Category: Dan Jenkins


May 08, 2012

Truth & Rumors: HOF inductees tee off on Tiger

Posted at 12:44 PM by Michael Chwasky

Some interesting stories came out of Monday's World Golf Hall of Fame induction, which featured the likes of Phil Mickelson, LPGA great Hollis Stacy, two-time major champion Sandy Lyle, writer Dan Jenkins, and famed player/broadcaster Peter Alliss. Aside from some emotional comments from Phil and some humor from Lyle, the tastiest tidbits were comments regarding Tiger Woods, the current state of his game, and his chances of breaking the Golden Bear's major record. 

Peter Alliss, who's never been shy about speaking his mind, didn't pull any punches when it came to El Tigre's game. 

“I do not understand the thinking of Tiger Woods,” Alliss said. “I think his golfing brain, for some reason or other, is completely addled.

“Perhaps the good part of his brain for a period drained from here, down to here,” Alliss said, motioning from his head to his groin. “And that caused him great distress, probably a modicum of enjoyment at the time. But he’s gone.”

Alliss went on to say that Tiger is simply getting too much instruction and compared his plight to Luciano Pavarotti inexplicably trying to go from tenor to baritone, and added that he could fix Tiger in about 30 minutes. If he couldn't, according to Aliss, he'd take more serious measures. 

“I’m not saying I’m a great teaching guru, but I’d love to have about a half an hour [with Woods]. If he couldn’t be put right in an hour, I’d go home and stick my head in a bucket of ice water, because it’s so simple. You stand and you swing.”

Allis has a history of trenchant Tiger criticism, including this gem on BBC radio in February 2010.

Jenkins, who was even less kind, said he didn't believe Tiger would ever catch Nicklaus, and if he did, "he'll be the first guy that ever did it with three swings."

The famous scribe then went on to question Tiger's heart and determination in what could be considered a pretty blatant display of disrespect to a player who's won 14 major championships. 

"...The thing I always thought, and I don't know if it's true or not, but everybody wants to win and everyone says they want to win, but the great champions absolutely despised the idea of losing. I think that's what Ben Hogan had, what Arnold had, Jack certainly had it. I frankly don't know whether Tiger Woods has it or not because he has never had to come from behind. Every major he won he was in front and everyone, most of them, dropped dead."

Man U Fan Rory McIlroy Steals Man City's Trainer

There's been plenty of well-deserved talk about current No. 1 player in the world Rory McIlory's change in physique over the last year or so, and it seems his impressive fitness regimen is destined to continue. According to The Telegraph (UK), Rory's bulging biceps and monstrous 3-woods are largely due to help from Manchester City's fitness expert Steve McGregor, who also works with strongman Lee Westwood, and the New York Knicks.

Despite Rory's impressive results, McGregor informed McIlroy over this past Christmas that he would have to terminate their working relationship due to his heavy workload with Man City. However, it appears being the heir apparent to professional golf's throne clearly has some pull, and McIlroy and his camp have now successfully retained McGregor's services for the foreseeable future, despite McIlroy's vocal support of Man City's soccer rival Manchester United.

We didn’t quite beg, but Rory did feel Steve was a vital part of the team,” said his manager, Conor Ridge. “He’s really happy Steve could keep working with him.”

 Check out Rory bombing his 3-wood past Ricky Fowler's drive on the 18th at Quail Hollow: 

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December 14, 2011

A Hall-of-Fame Dan Jenkins reader from the SI Vault

Posted at 5:05 PM by Golf.com

Congratulations to Dan Jenkins, the first living writer inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. A legend at 82, Jenkins has covered golf for more than 60 years, many of them at Sports Illustrated. In honor of Jenkins, we collected some of our favorites Jenkins stories from the SI Vault. Enjoy, it's hard not to...

