Dan Jenkins’ life ambition to be a sportswriter was so strong that he turned down Ben Hogan’s offer to mentor him as a professional golfer.
“I knew I wasn’t going to be a professional golfer,” said Jenkins, now an octogenarian, recalling a relationship that began while he was a college golfer at TCU in the early ’50s. “I wasn’t good enough. I never worked at it. I loved gambling at it and having fun.
“All I ever wanted to do was be a newspaperman.”
Jenkins was working at the storied Fort Worth Press as an 18-year-old senior at Paschal High School before setting foot on the TCU campus.
His career moved him to the Dallas Times-Herald, Sports Illustrated and Golf Digest.
Over six decades he has become one of America’s greatest storytellers, using a striking wit as a novelist to peel back the layers of his fictional characters.
His most recent work is His Ownself, a memoir of his life as a journalist and all the relationships formed, including a close one with Hogan, Fort Worth’s legendary golf champion.
“He was great to me,” Jenkins said of Hogan. “He got me covering majors. If Ben Hogan hadn’t been from Fort Worth, I probably would have stayed at the Fort Worth Press.
“And I’d have been happy there my whole life. One thing led to another.”
If you want to know anything about Fort Worth, golf or college football, Jenkins is your man.
Just be prepared to laugh a lot.