Legendary sports writer Jenkins dies at 89


FORT WORTH, Texas – Dan Jenkins, author of big-name sports and best-selling author in a career that has lasted from Ben Hogan to Tiger Woods and the manual typewriter to Twitter, has passed away. He was 89 years old.

TCU Sports Director Jeremiah Donati confirmed that Jenkins died Thursday in his hometown of Fort Worth.

Jenkins began his career as a writer at Fort Worth Press and grew up as a celebrity at Sports Illustrated. He has written the bestsellers "Semi-Tough", "Baja Oklahoma" and "Dead Solid Perfect", and has been a columnist for Playboy and Golf Digest.

Jenkins played golf at TCU for his beloved town, Horned Frogs, and was a close friend of Hogan, also from Fort Worth. A member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, Jenkins began covering the sport after Hogan and fellow countryman Byron Nelson of Fort Worth.

"Being from Fort Worth, I would follow Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson from anywhere," Jenkins said during a conference call in 2011 to announce his selection to the Hall of Fame. "Since they're there, I'm happy to be the third type of Fort Worth, so included."

Legendary sports writer Dan Jenkins, presented at the 2009 PGA Championship alongside his daughter and fellow Sally Jenkins, died Thursday in her hometown of Fort Worth. He was 89 years old. Swing Update Photo / Jeff Roberson

Jenkins covered his first major at the 1951 US Open. Hogan took 67 on the final lap to win at Oakland Hills, and Jenkins has always said that this turn on this "monster" of golf course was as good as it was at home. He had seen anyone play anyway.

"Oakland Hills looked more like a penitentiary than a golf course," Jenkins said.

He listed this among his three best golfing moments, with Jack Nicklaus winning his sixth Masters at age 46 and the American Open of 1960, considered by many to be one of the greatest days of golf. history of the championship. Arnold Palmer shot 65 in the final to beat Hogan, the aging star, and Nicklaus, the emerging star who was still amateur that day at Cherry Hills.

"I had never lived – even as a former cynical writer – as much enthusiasm as we felt the following afternoon," Jenkins said. "There have been so many great moments in golf that you have even forgotten some of them, but this one stands out again … I had the privilege of attending so many big tournaments, and people have paid me to go watch it, and I am terribly grateful.

"And I'm so happy to have chosen the job I've done."

His writing style was based on humor, and he often made fun of players for whom he felt unworthy of winning a major tournament – starting with Jack Fleck, who had defeated his beloved Hogan in the playoffs at the Olympic Club of the US Open of 1955, which remains one of the biggest upheavals of the game.

In all his writings, however, Jenkins said that he had never tried to sell the accuracy for a good joke.

"Even though I was laughing at the humor, I do not think I ever wrote a sentence that I did not believe in," Jenkins said. "I tried not to draw too much blood, I tried to rave all the heroes of the game and they deserved it … When something terrific happens – as in The case of Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods or Ben Hogan – you do not have to be funny, you just have to be precise.

"When you have to be funny, it's when the time comes and someone like Jack Fleck slips on you," he said. "It's at that point that you have to tap the taps because that makes no sense, we're getting more and more these days, is not it? & # 39; & # 39;

Recipient of the PEN / ESPN Award of Excellence for all of his literary writings on literary sports, Jenkins is also a member of the Texas Golf Hall of Fame and the National Hall of Fame Sportscasters and Sportswriters.

When PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem listed all of Jenkins' achievements, including his many writing awards, Jenkins responded, "You have forgotten my polio treatment."

Jenkins is survived by his wife June, his sons Danny and Marty, and his daughter Sally, columnist for The Washington Post.

The information provided by The Associated Press has been used in this report.