home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


August 15, 2009

Dan Jenkins


JULIUS MASON: Thank you for joining us for this very special news conference where we pay tribute to a fixture at major championships for more than 50 years. This gentleman has authored more than 20 books and novels, and is one of the most celebrated sports writers of our generation. By our count, he has attended over 20 2 major championships, he has covered 201, he has Tweeted at three. He has not Facebooked yet and he has not downloaded, or I believe has not downloaded, the PGA Championship app on his iPhone. I'm not quite sure if he has an iPhone or cell phone.
Ladies and gentlemen, it's my pleasure to introduce Dan Jenkins who will give you an opening comment and then we'll go to Q&A.
DAN JENKINS: Well, on 1, I hit it left. (Laughter) I think we ought to give something to Julius for being the best PR guy over the last 30 years 25 years. Excluding the hotel in Atlanta, but he's been a joy for us, I think and he's done a lot for the PGA. And this is one of his downside jobs, but he takes care of us better than any of the rest of us, I think.
Left out one setup, covered 45 PGAs, which I think deserves some badge of honor. But if you want to ask me what my favorite moments were, it's covering Vardon and Hagen and Jones, and those guys.
It's been a great geographic trip, because I got to cover the dominant player in the world from Texas and then the one from Pennsylvania and then the one from Pennsylvania and the one from Ohio, the one from Missouri and the one from Spain, and now a guy from California. Pretty good geographic journey.
The thing that's been most special about it is the friendships you make in the press rooms and the press boxes of the world. My heros have always been journalists. More so than the athletes. They're the ones that should be getting the courtesy cars as far as I'm concerned and the parking passes.
But anyhow, it's been great fun and I'm delighted to be recognized for living this long. (Laughter) Thank you, Julius.
JULIUS MASON: Before we go to Q&A as I believe there are several that have questions for you, Dan, I will go back to that Atlanta hotel for a quick moment.
And hopefully there are no representatives from the Sheraton Properties in this media center. It was the Four Points. I remember Dan coming up to me because after the PGA was over they were going to level the place and create a new facility. So when media were calling down to the front desk to say my toilet isn't flushing or my sink isn't working, they would acknowledge that, but wouldn't send anybody up to fix it because it would cost money to fix something that they were going to rip down the next day.
When Dan came in the media center the next morning, he said, "What exactly is the name of the property we're staying in?" "It's the Sheraton Four Points." He said, "Four points out of 10?" (Laughter)
DAN JENKINS: No air conditioning, no ice, no TV, no phone. It was a grand slam. (Laughter).
JULIUS MASON: I think some of your friends might have a question or two of you.

Q. What is your opinion since 1970 the way Hazeltine has come around? Since 1970, we remember your comments about coming to Hazeltine and covering Tony Jacklin's victory here. Anything that's changed in your observations?
DAN JENKINS: My goodness, there wasn't anything here in 1970. I'll tell you my favorite moment from 1970 really. The London daily papers were on strike that week except for the Daily Telegraph, and Leonard Crawley was here and here we get an English winner Jacklin, and Leonard is on the phone dictating the story when Bob Green and I walked past him to get some coffee. We were on deadline, too. As we walked by, Leonard said, "I have the whole of England at my feet." (Laughter).
Leonard, by the way, we all collect great leads and stuff, but Leonard holds the title for the greatest golf lead ever written bar none. One year he wrote despite the abominable handling of the press luggage at the Zurich airport, the Zurich Swiss Open got off to a rather good start yesterday. (Laughter).

Q. It's been two months since your last press conference. (Laughter.) Do you have any breaking news for us or is it just -- or another press gift or what?
DAN JENKINS: I'd like to say something amusing, but I'm under contract to Twitter this week so I can't. (Laughter.) Verdi asked me, "How long are you going to keep doing this?" I said, "I'm not qualified to do anything else. So I'll be here until they carry me out and the message on my tombstone will be 'I knew this would happen.'" (Laughter.)

Q. Dan, your record, does it include the Hogan non-Open Open?
DAN JENKINS: I can't understand you any better right now than I did last night. (Laughter.)

Q. The non-Open Open that Hogan won would you like to comment.
DAN JENKINS: At Oakland Hills. The what?
JULIUS MASON: The non-Open Open.
DAN JENKINS: I've got hearing aids now. They must not be working very well.

Q. The World War II thing that Hogan won, would you like to comment?
DAN JENKINS: I count it. Of course I did. So does he. Instead of fifth gold medal, there was sectional qualifying, there was regional qualifying, played USGA rules, why wouldn't we count it. Everybody counts it but the USGA, or maybe not. I don't know. But the thing that made Ben, one of the proudest things of his whole career, he told me one time that nobody remembers about that 1942 Open in Ridgemont in Chicago that he won is that he played the last round with Bobby Jones. He was in the tournament. He was the captain in the service. Anyhow, small world.

Q. You told the story at the 50th anniversary of the Golf Writers dinner at Augusta and sharing Hogan quotes with Bob Drum and Drum trading back with you with comma quotes. Do you remember the story at all?
DAN JENKINS: I don't. But I remember we used to take turns making up quotes for Arnold. Drum turned to me one day and said, "Jesus Christ, we've turned him into a Vegas lounge act. We better pull back." (Laughter.) As I said, the friendships you make in the press room, we share the humor. We share the cynicism, happily, and I've been around long enough to be friends and known some of my idols like Jim Murray and Red Smith and Furman Bisher and people like that. Those are the things I treasure the most about the business we're in, is the laughter and the fun you get in the press boxes. I wouldn't trade it for anything.
And you guys are far more interesting than the athletes, you really are. I think we all are. Who wants to talk to an athlete? Especially a golfer. (Laughter.)

