Legendary sports and golf writer Dan Jenkins has passed away at the age of 89 in his hometown of Fort Worth, Texas.
In a wire service report, Jenkins’ career was described as spanning “from Ben Hogan to Tiger Woods and the manual typewriter to Twitter,” which he perfected.
After graduating from Texas Christian University, where he played varsity golf, Jenkins was hired by his local newspaper, the Fort Worth Press. It’s here where he started covering, and befriending, fellow Texans Hogan and Byron Nelson.
“Being from Fort Worth, I would follow Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson anywhere,” Jenkins said in 2011. “Since they’re in there, I’m happy to be the third guy from Fort Worth so included.”
He was later a columnist for the Dallas Times Herald and Playboy magazine, but made his name at Sports Illustrated, covering golf and college football.
During his prime, Larry King called Jenkins “the best sportswriter in America,” and at his death, SI’s Michael Rosenberg refers to him as “simply the most influential sportswriter ever.”
Jenkins retired from SI in 1985, and began a second career as a book author, while penning a monthly column for Golf Digest, where he famously penned a fake interview with Tiger Woods.
His writing style was considered biting, and would often mock and satire golfers he felt were unworthy winners, especially if it were a major and they stepped on history.
“I tried to rave about all the heroes of the game, and they deserved it. … When something great happens — like when an Arnold Palmer or Jack Nicklaus or Tiger Woods or Ben Hogan happens — you don’t have to be funny, you just have to be accurate,” Jenkins was quoted as saying in a ESPN wire report.
“When you have to be funny is when you’re on deadline and somebody like Jack Fleck (1955 U.S. Open) creeps up on you.
“That’s when you have to tap dance, because it doesn’t make any sense. We have more and more of that these days, don’t we?”
He also had no use for the non-major PGA Tour events, once saying, “Jim Furyk coming down the stretch against Mark O’Meara at Greensboro? That’s only important to their immediate families. You might as well ask me to watch the discus and shot put.”
Jenkins is survived by his wife June, sons Danny and Marty, and daughter Sally, a sports columnist for The Washington Post.
Information from Wikipedia, ESPN and the Associated Press was used in this report.