Jenkins At The U.S. Open
Highlights of Dan Jenkins' Golf Digest U.S. Open coverage
A year ago at the U.S. Open, Dan Jenkins found an unlikely medium for an acclaimed octogenarian writer, taking his biting one-liners to the character-limited world of Twitter.
"The Ancient Twitterer," as he has been dubbed, will be again chiming in from Pebble Beach, as he has from all the majors, but in the meantime, here's a chance to catch up on some of his memorable U.S. Open coverage for Golf Digest.
1985: Andy North survived, but the week belonged to T.C. Chen
THE coldest Open ever, certainly the oddest, belonged to a little man named Tze-Chung Chen the whole week, and the only reason the championship isn't his today is because he played a single hole in the final round as if it were made in Taiwan.
Mr. Chen carried the three wedges in his bag at Oakland Hills: one for sand, one for pitch shots, and now we know what the third one was for -- hitting the ball twice in one swing.
1987: Olympic strikes again
OF all the enduring traditions in golf, the one at the Olympic Club in San Francisco is certainly becoming the hardest to reckon with. Hold a U.S. Open there and the wrong guy will win it every time. Olympic is three for three. Fleck over Hogan. Casper over Palmer. And now Scott Simpson takes Nob Hill and turns it into an urban-renewal project. Simpson over Watson. God over the press again.
1988: Strange defeats Faldo
THOSE who think an 18-hole playoff to decide the U.S. Open championship is anticlimactic have fallen prey to television. For some, their only reality is what they see on television. Happily the U.S. Golf Association has another view. It believes that its trophy is so important, so prestigious, that it would be a shame to have the Open decided at sudden death, purely for the sake of a network. May it ever be so.
1989: King Curtis and the four aces
AMONG other things, it was a championship in which holes-in-one for a while looked cheaper than junk food, a championship in which the casual water was deeper than Lake Ontario, and a championship in which Tom Kite demonstrated the proper way to take the wheels off a car and drive it into a ditch.
1994: Between Arnie's last hurrah and Ernie's first major, there wasn't a dry eye or dry shirt at Oakmont
UNDER the heat-lamp sky and amid dripping humidity, there was a wet golf shirt contest called a U.S. Open held out at Oakmont in the middle of June, one that would mostly be remembered for the hilarious three-way playoff between a young South African who looks like a Boer farmer, a comparatively obscure American pro known as "the Reverend," and a hulk from Great Britain who more than one Scot eventually referred to as a "glaikit lummox," which, as some understood it, could be translated into something on the order of chip-chunking goose-brain. Were these people actually Ernie Els, Loren Roberts and Colin Montgomerie, or were they Larry, Moe and Curly?
On Friday, Arnold Palmer conducted the most memorable non-press conference after playing in his final Open. He uttered 20 difficult words in about five minutes but was so overcome with emotion he was forced to excuse himself.
There weren't many dry eyes in the audience, either, and suddenly, for one of the few times in their cynical lives, the press inhabitants spontaneously gave this most cooperative athlete they would ever know a standing ovation.
Somewhere in that unique moment was a lesson for today's stars.
1995: Corey the Conqueror
WHERE to place Corey Pavin's 228-yard, crosswind, flag-eating 4-wood shot to the last green? It goes with Ben Hogan's 1-iron at Merion, Jerry Pate's 5-iron at Atlanta, Hale Irwin's 2-iron at Winged Foot, naturally, but wasn't it just about the most wonderful fairway wood any human being ever hit under the pressure of the U.S. Open, the pressure of trying to win his first major?