Q. In all of your numerous best-selling novels, including Baja Oklahoma, were any of the characters based on you?
DAN JENKINS: Well, I think there's a little of me in all of them. I think that's true of any author. And combinations of people and friends that you meet. And I steal shamelessly from everybody. If I hear somebody say a funny -- Trevino has given me lines I've used in novels, and a lot of pro football players like Meredith and Griffith and Sonny Jones and guys like that.
Like I say, I steal and lift and change and sometimes improve and sometimes make it a little edgier if I can. But all we know is what people tell you. The thing I tell most -- not to get into a journalism lecture, but when young guys ask me things about how we do what we do and I tell them that you've got to learn from experience what to leave out. Your story should have a theme and sometimes you say the most wonderful anecdote in the world or hear the funniest line you've ever heard, but if it's not going to fit the theme so you save it for some other time when it's relevant.
Every event, every sports event, every golf tournament, this golf tournament, we'll have a defining moment and you recognize that moment and go to the typewriter machine and kick it to death and then get to the part. That's about all there is to it.

Q. What's your favorite of the 201 majors you've covered?
DAN JENKINS: I think the '60 at Cherry Hills Open stands way above the rest of them because it was Palmer, Nicklaus and Hogan meeting in on that day, that afternoon, that fabulous afternoon of golf. The past, the future and the king. It was great.
There have been other good ones. Obviously Jack winning in '75 and Jack winning in '86 and Tiger winning the Masters the first year. Tiger and Garcia, PGA at Medinah, which I think was a turning point in both of their careers. That was important.
Great British Open in '70 at St. Andrews when Nicklaus won over Sanders in the playoff. And Trevino Nicklaus playoff at Merion Open. It usually involves some golfer we've heard of. That helps.
I used to be the guy, in my years at Sports Illustrated I used to be the guy that the editor would tell me to be sure to tell Arnold Palmer to wear a red sweater or shirt on Sunday for the cover, assuming he would win. When he didn't win and Tommy Aaron won, they blamed me.
We root for stories. We root for journalism more than people. And we know that Tiger sells. And we know people want to read about Tiger, so that's what you write. My friend Ron Sirak and Doug Ferguson got the AP job. The thing that Bob Green told Sirak and would have told Doug: You can't write too much Jack Nicklaus, because that was the way it was in that day.
Now you can't write too much Tiger Woods. And Tiger is a story even when he loses. He's even a bigger story when he loses in some cases. That's what people want.
That's just the way it is. We didn't create that world, I don't believe. I think the fans did. I think television did. And the one sadness I have is that us print guys are not as important as the TV guys, and I guess there's a reason for that. But we used to be. And I'm happy I was around then.
But times change. Whether there won't be any newspaper some day or whether the newspapers will be weeklies and give-aways. And the Internet's great. I think there's a lot of talent on the net.
I think there's a lot of great young writers out there. They're funny. They work hard. And I don't think they're to be put down. I think they deserve all the respect that we can give them for the ones that are good, the ones that we like.
The world's changing. And we just have to change with it. I never thought I'd be on the computer until my son bought me one and taught me how to do something. I can only write and e-mail. I don't know how to do anything else. Took me five years to learn how to cut and paste. (Laughter) He said: Dad, you don't know how to cut and paste. I said: I don't write that bad. (Laughter) Why don't we go cover golf?

Q. First of all, just congratulations and good wishes from all your friends over from the other side of the Atlantic. I'd like to ask you, you were obviously a writer when Jack won all his 18 and people probably thought there wouldn't be anybody to match him. We now have somebody very close to that. Wonder, looking around this room, do you think there's anyone in this room who will ever top your record of 201 majors?
DAN JENKINS: I don't know. I don't know. I never even thought about it until a few months ago when Digest asked me and I had to stop and count. But who knows.
I mean, who knows what's going to happen to journalism. Alexander has been out for 135 of them, I don't know how many Doug has, but he's been out here for a while. Depends on how long you want to stay.
I never wanted to do anything else. So I wasn't going anywhere. I was happy that somebody would pay me to do it. So guys change careers. They move on. They do other things and my two passions in sports were golf and college football. And they still are.
And like I told somebody last night after I had a couple of drinks I said, "Hey, golf is fun. It's beautiful. It's elite. It's gorgeous and all those things. But college football it's important. People live and die for that sport."

Q. Top five list of golfers. We know Hogan will be number one, fill out your top five list and why?
DAN JENKINS: I'll have Hogan number one. I never saw him play, but how do you leave out Jones? Hogan, Jones, Byron Nelson, Sam Sneed, Tiger, Nicklaus. That would be five or six. Hard to go up against that.
Right now, until Tiger beats Jack, he's going to stay in the middle. But if he ever passes Jack, he'll move up to -- nobody is ever going to top Hogan for me. The greatest shot-maker that ever lived.
He won more in a shorter period of time. He was a thoroughly dominant player. But maybe some day Tiger will be No. 2. But, see, Hogan would have won -- he missed three years during the war. Missed one year for the car wreck. There were a lot of majors he didn't get a chance to play in.
And he still won 10 as far as I'm concerned. It's like somebody -- it's like the guys in the press now calling Roger Federer, the greatest tennis player around because he won 14 majors.
Rod Laver won two Grand Slams and he was unable to play for five years. He missed 20 majors to play in. He would have won 20. So how do you want to judge it?
JULIUS MASON: Thank you very much on behalf of PGA of America and all your friends out in the audience.

End of FastScripts

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297