-ing to make any judgmentsotherwise; it’s not his style.Nor did I care to talk aboutanything other than golf inregards to Tiger. But I wasinterested on his take on Ti-ger’s dominance outside of being born with a particulartalent. “Dedication; he’s byfar the most dedicated play-er in golf.” Which is condu-cive, we suppose, to otherthings becoming secondaryfor some. “Tiger will be abetter person for it” Trevinosaid. “He’ll be alright.”The Mex turned merryagain as the subject turnedto family. “Do you knowthat I have a grandchildthat’s older than one of mychildren?” As Johnny Car-son would say, “I did notknow that.”Thanks for the coffee, Lee.See you on the range.Mark Gallagherlowcountrysun@gmail.com
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Six time Ryder Cup participant Lee Trevino drinks from theClaret Jug after winning his rst British Open at Royal Birkdalein 1971 when he was PGA Player of The Year.Lee Trevino (second from right) with (from left) Dr. Brian Cuddyand Dr. George Khoury, both with Roper St. Francis Neuro-SpineCenter, and Allen Carroll, Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital CEO.