Featured Golf News
2012 Hall of Fame Class Complete
With Phil Mickelson elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame in November and Hollis Stacy selected through the Veterans Category, the final three inductees of the 2012 Class were identified Thursday. That trio includes Sandy Lyle, Peter Alliss and Dan Jenkins.
Lyle was selected through the International Ballot, while Alliss and Dan Jenkins made it through the Lifetime Achievement Category. All five will be inducted on May 7, 2012, at World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Fla.; the annual ceremony is held on Monday of Players Championship week.
Lyle, who's still an active player on the Champions Tour, is the first British player to win the Masters. Before earning a green jacket in 1988, the Scottish-born player, now 53, won the 1985 British Open. He also won 29 tournaments, including six on the PGA Tour.
At Thursday's announcement, Lyle said: "Yes, I was obviously very, very excited. Jack (Peters, chief operating officer of the Hall of Fame) showed me a whole folder here of dos and don'ts, so I've got a bit of midnight reading for the next few days, so I'd better make sure I behave myself. If you need any silverware cleaning, I do live up the road only 20 miles away, so I can make myself useful for there.
"I've never been there to the Hall of Fame myself, but I've looked on the internet and seen the whole list of names from way back in the 1930s or something. To be part of that list of names of players and achievements, as (Jose Maria Olazabal) said, it's quite a humble thing to be involved. I'm still waiting for some grandchildren, but I'm sure I'll let them know when the time comes.
"But I'm very honored and very pleased and flattered, and thank you for the votes that have been around, and I'm sure I'll try and do my best to keep the Hall of Fame going for many years to come."
Alliss, 80, began playing professionally at the age of 16. He won 23 tournaments during his career between 1947 and 1975, including three British PGA Championships. After his playing days, Alliss became one of golf's best-known commentators, working for the BBC, ABC, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
Alliss also got involved in golf course design. With partner Dave Thomas, he helped craft 50 courses, including The Belfry, which hosted four Ryder Cup matches. He later joined architect Clive Clark for create another 22 courses.
At Thursday's press conference in Europe, Alliss remarked: "Well, surprise would be more to the point. I've got to choose my words very carefully because to some I could appear to be na´ve or flippant or arrogant, even more arrogant than usual. All these awards have come to me relatively late in life, although I did a few decent things when I was in my 30s and 40s to get awarded this or awarded that, but I never in my wildest dreams thought I would ever be, for example, a member of the R&A, honorary member of the R&A, honorary member of so many wonderful golf clubs in the British Isles and in the United States. I certainly never thought I would be elected to the Hall of Fame.
"I mean, all I've ever done is waffle on about the game of golf, and I was fortunate enough to have a father who was one of the best professionals of his time, and I followed in his footsteps. There was never any thought about doing anything else, not that I was dim at school. In fact, I was quite bright at school. But coming back from the Boys' Championship in 1946, having been beaten in the semifinal, I was playing a lad called Donald Duneston, who was on reflection looked a little bit like a young Wayne Rooney. He was not a pretty boy at all. On the other hand, I was six foot tall and beautiful, and he was just going to be swept aside, cannon fodder. And I opened up at Brunsfield and I had a three at the first and 1-up and won the second, as well. But he beat me 3 and 2, so that brought us down with a bang.
"And going back on the train, my father, who'd been in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in the first World War, so he spent three and a half years with the Scots, and he was a Yorkshireman - you know a Yorkshireman is a Scotsman with all the charity sucked out of him. He leant across the carriage and said I don't think there's any need for you or purpose in further education. They didn't have an expression like 'further education' then, but if you were bright enough, you went on somewhere. But he said, you can become my unpaid assistant, which I thought was very generous of him, and he said also, you can continue to live at home, and we won't charge you too much rent.
"So that's how it began for me, in a very modest, modest way with a famous father, and many times I was asked, has this been an imposition having a famous father. And I suppose at times if you were in that sort of mood, yes. But then I thought of all the doors that somehow, if they weren't opened they certainly became ajar, and I went through, and life has just opened up in so many ways.
