‘The Electricity Stopped My Heart’: Lee Trevino Once Explained How He Survived a Lightning Strike

Published 12/21/2021, 2:00 PM EST
Dec 18, 2021; Orlando, Florida, USA; Lee Trevino bites into a ball during the first round of the PNC Championship golf tournament at Grande Lakes Orlando Course. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports


Lee Trevino has won 29 PGA tours and six major championship victories in his career and is considered as one of the greatest golfers. His golfing skills with wedges were unbeatable. And even today, at the age of 82, he still has got that magic in him. Trevino recently competed at the 2021 PNC Championship and hit a few darts with short irons and wedges. 

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However, apart from this, Trevino is also famous for an unfortunate incident. And after this incident, Lee gave his legendary punch line, “not even God can hit a 1-iron.” But what was that incident? Let’s find out. 

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When a bolt of lightning struck Lee Trevino on a golf course

During the 1975 Western Open at Butler National in Oak Brook, Illinois, Lee Trevino was standing on the 13th green. But suddenly, as the rain started pouring down; he opened an umbrella. However, along with rain, lightning struck Trevino and left him unconscious. Moreover, he wasn’t the only guy who was struck by lightning. Even Jerry Heard and Bobby Nichols were taken to a hospital from the course.

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Trevino had suffered burns to his back, while Heard had burns on his leg, and Bobby had damage to his head. Even King Arnold Palmer was in the field and had an interesting experience. The King said when lightning struck, his club went flying from his hand. 

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So after a while, when Lee Trevino recovered, a reporter asked if he would do anything different to avoid being struck by lightning. And that’s when Trevino came up with his legendary punch line saying he would hold a 1-iron in the air because not even God can hit 1-iron. 

Golf – PNC Championship – The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, Orlando, Florida, U.S. – December 19, 2021 Lee Trevino of the U.S. in the practice range REUTERS/Joe Skipper

Furthermore, he shared his experience about this encounter with a reporter. “It was a nice, warm feeling,” said Trevino“Evidently, I was gone. The electricity stopped my heart. When I woke up, I was in pain. The doctor said if I hadn’t had such a strong heart, I would be dead.” 

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However, thankfully, all the three golfers recovered and soon started competing again. But these things aren’t good and hopefully will never happen again.  

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Amey Kulkarni

660 articles

Amey Kulkarni is a Golf writer at EssentiallySports. He is currently pursuing his Bachelor’s degree in mass media from HR College, Mumbai. Before joining EssentiallySports he used to write articles on Golf and Cricket on his personal blog cricgolf.

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