Ben Hogan Isn't Walking Out Of That Sand Trap

Illustration for article titled Ben Hogan Isn't Walking Out Of That Sand Trap

And speaking of Dan Jenkins, our pal Bryan Curtis recently profiled him for Grantland. It's worth your time:

The miracle of Jenkins is that he became the best golf writer ever by disabusing the sport of its literary pretensions. It's as if Hunter Thompson had become the dean of racing writers. In a new memoir, His Ownself, Jenkins sketches out what we might call his issue positions. For being funny. For picking on golfers who deserve it. Against magical realism. Against turning the Eisenhower Cabin into the Shrine at Compostela. Against Tiger Woods, famously. If Sports Illustrated of the '60s and '70s thickened the sportswriter's thesaurus, Jenkins was the guy insisting his words be precise and potent and unflowery.

Such as: "Greg Norman always has looked like the guy you send out to kill James Bond, not Jack Nicklaus."

Such as: "What fun is it to be Johnny Miller if the highlight of your social life is watching your kids turn over glasses of milk in a Marriott?"

Such as: "A few miles southeast of the Alamo, in a sunken oven of pecan trees and thick, baked Bermuda grass … a middle-aged man [Julius Boros] struck a marvelous blow for tired, portly, beer-drinking, slow-moving fathers of seven."

Such as: "All in all, this Masters was a bad week for atheists."

If you loved golf, but didn't worship it, that's how you wanted to write. "To use the language of my sons," said Mike Lupica of New York's Daily News, "he was so good, it was stupid." Former Chicago Tribune columnist David Israel said, "For the second half of the 20th century, he was our Mark Twain or Ring Lardner." The writer Dave Kindred used to take the new issue of SI, prop it up next to his typewriter, and copy out a Jenkins story. It was a bit like trying on a green jacket.


[Photo Credit:]