The first major story Associate Editor Dan Jenkins wrote for SPORTS ILLUSTRATED was an investigation of the mystique of putting and of the torments that golfers endure while trying to roll a ball into a hole that never seems quite large enough. That story won a Golf Writers Association award for Jenkins, who was glad, he said, to win something out of golf. As captain of the Texas Christian University golf team Jenkins played against, but never defeated, such of his contemporaries as Billy Maxwell, Joe Conrad, Don January and Wes Ellis Jr., and he has also played in friendly games with Arnold Palmer, Byron Nelson, Sam Snead and Ben Hogan—without beating any of them.
Still, Jenkins does have a golf game that most of us could envy (below). He was twice champion of The Golf Writers Association of America and played on a team representing that group in Scotland and Ireland. "But the toughest tournament I ever played in," he said, "was the Texas State Amateur in 1952. I had to shoot two under par to beat the Mexican Amateur champ 1 up. And we were in the third flight."
Like most golfers, Jenkins is fascinated with the subject of putting. A happy result of this preoccupation is a story, beginning on page 56, about the man who may be the greatest putter of them all: George Low, teacher, bon vivant, raconteur, pal of celebrities and outstanding freeloader. Low gives putting tips to Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, and Low also gave some to Jenkins, who shares them with SPORTS ILLUSTRATED readers.
Golf is far from being the only game Jenkins writes about. He has flown upside down over cotton fields in an old P-51 fighter plane for a story on the Confederate Air Force. He followed some wild Texans on a crazy, four-game football weekend last fall and lived to tell the tale. He spent six weeks skiing in the Alps last winter with the U.S. Olympic team. ("Billy Marolt had a new pair of buckle boots that were too tight," Jenkins says, "so I broke them in for him by falling down a lot.") Jenkins has also written on such diverse topics as the Wally Butts-Bear Bryant case, the antic charm of the old Bon Air Hotel in Augusta, Ga. and the possibility of an American Football League team beating a National Football League team if ever the two should meet. In collaboration with College Football Editor Andrew Crichton, Jenkins selected the University of Texas to win the national championship last season—a long shot that came in with lengths to spare.
Two weeks hence, Jenkins writes about a different kind of football—a game played among gushing oil wells, armed Bedouins and beautiful girls, and presided over by a mad king. The star of the game is a halfback named Shirley MacLaine. Shirley who? Right—be here for the kickoff and you'll see.