When Dan Jenkins covered his first Masters, in 1951, Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts ran the tournament, Ben Hogan and Sam Snead dominated it and nearly everybody stayed at the Bon Air Hotel. Jones and Roberts are dead, Hogan and Snead no longer compete in the Masters and the Bon Air, appropriately, is a home for the aged. But last week Jenkins was still covering the tournament (page 20), his 34th in a row and his 22nd for SI, a journalistic feat worthy of a green jacket.
Jenkins was a sophomore at TCU and doubling as golf writer for the Fort Worth Press when he made his first trip to Augusta. His assignment was to report the every move of Hogan, who lived in Fort Worth, and, secondly, the tournament itself. The No. 1 player on the TCU golf team, Jenkins had occasionally played Fort Worth's Colonial course with Hogan, so the two were by no means strangers. Hogan came through with his first Masters victory, and the next year it was Snead, then Hogan, then Snead.
"In those days you could walk the fairways with the players and hear what they were saying," Jenkins says. "You got your interviews in the locker room. Hogan's locker was at one end of the room, Snead's at the other. A little symbolism there, but it summed up what golf was all about then."
In April 1960 Jenkins married, and for a honeymoon took his wife, June, to—where else? "We stayed at the Partridge Inn," he says. That's an establishment which has also succumbed to the years. "In the first room they gave us, the mattress had a huge hole in the middle, the windows were broken and the water in the tap was yellow. We traded it in for a room with orange water." Gamely, June returned the next year, but never again, thus ending her personal record of consecutive appearances at two.
Lately June has been working on a record of a different kind—most successful restaurants opened in a row. Seven years ago she and four partners launched Summerhouse on Manhattan's Upper East Side and last month opened a Tex-Mex restaurant, called Juanita's, named after the heroine in Jenkins' novel Baja Oklahoma. As of last week, Oscar winner Shirley MacLaine was expressing interest in playing Juanita in the movie, and the restaurant was a smash. Jenkins was worried that June was working too hard, but she didn't mind. After all, her husband was off in Augusta.