“Know what to leave out.”
Indeed, Jenkins, whose daughter, Sally, is a columnist at The Post, needed only 10 words where others needed 100, and often those short bursts — either in print or in interviews with other writers — were devoted to what has become something of a lost art: the incisive yet elegant one-liner or takedown. No matter who or what was in his sights — his targets were many, and almost always deserved it — Jenkins cut quick and got out.
Here, then, is some of his best work:
“Two years ago I would have said 10 or 12 [majors], but now I put the over-and-under at 24. . . . Only two things can stop Tiger — injury or a bad marriage.”
— Jenkins, talking to Golf Digest about Tiger Woods in 2001. At the time of the interview, Woods was coming off his Tiger Slam, winning four straight majors in 2000 and 2001, and had six total Grand Slam titles under his belt. He would win eight more, but he’s indeed had to deal with injuries and marital difficulties.
“Hogan nearly died. All Tiger did was damn near get syphilis.”
— Jenkins, talking to the New York Daily News after Woods compared his still-mysterious 2009 car crash and subsequent divorce to Ben Hogan’s 1949 head-on collision with a Greyhound bus, which almost killed him.
“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, in the 2001 Golf Digest interview, when asked if the average PGA Tour event still interested him.
"A guy came up to me in a hotel bar, some overserved sponsor. He squinted at me and said, ‘Aren’t you Dan Jenkins?’ I nodded. He said: ‘I’ve read some of your stuff. Man, you’ve got a problem.’ I said, ‘No, you’ve got the problem, I’ve got the typewriter.’ "
— Jenkins, again to Golf Digest in 2001.
“Greg Norman always has looked like the guy you send out to kill James Bond, not Jack Nicklaus.”
— Jenkins, on the Shark.
Jenkins’s other love was college football, specifically college football at TCU, his alma mater. He covered the sport when golf wasn’t in season.
“Missouri’s Dan Devine looked like a man who just learned that his disease was incurable. He was leaning against a table in the silent gloom of his locker room, a towel around his neck, a paper cup of water in his hand, whip-dog tired, and his large brown eyes fixed vacantly on a lot of things that could have happened."
— Jenkins, writing for Sports Illustrated on a 1960s game involving the Tigers.
“I married a homecoming queen, which means I know as much about college football as the next person, as long as the next person is not Darrell Royal or Bear Bryant."
— Jenkins, in a news release announcing his appointment as the National Football Foundation’s official historian.
Jenkins adapted to Twitter perhaps better than any sportswriter in history. His lean wit contained not one unneeded word and was perfect for 140 characters:
This post has been updated to remove Dan Jenkins’ age.
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