Jenkins at the Majors

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Trade Paper
  • Copyright: 2010-06-01
  • Publisher: Anchor
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Six decades of classic stories on the Masters, U.S. Open, British Open, and PGA Championship by the legendary Dan Jenkins Dan Jenkins has long been considered one of the premier sportswriters in America. Honored and imitated by generations of his peers, Jenkins's wit, fearlessness, and inimitable style set the tone for Sports Illustrated during his years there and are in full display in classic novels like Semi-Tough and Dead Solid Perfect. But it is his golf journalism for the Fort Worth Press, Dallas Times-Herald, Sports Illustrated, and in recent years, Golf Digest- that sets him above and apart. In this masterful collection, Jenkins has selected the best of his original dispatches from the past sixty years- from Ben Hogan's great final-round 67 to win the 1951 U.S. Open at torturous Oakland Hills to Tiger Woods's grimacing playoff win against Rocco Mediate fifty-eight years later-- all written with his colorful humor and unmatched insight. His wry reportage on golf's most iconic players, thrilling finishes, historic moments, and heartbreaking collapses have brought legions of fans intimately close to the action and the larger-than-life personalities of the game. The stories in Jenkins at the Majors remain as vivid and thrilling as the days he wrote them, including: Ben Hogan besting Sam Snead in an epic battle in the 1953 U.S. Open at Oakmont; The legendary 1960 U.S. Open at Cherry Hills, where three eras clashed as Arnold Palmer, Ben Hogan, and Jack Nicklaus battled it out in the final round; Greg Norman's cringe-worthy collapse at the 1996 Masters; Tiger Woods' record-shattering victory in the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. Jenkins was there, immortalizing these and many other great moments in golf history, under deadline, no less, with his signature style and encyclopedic knowledge of the game in this nostalgic and highly entertaining ride. A must-read for every golf fan.

Author Biography

DAN JENKINS, an award-winning writer for Sports Illustrated for more than twenty years, is the author of nineteen works of fiction and nonfiction, including Semi-Tough, Dead Solid Perfect, Baja Oklahoma, Life Its Ownself, Rude Behavior, Fairways and Greens, Slim and None, and most recently, The Franchise Babe. He currently writes a popular column for Golf Digest and now lives full-time in his native Fort Worth, Texas.


Ben Hogan at the 1951 U.S. Open at Oakland Hills

Ben Hogan shot the greatest round of his life--maybe of anyone's life--a stunning three-under 67 in the final round of the U.S. Open championship to win it yet again, this time on the torturous layout of Oakland Hills Country Club near Detroit, but mostly what he wanted to talk about afterward was why people watch golf in the first place. Goodness, don't they have something better to do?
"The golf fan really has my respect," Ben said. "They go out there and get sunburned or rained on, they push each other around, they stand until their backs ache, and I just can't understand how they do it."

He said, "There were probably twenty thousand people out there in the last round, and fifteen thousand of them didn't see anything. There is this couple from Orange, New Jersey, that's followed me for, well, I don't know for how long. They always seem to turn up where I'm playing, and I can always spot them in the crowd."

Interesting to hear this from the man who is supposed to concentrate so deeply that walking from green to tee he's been accused on occasion of failing to recognize his wife, Valerie, when he encountered her.

Hogan went on, "There's a man from Tyler who's been watching me play for more than 10 years. And there's a fellow from Memphis--I don't even know his name--he's always in my gallery. I like to watch college football. You can see everything in reasonable comfort, and it only takes about three hours. But golf . . . I don't know."

Those who watched the golf at Oakland Hills saw the greatest player in the game win on what may have been the toughest Open course ever devised. He did it in the final hours of "Open Saturday," firing the low round of the championship and one of only two scores below 70 over the entire 72 holes. Considering that the average score of the field in the last 18 was 78 strokes, it could be argued that Hogan's closing 67--despite two bogeys--was actually 11 under.

It was Hogan's fourth Open title. That's if you count the '42 "wartime" National Open that he won at Chicago's Ridgemoor Country Club. Next was the record-setting win at Riviera in '48, then last year's comeback triumph in a playoff at Merion, and now this one.
Ben only smiled when reminded that if you ignore the '49 Open at Medinah, the championship he missed because of the near-fatal car wreck, he had actually won three in a row with the Oakland Hills victory.

Even Bobby Jones hadn't done that.
After rounds of 76 and 73, Hogan began the last 36 holes five strokes behind the halfway leader, Bobby Locke, and in a 10-way tie for 16th place.

His 71 in the morning round drew him within striking distance. At this point he was only two back of the co-leaders, Locke and Jimmy Demaret, with Julius Boros and Paul Runyan one ahead of him.
In the afternoon Ben went out directly behind Demaret at a 12-minute interval, and a full hour and a half ahead of Locke, the jowly South African whose putting style resembles a slap but who often makes life uncomfortable for American pros--by beating them on their own tour.

Overlooking the spike marks and divots, and the wear and tear on his body, the golf course Hogan conquered in that final round was a devilish thing that architect Robert Trent Jones had remodeled with orders from the club's membership to "toughen it up and make it memorable."
What Jones did was triple the number of bunkers and relocate them where they were most likely to catch drives off the tee, grow the rough up to eight or 10 inches in most spots, and pinch in the fairways to a sinister 22 yards across.

Sam Snead described the fairways after his one-over 71 led the first round. He said, "I knew it was gonna be tough when I played my first practice round. Three of us walked side by side down the first

Excerpted from Jenkins at the Majors: Sixty Years of the World's Best Golf Writing, from Hogan to Tiger by Dan Jenkins
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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