"I've had six or seven glorious bites of the cherry, and I've enjoyed every one of them, one not more than 'tother, and it's been a wonderful journey, and I've come to the end of my time, I think, to be awarded, moved into the Hall of Fame. I mean, they must have been drunk when they were selecting. But I shall wear the badge of honor with great pride, and I hope I do them justice, as I've always tried to do with the game of golf. It's a funny old fuddy duddy game, but I love it, and I quite understand if people don't, but it's something very, very special, and I'm very honored to be a part of it, Jack, and I look forward to bringing my wife and seven children with me. A Ritz Carlton is quite good enough, and we'll only be there for a week or 10 days.
"Thank you very much indeed."
Dan Jenkins is simply one of golf's most famous authors. The Fort Worth native, who turned 82 on December 2, began writing for the Fort Worth Press and worked at other newspapers before joining Sports Illustrated in 1963. He still writes regular columns for Golf Digest and is usually in attendance at all the major championships (he's been to over 200 during his lengthy, now Hall of Fame career).
Jenkins' fame really took off through his novels after he retired from Sports Illustrated in 1985. Among his golf titles are "Deal Solid Perfect," "Fairways and Greens," and "Jenkins at the Majors." He's won numerous writing awards, including nine first-place awards from the Golf Writers Association of America between 1957 and 2011.
Known for his droll sense of humor, Jenkins has experienced it all as a golf scribe over his 60-year career, posting stories using Western Union, faxing, over the Internet and now, through Twitter.
On Wednesday during the announcement of Jenkins' selection to the World Golf Hall of Fame, he, along with Peters and PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem - via conference call, were on hand. Here's a transcript of the announcement and a subsequent Q&A from the media.
As noted below, Jenkins still doesn't miss a beat whenever there's a chance for a guffaw.
JACK PETER: I'd like to welcome everyone who has called in to this announcement regarding the class of 2012. It is an exciting time for us. As you know, we previously announced that Phil Mickelson has been elected on the PGA Tour ballot, and at the LPGA's Hollis Stacy was elected through the veterans category. We're here today to welcome one of the great legends of the game. At this time I'd like to welcome PGA Tour Commissioner, Tim Finchem, who is joining us on the call from Ponte Vedra Beach to make the announcement. Tim?
TIM FINCHEM: Thank you, Jack. I was excited to have the opportunity to announce Phil Mickelson when we were in Singapore a few weeks ago and talk a little bit about his great career. I know that the recipient from the international ballot will be announced tomorrow in London by George O'Grady along with another announcement. Today I'm very pleased to do something really fun, which is to recognize a unique individual for the lifetime achievement category, an individual who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame this May and rightfully so. That is Dan Jenkins. A legendary, how shall I put this writer, humorist, commentator, critic from time to time, a great part of what sports in the United States is all about and has been all about for many, many, many years.
Dan started writing professionally, really, right out of high school. He wrote down in Fort Worth while he attended college there at TCU and played some golf at TCU where he was captain of the golf team for three years. After he graduated from TCU in '53, he continued to write for Fort Worth Press. Again, he covered Ben Hogan, and he served as sports editor for several years and was hired later on at the Dallas Times Herald. After a couple of years there, he was hired by "Sports Illustrated" in 1963. He wrote for SI for more than 20 years, and during that time generated over 500 articles before he retired in 1985. He didn't retire. He retired from that job.
He became a golf columnist for Golf Digest in 1985 as well. During his career - and I think if you're a sports fan, you've been touched one way or the other by Dan Jenkins - he's written a number of books, three novels that have been made into motion pictures "Semi Tough." It was a No. 1 bestseller, "Dead (Solid) Perfect" and "Baja Oklahoma."
He covered more than 200 major championships in golf, including over 60 Masters. He's won numerous writing awards, including nine first-place awards from the Golf Writers Association of America between 1957 and 2011. He's also received numerous honors including being honored at the Memorial Tournament with the Memorial Golf Journalism Award in 1994. He's also a recipient of the Lincoln Werden Golf Journalism Award for the Metropolitan Golf Writers Association. In 1995 he was a recipient of the PGA of America's Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism. In 2005, the Golf Writers Association of America bestowed upon him the William Richardson Award for outstanding contributions to golf.
