ORLANDO, Fla. – Even at age 82, Dan Jenkins is still delivering the one-liners.
The multi-media sportswriting icon on Wednesday was announced as the newest inductee into the World Golf Hall of Fame Class of 2012, where he will be enshrined alongside Phil Mickelson and Hollis Stacy.
Jenkins, a former newspaperman from Fort Worth, Tex., who has authored bestselling sports books, wrote for magazines and has even become a Twitter practitioner, in May will become the sixth writer to be inducted. He will be enshrined in the lifetime achievement category.
He has attended or covered 211 major championships and counting, starting as a boy, a mark that likely will never be broken.
“I don’t know who’s in second place but they’re a long way back on the track,” he cracked.
Jenkins cut his teeth in golf by tracking the prospects of two local guys named Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson, who learned the game as caddies at the same area golf club. He’s still following them, in a fashion.
“I’m happy to be the third guy from Fort Worth [inducted],” he laughed.
Jenkins is something of a cult figure at tournaments, where he often stands outside the media center, smoking a cigarette and holding court with younger writers who haven’t heard his treasure trove of stories and homilies. Elements of his writing style can be found in the work of Rick Reilly and many other well-known sports scribes.
Not that Jenkins is anywhere near finished.
“I’ll be around for as long as they’ll have me,” he said. “I’ll be carried out with a typewriter … I am so happy I chose this profession.”
Jenkins’ oft-copied writing style is breezy, occasionally a bit ribald, and even snarky at times. In the past couple of years, he has needled Tiger Woods pretty relentlessly.
“I don’t think I ever wrote a line that I didn’t believe,” he said.
Here’s a compilation of some of his best work at Gold Digest: http://www.golfdigest.com/magazine/
Jenkins has seen more golf shots, good and bad, than any other ink-stained wretch and listed his three most memorable events as the 1960 U.S. Open, which featured the trio of Arnold Palmer, Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus – the current, past and future kings of the game; Hogan’s closing 67 at the 1951 U.S. Open at Oakland Hills and Nicklaus’ sixth and final Masters victory at age 46.
It’s a different game now, of course. He used to sit around for hours and shoot the breeze with the likes of Jimmy Demaret, Lee Trevino, Sam Snead and Dave Marr.
“All of those guys were a sportswriter’s dream,” he said. “They needed us as much as we needed them.”
Jenkins was asked where he cultivated his sense of humor and love for sports.
“If you grow up in Texas and don’t like sports,” he said, “they drown you.”
Apparently so. His daughter, Sally, is an award0winning columnist for the Washington Post.