It’s always a landmark day when the great Dan Jenkins releases another book for the masses to enjoy.
But the latest effort from the iconic author and Fort Worth native/resident offers more than we typically get in a Jenkins novel, where real-world tales often become the grist for hysterical fictitious occurrences with names changed to protect the misbehavers. Instead, this latest book – His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir – names the actual perpetrators and participants in real-world incidents that helped shape Jenkins’ life as a golfer, sportswriter, author and national treasure.
Published by Doubleday ($26.95) and currently available in book stores, Jenkins offers countless colorful stories about his days growing up in Fort Worth, his time covering Southwest Conference football and other sports for the Fort Worth Press and his friendship with golf legend Ben Hogan, including recollections from rounds played by two future members of the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Rest assured, Jenkins includes plenty of off-the-field tidbits about journalism, sports, show business, politics, New York, Hollywood, Fort Worth … you name it. If you’re fortunate enough to have met Dan, you may have heard some of these nuggets directly from his lips. If not, you’ll enjoy reading them for the first time in his book. Either way, it’s a wonderful 266-page journey told by one of the all-time storytellers and winner of the 2013 Red Smith Award, the highest honor given to a U.S. sportswriter.
A quick, true Hogan story: Jenkins recounts playing with Hogan during a 1956 charity event at Colonial Country Club. Hogan fired a 67; Jenkins, a 77. Afterward, Hogan made Jenkins this offer in hope of elevating his friend’s golf game: “If you will work with me three days a week for the next three months – and do everything I tell you to do – you can become good enough to compete in the National Amateur.”
A stunned Jenkins, already a notable sportswriter at the time, responded that he was flattered by the offer but “all I want is to be a good sportswriter.”
After a long, icy stare, Hogan responded: “Well … keep working it.”
Fortunately for his legions of readers, Jenkins did exactly that.
_ Jimmy Burch