He's also, prior to this induction, he's been inducted into several halls of fame: The Texas golf Hall of Fame, TCU Hall of Fame, and the National Sportscasters and Sports Writers Hall of Fame. Along the way, he even found time to serve as the National Football Foundation's official historian. Dan has had a spectacular career, and I think I should note that over the years the World Golf Hall of Fame has been very sparse in their recognition of people from Dan's craft, only recognizing the very, very best. I think it's appropriate, and I know I speak on behalf of the entire membership of the board of the Royal Golf Foundation that Dan take his place on that list. With that, Dan, I'll just say to you that this is an exciting moment for golf. We look forward to your induction in May, and being able to appropriately thank you for decades and decades of what you've meant to sports fans and particularly golf fans in the United States. I know the people online would love to hear your reaction to this announcement. So I'll turn it over to you. Dan Jenkins.
DAN JENKINS: Tim, thank you very much. When you rattled off that list of credits, you left out my cure for polio, but I'll excuse you for that. You got all those other things in there. I'm delighted and flattered and overwhelmed to take a spot in there with my old friends, Herbert Warren Wind and Herb Graffis and people like that who actually covered the sport. I wish I had known Bernard Darwin, but I came along too late for him.
As I told somebody, being from Fort Worth, I would follow Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson anywhere. Since they're in there, I'm happy to be the third guy from Fort Worth so included. What can I say? It sounds like I retired, but I haven't. I'm going to stay at it as long as they'll have me or until I'm carried out. I'll be carried out with the typewriter. But thank you, Tim. That's awfully nice of you. I thank the committee, and I'm delighted to be in such good company with the people who are already in there, especially the players.
JACK PETER: Let me say on behalf of the Hall of Fame and all of the members of the Hall of Fame, our volunteers and staff, I would like to offer my congratulations and welcome you also to the family of the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Q. It's kind of a tradition at the Hall of Fame for players when they get inducted to get some memorabilia from their career in their locker. So if that being the case, what would you submit?
DAN JENKINS: Well, I've got a bunch of books I've written which you're welcome to. Since nobody bought them, I have a few left over. I'd be happy to share those with you and a few other items. Some golf clubs and maybe an old typewriter, if you want to see what a manual typewriter used to look like. Various other memorabilia, lot of gate passes and money clips and stuff like that. But writers don't collect a whole lot when they're out there busy doing the business. They're usually writing about the people who have all the hardware. So if you don't write books, you don't make copies out of the stories you wrote, you usually try to forget them. But I've got a few things that I'll be happy to share with you.
Q. Any Western Union clips?
DAN JENKINS: Right, yeah. I do go back that far, actually. I missed Postal Telegraph, but I was around for Western Union. hey used to garble your stories pretty bad. Somebody told me one time they only improved them, really. That may or may not be true. But I do go back that far. I went through the age of faxing, and now I'm in the computer age, and now I'm in the tweeting age. So I've covered a broad spectrum of ways to transmit thoughts and people want to hear or are outraged to hear at some times. Even though I was making a stab at humor, I don't think I ever wrote a line I didn't believe. I tried not to draw too much blood. I tried to rave about all the heroes of the game, and they deserved it, and they earned it. But I have been to over 200 majors. I think the actual count now is like 30. I'm going to keep on doing it. I don't know who is in second place, but they're way back there on the track.
Q. I want to ask you one other thing. I hope it's not too taxing. But given your 60 years of covering golf, could you say what was the best round of golf you ever saw?
DAN JENKINS: The best time in golf?
Q. The best single round of golf you ever saw, the best tournament you ever saw, and the best story you ever wrote?
DAN JENKINS: The most talked-about and the most electrifying at its time was Arnold Palmer at Cherry Hills in the U.S. Open of 1960, when I think I was the first guy that noticed that there was a confluence of three eras of golf that all came together that afternoon. It was the current king, Arnold Palmer, the past King Ben Hogan, and the future King, Jack Nicklaus who was yet an amateur. The three of them battled it out in the last 18. I'd never experienced even as a good old, cynical writer, as much excitement as all of us felt that afternoon following that action. Arnold Palmer winning it with a 6 under, 65 in the last round, which passed 14 players and came from seven strokes back, it was unbelievable.
There have been so many great moments in golf that you even forget some of them. But that one still stands out. When people say, "What was the greatest day?" I had a lot of great days with Ben Hogan. My first Open that I covered was the '51 Open at Oakland Hills, and Ben shot that 67 in the last round, which was about as good a round of golf on the most difficult golf course in the world. Oakland Hills set up for that Open more like a penitentiary than a golf course. The joke was you had to walk sideways down the fairways to keep the rough from snagging your trousers.
