Dan Jenkins, one of a handful of writers in the World Golf Hall Fame and someone who covered each of the sport’s major championships for more than 60 years, will be the recipient of the 2015 Old Tom Morris Award from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America.
Jenkins will receive the award Feb. 25 at the Opening Session, presented in partnership with Syngenta, of the Golf Industry Show in San Antonio. The award has been presented annually since 1983 to an individual, who through a lifetime commitment to the game of golf, has helped to mold the welfare of the game in a manner and style exemplified by Old Tom Morris. Morris, a four-time British Open winner, was the longtime superintendent at St. Andrews in Scotland until his death in 1908. Some of the past winners include Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Ben Crenshaw, Ken Venturi, Nancy Lopez and Annika Sorenstam.
In addition to writing about golf for the last 30 years in his own biting, honest and often hilarious prose for Sports Illustrated and now Golf Digest, Jenkins has also published more than a dozen books, with his most famous being the football-themed “Semi-Tough” in 1972, to this year’s “His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir.”
A native of Fort Worth, Texas, where he still lives, Jenkins, 84, began covering sports while he was still at Texas Christian University, before graduation, and the 1951 Masters was his first golf major. The 1951 U.S. Open later that year remains one of his most memorable, as legendary Ben Hogan shot a final round 67 at tough Oakland Hills (Mich.) Country Club to win.
“There are few in the media who have ever written more compellingly about golf than Dan Jenkins,” said Keith Ihms, CGCS, GCSAA president. “Through his words, we have all felt closer to the greats of the game. We are thrilled to present Dan with the Old Tom Morris Award.”
Jenkins has covered all the greats: Hogan, Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. He has also known almost everyone who has mattered in sports, including Bear Bryant and Howard Cosell.
“I’m honored to win this award, especially named for a guy who I’m almost as old as,” Jenkins quipped in reference to Old Tom Morris. “It’s terrific. I didn’t know a lot about grass, but I knew a lot of superintendents all around town. The profession has made a lot of progress. Courses nowadays are so consistently wonderful with all the things they can do with them.”
Jenkins won his first writing award from the Golf Writers Association of America in 1957 while working for the Fort Worth Press and has been a frequent winner ever since. He earned the GWAA’s William Richardson Award in 2005 for his contribution to golf.
His friend and golf writer colleague Jaime Diaz put it simply and best in addressing why Jenkins has won so many awards: “He has more talent than the other guys, just like Hogan, Nicklaus and Woods.”
Even upon his World Golf Hall of Fame induction in 2012, when he joined fellow Texans Hogan and Nelson, Jenkins couldn’t resist offering a sample of his engaging and entertaining style.
“There aren’t many writers in here,” he said. “It’s a small group, and I’m pleased to be part of it. I’d follow Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson anywhere.”
Jenkins follows Nelson, along with other golf legends such as Palmer and Nicklaus as a recipient of GCSAA’s highest honor, but this time he leads the way as the first member of the media to receive the Old Tom Morris Award.