1. "The Glory Game at Goat Hill" (Sports Illustrated, Aug. 16, 1965)

Goat Hills is gone now. It was swallowed up almost four years ago by the bulldozers of progress, and in the end it was nice to learn that something could take a divot out of those hard fairways. But all of the regular players had left long before. We had grown up at last. Maybe it will be all right to talk about the place now, and about the people and the times we had. Maybe it will be therapeutic. At least it will help explain why I do not play golf so much anymore. I mean, I keep getting invited to Winged Head and Burning Foot and all those fancy clubs we sophisticated New Yorkers are supposed to frequent, places where, I hear, they have real flag sticks instead of broom handles. It sounds fine, but I usually beg off. I am, frankly, still over golfed from all those years at Goat Hills in Texas. You would be, too, if.... Well, let me tell you some of it. Not all. I will try to be truthful and not too sentimental. But where shall I begin? With Cecil? Yeah, I think so. He was sort of a symbol in those days, and... Read more

2. "A High Kind of New Low Life" (Sports Illustrated, July 6, 1964)  

In professional tournament golf the clubhouse veranda can be a noteworthy blend of rumble seat, wax museum, promenade deck, theater wings and courthouse steps. As the tour moves from one Crystal Rancho Happy Avocado Creek Country Club to another, the verandas undergo some severe botanical changes—for example, palm trees become pines and vice versa—but the human plant life remains practically changeless. Except for the occasional intrusion of a spectator, fully equipped with binoculars, periscope, chair seat, transistor and hot dog, and the almost invariable presence of at least one young girl in Capri pants beneath a large straw bonnet, the regular veranda standers comprise a remarkably homogeneous and identifiable part of golf. They are the in-group, style-casual, up-scale, hanging-in, cooling-it businessmen of the game. And as they spread across the lawn, gazing toward the nearest leader board while a tournament progresses, they are not unlike a cluster of military commanders watching the glow of shellfire from a distant valley. Read more

3. "There’s Never Been an Open Like It" (Sports Illustrated, June 1960)

 They were the most astonishing four hours in golf since Mary, Queen of Scots found out what dormie meant and invented the back nine. And now, given 18 years of reflection, they still seem as significant to the game as, for instance, the day Arnold Palmer began hitching up his trousers, or the moment Jack Nicklaus decided to thin down and let his hair fluff, or that interlude in the pro shop when Ben Hogan selected his first white cap.

Small wonder that no sportswriter was capable of outlining it against a bright blue summer sky and letting the four adjectives ride again: it was too big, too wildly exciting, too crazily suspenseful, too suffocatingly dramatic. What exactly happened? Oh, not much. Just a routine collision of three decades at one historical intersection. Read more

4. A Braw Brawl for Tom and Jack (Sports Illustrated, July 18, 1977) 

Go ahead and mark it as the end of an era in professional golf if you're absolutely sure that Jack Nicklaus has been yipped into the sunset years of his career by the steel and nerve and immense talent of Tom Watson. You could argue that way now, in these hours after Tom Watson has become the new king of the sport in a kingly land; when Watson has already become the Player of the Year, not to mention the future; when he has done it in the most memorable way in the annals of golf; and when he has done it for the second time in this season to the greatest player who ever wore a slipover shirt—Jack Nicklaus. Read more

5. Where a Golf Nut Is King (Sports Illustrated, Sept. 28, 1970) 

What could happen in the middle of this story is that the writer might decide to hurl Morocco to the ground and ravage it. Nothing obscene, mind you. Just a gentle, loving tussle in a platter of couscous while his heart thumps ecstatically and the neckcloth on his Foreign Legion cap billows in the soft Marrakesh breeze. The thing is, Morocco grabs you here, right here, like a haunting song. But even before I went there recently on a golf assignment—uh huh, golf among the Arabs—I had been carrying on a rather violent affair with the country. Casbahs and French Legionnaires had done it. And harem girls. And Humphrey Bogart running a bar in Casablanca. What chance did I have on a visit? None, of course, which explains why I shall soon be rejoining a group of contented Berbers in Tiznit, there to enjoy the quiet life of carving silver gunpowder horns and perhaps helping tend the greens of the Robert Trent Jones course that King Hassan II is certain to have constructed one day in the Anti-Atlas.