But Trent Jones put so many bunkers in the middle of the fairways and the greens were so fast. There was a moment when Ben went up to Robert Trent Jones' wife and said if your husband didn't play this golf course for a living, you'd be standing in a bread line. He wasn't kidding. It was tough. Those two days are right in there. And I think Jack Nicklaus winning his sixth Masters in 1986. It's awful hard to avoid that. But there have been so many great tournaments that I've been privileged to see and people paid me to go watch, that I'm awfully grateful for it, and I'm so happy that I chose the profession I did.
Q. I'm wondering, what is the major streak up to now? I've lost track. I think you hit two bills a while ago. Do you know what the number is exactly in a row?
DAN JENKINS: Yeah, somebody made it national in Golf Digest the other day and said it was 211 now. But that counts for one in 1941 at Colonial when I was just 13 years old. But the ones I've covered is 210 by now, and I'm not stopping. I told somebody, I said nobody's ever going to top this because first of all there are not going to be anymore newspapers. I think it's a record that will hold up for a long time.
Q. Do you know who is going to give your introductory speech?
DAN JENKINS: Not yet. But I'm thinking about it. It will be a total unknown. Jack Blake, I'm going to call him. But I hope it's going to be Jerry Tarde, my boss at Golf Digest. I'm going to beg him.
Q. Where did you get your sense of humor?
DAN JENKINS: Well, when you grow up in Texas and you don't like sports, they drown you, that's number one. If you've ever gambled at golf, which all of us did as kids and college and all of that, your sense of humor has to go with it because you get beat so often. It just came natural. I understand golf is a religion to a lot of people. Never really a religion to me, but a great sports event. Any great sports event required a sense of humor. It just came natural. I don't try to be funny, but sometimes I think that way.
I've always told young people who asked me about sports writing and golf writing and stuff, when something great happens, like when an Arnold Palmer or Jack Nicklaus or Tiger Woods or Ben Hogan happens, you don't have to be funny, you just have to be accurate. When you have to be funny is when you're on deadline, and somebody like Jack creeps up on you. That's when you have to tap dance because it doesn't make any sense. We have more and more of that these days, don't we?
Q. From a generation of guys who either one of the reasons a lot of us got into sports writing, and you were one of the three or four guys that kind of steered me in that direction. I wanted to ask you, you talk a lot about how there was a kinder, gentler day on the PGA Tour when the players hung out with each other and the players and media even hung out with each other, restaurants, locker room, the bar. There was more personal contact. I'm just wondering was there a figure in golf, maybe not necessarily a player, but there was a figure in golf who you most enjoyed sitting down and eating breakfast with and having a drink with at the Augusta National clubhouse or the lodge at Pebble Beach? Who did you enjoy keeping company with?
DAN JENKINS: You could not help but enjoy any of the moments or times you spent around Jimmy Demaret or Sam Sneed or Lee Trevino or even Dave Moeller, who had a sense of humor and shared it with you. All of those guys were a sports writer's dream. It was a time that they needed us in print as much as we needed them. Those days are gone because of the modern age, and electricity, which I still don't understand. We're not as necessary anymore as we used to be. But that's okay. As long as they have television and internet it's going to keep on going and changing, and we change with it. So it's still out there, and golf tournaments are still an awful lot of fun. You know, there is no one person that can make or break a golf tournament. The spectacle of the tournament itself is always the real seller, and I found out the hard way one time.
Years ago at Colonial in 1954, Ben Hogan was coming off his Triple Crown in '53. He was the co leader after 36 holes at Colonial. And he had to withdraw because of a shoulder injury. So everybody on the tournament committee was moaning and groaning and practically in tears because on Saturday and Sunday they said there weren't going to be any people there. Well, they only broke the tournament record for spectators, even though Ben wasn't there. That's when it dawned on me that the spectacle of the tournament itself is always going to be the biggest part of the game, and that's good. That's what keeps it going.
JACK PETER: This is Jack Peter again. You've told some great stories tonight, and believe me, we at the Hall of Fame are very excited to tell yours this May at the induction ceremony. So I'd like to thank everybody for their attendance today.
DAN JENKINS: Thank you very much. And thank you, again, Tim, and thanks to all of those people that called in with having nothing better to do. I can't wait until May 7th when you put some (indiscernible) on my shoulder and give me a saber.
TIM FINCHEM: Thank you, Dan. We look forward to seeing you here in Florida in a few months.
The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.