Lee Trevino, PGA of America Distinguished Service Award

PGA of America President Ted Bishop presents Lee Trevino with the PGA Distinguished Service Award.

DSA recipient Trevino grateful for PGA of America

ROCHESTER, N.Y. - Lee Trevino's rags-to-riches journey, which inspired and energized American golf, was launched in 1967. That was the year Trevino received a PGA of America membership card, allowing him access into a world that opened up countless doors.

The recipient of the 2013 PGA Distinguished Service Award on Wednesday night, Trevino reinforced his appreciation for those who helped him open that first door.

"It's hard to put into words what The PGA of America has meant to me," said Trevino, before an audience of more than 1,000 at the Rochester Convention Center. "They gave me my life. To get to where you want to be, you got to have some help."

Trevino paid tribute to PGA Life Member Bill Eschenbrenner of El Paso, Texas, who took the lead in helping Trevino secure his PGA membership card. Once secured, Trevino was on his way to building his golf career.

"I have never forgotten what The PGA did to help me," said Trevino. "The PGA gave me a shot with that card, and I worked hard for that card."

Trevino said the PGA Distinguished Service Award "has excited me almost as much as anything I've ever done -- except marrying a lovely lady."

Trevino went on to win 89 events worldwide, including six major championships, served as the 1985 U.S. Ryder Cup Captain, and lead a private, yet active philanthropic life. As he attempted to balance his success and the attention that comes with it, Trevino said that he worked for so many manufacturers over the years.

However, he never did any commercial promotion for any product that was not in a golf shop. "The PGA, my family, works in golf pro shops," said Trevino.

Borrowing from Paul Harvey's classic 1978 commentary, "So God Made a Farmer," Trevino said, "When the Lord was asked to fill jobs, he had a list. He said, 'I need someone who will go to work at daylight, to close at dark; to work on holidays; to work on weekends; who will be a psychologist, a psychiatrist, a doctor, a referee; an agronomist and a Rules official.' The Lord said, "Oh, what the Hell, that's easy, we will make him a golf professional. That's who we will put in that job."

Trevino said that his PGA brethren are "special."

"But, let me tell you something. You may think you are special for getting up early and helping make 500 members happy, but I want to tell you that your wives are the ones that are special. They are the ones that put up with all that you do in the business. They do everything for you. You are lucky to have a woman next to you who can give you that support."

Following Trevino's remarks, PGA of America President Ted Bishop said that "The PGA of America could not be more proud to give this award to you, because you are truly one of us."

The PGA Distinguished Service Award, inaugurated in 1988, honors outstanding individuals who display leadership and humanitarian qualities, including integrity, sportsmanship and enthusiasm for the game of golf. It is The PGA of America's highest annual honor.

About The PGA of America
Since its founding in 1916, The PGA of America has maintained a twofold mission: to establish and elevate the standards of the profession and to grow interest and participation in the game of golf. By establishing and elevating the standards of the golf profession through world-class education, career services, marketing and research programs, The PGA enables its professionals to maximize their performance in their respective career paths and showcases them as experts in the game and in the multi-billion dollar golf industry. By creating and delivering world-class championships and innovative programs, The PGA of America elevates the public's interest in the game, the desire to play more golf, and ensures accessibility to the game for everyone, everywhere. As The PGA nears its centennial, the PGA brand represents the very best in golf.