I thought I knew what to expect in the way of golf in Morocco. I knew the king was building courses as if he had heard that Charlie Farrell was opening a racket club in Agadir. I was aware he had also been flying in Claude Harmon between nines to put some altitude on his low darters. But a golf course there, I felt, would have to combine all that was beautiful and serene about the St. Louis zoo and the battle of the Kasserine Pass. Read more

Update:

6. You're All Right, Jack (Sports Illustrated, April 1975)

Yeah, but Manny, we want Bob Redford for all three leading men. O.K., Jimmy Caan for Weiskopf, but Redford's got to play those two blond guys, Nicklaus and Miller. We call it The Greatest Golf Tournament Ever Played. So people argue. Who'll know? One blond guy makes a putt from here to Encino, and then the other two guys miss putts on the 18th from so close the hole looks as big as Coldwater Canyon. Now the blond guy who wins, Nicklaus, who is already the best there ever was, he marries his one-iron and takes his putter for a mistress. Cut and print. Ciao, baby.

There was something about the 1975 Masters that was cinematic from the beginning. The setup was perfect, all of the world's best golfers coming into the thing primed, poised, inspired, eager. And sure enough, it began to unfold toward what promised to be a historic climax, one way or another. But no one could possibly have imagined that in the final hours, it would become so excruciatingly exciting and monumentally meaningful in terms of the characters involved.

Honestly, if someone had said to one of those brilliant screenwriters, Do me a script where the year's first major tournament comes along, and on the last day, Sunday, April 13, Jack Nicklaus and Johnny Miller and Tom Weiskopf go out there and undergo the most unbearable of sporting pressure and provide the most inconceivable of thrills, hole after hole, until the whole business is ultimately decided by the vagaries of the game itself, what would have been written was precisely what happened last week in Augusta, Ga. Read more

More Dan Jenkins from the SI Vault

April 14, 2010

Truth and Rumors: Y.E. Yang takes out golf writer over delivery joke

Posted at 4:25 PM by Steve Beslow

Y.E. Yang still smarting over Golf Digest "takeout" tweet
Ryan Ballengee at waggleroom.com has done us the favor of compiling the back-and-forth of the unlikely Twitter battle of veteran sportswriter Dan Jenkins and defending PGA Championship winner Y.E. Yang. After Jenkins missed the mark with a tweet from the Masters about takeout food ("Y.E. Yang is three shots off the lead. I think we got takeout from him last night"), Ballengee responds to Golf Digest's response to Yang's response. (Got all that?)

           Golf Digest issued an apology yesterday for Jenkins' remarks. 

Dan Jenkins' Masters tweet about Y.E. Yang generated several letters of protest. Jenkins’ reference was intended to play off the PGA champion Y.E. Yang's name and the P.F. Chang's restaurant chain. We removed it from our archive and apologize for any offense. Certainly none was intended.

That's fine and I appreciate [Golf Digest editor in chief] Jerry [Tarde] doing that since what Dan said was in poor taste -- and was really reaching on a PF Chang's joke. But Jenkins needs to apologize. Man up, realize what he said offended a good number of people -- maybe 2 billion people by YE Yang's count -- and apologize.

Not to pour fuel on the fire, but am I the only one who finds that explanation even more insulting than the original tweet? Lest we forget, Yang's not even Chinese! This little blowup might have legs as Wednesday morning Yang suggested (via Twitter of course) that Asian-American organizations get involved in protesting Jenkins' remarks.

I hope the Asian American Association or any other NGO would help the fight on such racism/racist comments by esteemed journalists

Westwood shows class in Masters loss
Lee Westwood made quite a few fans in the U.S. (and the U.S. media) with his performance at the Masters. And I'm not talking about the way he played. Christopher Clarey of The New York Times describes what we didn't see on television:

Lee Westwood had just come up short again in a major championship, just seen his own dreams get crushed after leading the tournament after three rounds. And yet — with the narrow pathway between the green and the scorer’s cabin blocked by Phil’s and Amy’s extended embrace and the camera crews and photographers recording it — Westwood waited politely if certainly not peacefully with his strong arms folded.

