‘He could make a bad thing funny’: Golf-writing legend Dan Jenkins memorialized in Fort Worth

March 15, 2019
Sally Jenkins with her father, Dan Jenkins.

FORT WORTH, Texas — Legendary golf writer Dan Jenkins was remembered Friday for his kindness, his love of life, and, of course, his biting wit.

Jenkins was buried in a private ceremony in Fort Worth, which was followed by a public service at Christ Chapel Bible Church, near the campus of Texas Christian University, where Jenkins played college golf and rooted on his beloved Horns Frogs in all sporting endeavors. TCU flew its flags at half-mast. So, too, did Colonial Country Club, where Jenkins used to play rounds with his hero, Ben Hogan.

Much of the hour-long service was filled with stories — some funny, others touching — delivered by those who knew Jenkins best. Some friends sent messages that were read aloud.

“Dan is now in Heaven,” said Mike O’Malley, Jenkins’ editor at Golf Digest, “where in his world TCU is always competing for the national titles and Tiger has fired (agent) Mark Steinberg and is sitting on the veranda of Augusta National swapping stories with him.”

Said six-time major winner Lee Trevino, who was unable to attend the service: “Dan was a real deal sportswriter. A lot of today’s writers just want to be the first or the most sensational, but Jenkins was a pro’s pro. He was never trying to play gotcha or throw you under the bus.

“One thing about Dan, he could make a bad thing funny and he did with me several times.”

Both Augusta National and the United States Golf Association flew in representatives to honor Jenkins, who, beginning with the 1969 PGA Championship, covered a staggering 179 consecutive major championships.

“When I read Dan’s writing, I always felt like I was close to home,” said Lance Barrow, the longtime CBS Golf executive producer who was in attendance with his wife. “Dan grew up loving this place (Fort Worth) and that never left him no matter where he traveled all over the world. Dan loved golf, he loved life and he loved other people. That always came out in his writing. No matter where I was when I ready one of his stories, it was like being back home.”

Jenkins was a pro’s pro. He was never trying to play gotcha or throw you under the bus.

Lee Trevino

Jenkins’ daughter Sally, who is a sports columnist for The Washington Post, caught a viral illness and couldn’t be in attendance Friday, but she summed up her dad’s career in remarks that were read.

He was the best and the most important sportswriter who ever lived.

Tom Watson sent us a note this week and it said, “Dan made we think and made me laugh at the same time and in this era of political correctness we need more of that.”

Sally added that her father will be greatly missed by generations of readers and fans and fellow journalists.

When a man like that goes down like Dan, it’s like losing 100 men.