by Jeff Skinner
Masters Countdown: 22 days
The dean of American sportswriting and King of sarcasm, Dan Jenkins will be covering his 63rd consecutive Masters this year. Few have see more at Augusta and even less have written about it. And absolutely no one has the biting wit of our favorite curmudgeon.
In Golf Digest’s Masters Preview edition Jenkins recalls his best memories of The Masters which he started attending in 1951 when he was a sophomore in college. It’s Jenkins at his best.
BEST SEVE MOMENT AS A COMEDIAN
In 1985, Seve Ballesteros established himself as a better comedian than anyone had realized. This exchange explains why:
Writer: “I hear you have a new putter.”
Seve: “Where did you hear that?”
Writer: “I read that you bought it in a pro shop.”
Seve: “I never buy anything.”
BEST REASON FOR CEREMONIAL STARTERS
Years ago, Gene Sarazen told Augusta National chairman Hord Hardin he was getting too old to hit the honorary opening drive at the Masters. Sarazen said he was starting to feel like “an exhibit in a museum.” That’s when Hord said, “Gene, the people don’t want to see you play, they just want to see if you’re still alive.
BEST ‘NEXT NICKLAUS’
Phil Mickelson (left), considered “the next Nicklaus” as an amateur at the 1991 Masters, was paired with defending champion Nick Faldo in the first round and was so nervous about it he shot a 69 to Faldo’s 72. But Phil spent the rest of the tournament playing so-so golf and looking as if he was at a social event, smiling, grinning, waving, lugging his tall, handsome self over the fairways. Which left me with a question: If Mickelson was the next Nicklaus, how come he looked like a USC quarterback?
FAVORITE TYPING (ME DIVISION)
1986: After Nicklaus wins his sixth Masters: “If you want to get golf on the front pages again, and you don’t have a Francis Ouimet, a Bobby Jones or a Ben Hogan handy, you send an aging Jack Nicklaus out in the last round of the Masters and tell him to kill more foreigners than a general named Eisenhower.