A less gracious loser would have quickly found a way to squeeze through and get past a celebration that could only remind him of what might have been, but Westwood, even in the midst of his latest disappointment, remained sensitive to the situation.

While Clarey's piece also touches on Westwood's close relationship with Darren Clarke and how likely it is that the Brit will finally pull out a major win, the author led with the right story--for now, Lee Westwood is just a jolly good loser...but don't expect that to last very long.

The Ryder Cup is only 170 days away
Every other year, the end of the Masters kicks off the start of Ryder Cup fever, and 2010 is no exception. Unfortunately for the European team, this year's Masters may have been a preview to an ugly showdown. Douglas Lowe of Scotland's The Herald talks about the tough decisions that captain Colin Montgomerie must face after poor play from nearly every European not named Westwood or Poulter:

Major championships are invariably the strongest indicators of form when the subjective element comes into the equation for what will be three captain’s picks for Montgomerie come the end of qualification at the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles in August, and elsewhere there was not much cheer. Only five others made the cut and there was little to write home about for Robert Karlsson (tied 43rd) and Sergio Garcia (tied 45th) although Soren Kjeldsen and Francesco Molinari (both tied 30th) will not be unhappy and leading amateur Matteo Manassero, still just 16, underlined his potential by finishing joint 36th.

It is below the cut line that the particularly gloomy picture emerges. None of the bright new hopes of Martin Kaymer, Rory McIlroy, Simon Dyson, Alvaro Quiros and Ross Fisher played all four rounds, and these are players Montgomerie has been enthusing about. Even more worrying was the performances of the players who have already been blooded in the biennial beanfeast that will be staged in October at Celtic Manor in Wales, with early exits for Padraig Harrington, Paul Casey, Luke Donald, Graeme McDowell and Oliver Wilson. 

Even worse for Montgomerie is that his counterpart won't have nearly the same problems. Strong finishes from Tiger Woods and Anthony Kim have brought both safely into the top-8 in the U.S. rankings, meaning that Corey Pavin will have some leeway with his captain's picks. And he couldn't be happier about it.

You keep using that word--I do not think it means what you think it means
In a well-intentioned blog post for NPR, Todd Holzman describes the "diversity" he saw at Augusta National over the weekend:

Golf -- the ultimate country club game -- is one of the last places you might think to look for diversity. And inside the world of golf, few places have been less diverse historically than the Masters in Augusta, Ga.

Yet as the tournament wrapped up Sunday, the faces on the leaderboard offered a surprising mini-Census. The winner was Apple Pie American Phil Mickelson, of course, followed by British star Lee Westwood.

Then came Anthony Kim, the rising 24-year-old Korean-American star; Tiger Woods, a veritable melting pot of ethnic backgrounds; and K.J. Choi, who taught himself how to play golf in South Korea with the help of a Jack Nicklaus instructional book.

Holzman then goes on to recount some of the ethnically diverse Masters winners and competitors, like Angel Cabrera and Lee Elder. But what does it all mean?

What does it all mean? Maybe not too much. Golf is hardly a microcosm of society. It's expensive and time-consuming and in most cases it's an acquired taste.

But it's good to see that even a fortress like Augusta National is not entirely impregnable for those who keep swinging.

Unfortunately, that's where Holzman misses the mark. At the end of the day, he's talking about diversity on the PGA Tour (an admirable subject which deserves many a blog post). If he really thinks there's diversity at Augusta National, he should spend five minutes in a room with Martha Burke.

Moving on from the Masters
My Masters hangover is going to last for weeks this year, but Larry Bohannan of The Desert Sun has already moved on and is looking at what's next for the PGA Tour. In a simple rundown of things to come in the next few months, Bohannan raises a storyline that may be sticking around for the next couple years:

1. Sponsorship. Verizon is the sponsor of this week’s Heritage tournament, but this is the last year Verizon will be involved in the tournament. CA is out at the tournament in Miami. And there is no concrete word on what is going to happen with the Bob Hope Classic as it stares at a second year without a sponsor. So, Mr. Finchem, what are we going to do with all those empty sponsorship slots on tour?

Even with great TV ratings at this year's Masters, it's hard to imagine that golf is out of the woods when it comes to sponsorship deals (especially with Tiger disappearing back into the ether). At the end of the day, it will be the way that Tim Finchem steers the Tour through this economic downturn (and not the way he handles Tiger's scandal) will determine how we judge the success of his tenure as commissioner.

February 24, 2010

Daily Flogging: Tiger Woods era over? Tiger news rolls on

Posted at 12:23 PM by Gary Van Sickle

Tiger Woods news is not going away anytime soon. Here's your daily helping:

In Golf Digest, Dan Jenkins declared Woods "graveyard dead." Apparently it's not too early to consider the possibility that Jenkins is right.

In BusinessWeek, Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek ask the big question with the headline: Is the Tiger Woods Era Over? Tiger's fall from grace and golf's declining numbers were behind the question.

Unfortunately, the article never gets anywhere near an answer, mainly relying on Nielsen figures regarding Tiger's apology speech (2.07 million viewers on Fox News, 1.7 million on ESPN); a study by HCD Research that said 64 percent of viewers found Tiger's apology sufficient and 60 percent thought it was sincere; and the old news that several behind-the-scenes Tiger books fueled by mistress revelations will hit bookstores within a few months.

BW also noted that Tiger's ranking in the Davie Brown Index, which rates celebrities on appeal, endorsement and trust, dropped from the top 10 to No. 121. The mag noted that Nielsen ratings for the PGA Tour's three West Coast swing events--Bob Hope, Torrey Pines, Northern Trust Open--were up 29 percent from a year ago and ran a quote from Commissioner Tim Finchem claiming there are no negative implications in the short term due to Tiger's absence. If he said it, BW figures, it must be true.

Finallly, BW notes that the National Golf Foundation reports that the number of Americans playing at least one round of golf has dropped to 10.2 percent of the population, down from 12.1 percent in 1990. What does that have to do with the end of the Tiger Woods era? Like most of this article, which lacked any golf savvy whatsoever, very little.

Frazier Moore of Canadian Press reports that network TV execs think televised golf will be fine with or without Tiger.

"We're all looking forward to him coming back, but until then we're doing perfectly fine," said Sean McManus, president of CBS News and Sports

Tournaments in which Woods isn't playing generally suffer a drop in viewership and a loss of advertising revenue, notes Larry Novenstern, executive vice-president of Optimedia.

For the 15 or so tournaments where Woods might have been expected to play this year, Novenstern estimated the resulting advertising loss to networks would total between US$10 million and $20 million. In comparison to other economic hardships challenging broadcasters right now, he says, "This is just a speed bump."

CBS' McManus agrees. "Golf does better economically when Tiger is a major force on the PGA tour," he says, "but golf is still a valuable product for us."

There's no question Woods delivers a ratings kick for any tournament he plays in, ranging from 20 per cent to as much as 50 per cent.

"But a certain per cent of Tiger's audience is not the traditional golf audience and, in effect, is not what many advertisers are looking for," says Neal Pilson, president of Pilson Communications, a media consulting firm, and a former president of CBS Sports. "If Tiger's in an event, you expect a 50 per cent increase in ratings. You don't necessarily negotiate a 50 per cent increase in the advertising rate.

"There's a strong, economically secure core audience for golf, and there is no indication that they have left," Pilson says. "The more casual audience that follows Tiger probably won't be back until he comes back again."

Guess who's picking up the tab for TigerJam I--The Apology? Garry Smits reports in the Florida Times-Union that it'll be Team Tiger, not the PGA Tour or local taxpayers, footing the bill for 30 off-duty sheriff's deputies and the room rental at the TPC Sawgrass.

The deputies were paid $33 per hour for overtime, and the Times-Union says there is a $5,000 minimum for renting the Sunset Room in the clubhouse, where Tiger's mea culpa took place.

Meanwhile, AOL Fanhouse's David Whitley earns the Hard Hat of the Day Award by taking the PGA Tour to task. He says the tour should suspend Woods but is too scared to do so. Some amusing highlights from Whitley:

Tiger Woods dodged a few hundred embarrassing questions last week. His enablers at the PGA Tour can't answer just one. Why isn't Woods suspended?...

And please, spare me the addiction excuse. That didn't work for Daly, and he had an addiction that's actually recognized by the American Psychiatric Association. Tiger's is recognized by 16-year-old boys who don't have parental blocks on their computer...

Elsewhere, the apologizing continues. A letter from Tiger and his wife, Elin, was sent to parents of the pre-school their 2-year-old attends thanking the parents for their support and apologizing (again) for any inconvenience the increased media attention caused. The letter, obtained by WFTV.com in Orlando, added:

"We truly understand how frustrating it can be. We hope that the paparazzi will find something better to do with their time in the near future."

May 24, 2008

Dan Jenkins has still got it

Posted at 2:32 PM by Gary Van Sickle

A funny thing happened on my way to the Senior PGA Championship at Oak Hill, repeatedly. I had time on my flights to read The Franchise Babe ($24.95, Doubleday) by Dan Jenkins.

The thing about Jenkins is that you know what you're getting when you pick up any of his books -- a few hundred pages of semi-hilarious, is what.

His latest  novel is no exception. In fact, it’s great to see that Jenkins still has his fastball. He ranks with the best and most influential sportswriters of the 20th century (I’d say the best, period -- see The Dogged Victims of Inexorable Fate, the best golf book ever written, and Saturday’s America, the best college football book ever written, for details).

Nobody writes smart-ass snappy dialogue better than The Master, especially in his native language -- Texan. Which makes for fast, light and amusing reading. You will laugh out loud half a dozen times, guaranteed minimum, with this one.

There’s actually a fairly clever concept for this novel. Jenkins, playing the role of wise-cracking, chain-smoking, heavy-drinking, terminally carousing middle-aged sportswriter Jack Bannon (yeah, quite a stretch), decides that pro golf has gotten stale so he goes to where he hears the action really is -- the LPGA Tour.

Here, let Jack Bannon explain it: “You could say I was trying to change my luck. Or you could say I’d grown tired of writing Tiger Woods, comma. For more than twenty years I’d been covering the PGA Tour but in the last ten or twelve, all I’d done was write about Tiger whipping up on a bunch of slugs -- in his sleep, blindfolded with one endorsement contract tied behind him. I needed a break from watching him beat guys who dress the same, get rich for finishing tenth and couldn’t give you a good quote if you stuck a shoehorn down their throats. There’s a joke in the pressrooms now that the tour should be known as Black Jesus and the Dwarfs.”

His rant continues later: “These guys get rich for not winning … and this is while they’re criticizing the golf course and the clubhouse food and telling the sponsor they may not come back next year. They don’t even know each other, much less the press. They only know their agents, swing coaches, sports psychologists and TV anchors. It’s a boring, dreary period in American pro golf. The worst since 1911 or 1912, when the only star we had was good old Johnny McDermott.”

Bannon writes for New York-based SM, The Sports Magazine. Which is nothing like New York-based Sports Illustrated, one of Jenkins’ former employers in real life. Bannon is a star and a published author, having written Excuse My Free Drops, a golf book, and You Can Bet Me, a novel. He arrives on the LPGA scene just in time to discover Ginger Clayton, a gorgeous 18 year old who’s about to conquer the tour with big game, and her equally gorgeous -- and available -- mom, Thurlene. The rest is a breezy mix of golf, Tonya Harding-like intrigue, romance and funny lines.

The plot isn’t complicated. The truth is, you read Jenkins for his comic observations like this: “Stockbrokers and lawyers, pound for pound, made a s---load more money than journalists. So I wrote it off as one of God’s mistakes, like not letting dogs live longer.”

May Bannon, and Jenkins, live long and prosper. And, oh yeah, please keep on writing.





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