Ron Sirak in Conversation with Dan Jenkins: Part 1
Ron Sirak sits down with Writer-at-Large Dan Jenkins at Pebble Beach's legendary Club XIX to look back on the 57 U.S. Open Championships that Jenkins covered.
Released on 6/20/2010
|Starring:||Ron Sirak and Dan Jenkins|
Over here at the Pebble Beach Lodge,
with the two legends,
Club XIX, one of the watering holes
with a whole lot of history,
and Dan Jenkins, the dean of golf writers.
Dan, 57 U.S. opens,
including all five at Pebble Beach,
but you go back before opens were played
at Pebble Beach and the old Crosby tournament here.
You've had a lot of cheeseburgers in that chair.
Ah, what did I count?
64, 70, 74,
something like that? I think you were
in the mid '70s with the cheeseburgers, yeah.
I tended to rely on character and conditioning
to see me through it all. (laughing)
You know, Dan,
it's so different now than it was
when you first started coming here.
Everything's gotten bigger.
It was a whole lot more of an
intimate atmosphere back then, wasn't it?
That's why I live in the past.
Yeah, it was much, much easier.
There were still a lot of people out on the golf course,
but access was everything
and it was easier to park,
easier to you know, give credentials,
easier to do everything and certainly easier to
talk to the players and hang out with them.
Well, if you were the mayor of Club XIX
and spent a lot of time in that chair,
when you are sitting there, who'd you run into here?
My good friend Dave Moore would drop by
and stay four, five hours,
and every celebrity at Crosby.
I was here in this chair for 16 Crosbys
and I had a lot of James Garners and a lot of
Jack Lemmons and a lot of George C. Scotts
wandering through the room.
It was kind of fun, you know, it was dazzling.
It was glitzy.
It was Hollywood.
One of my favorite moments was when
Garner had been upstairs to dinner or something
and he'd come back in here and he'd always say to me,
Why am I not surprised to see you're
still sitting here?
And I'd say, Well, I'm waiting for Lana Turner.
That's what we used to call it.
I'm going to go to Club XIX and wait for Lana Turner.
When I said that, he said, That's mine, now.
That's going to be my line.
Lemmon was great.
Lemmon was terrific.
Everybody loved him, he was fun on the golf course.
I think really,
this room and this chair,
and being here at the Crosby is where it was,
which we called it The Crosby in those days,
I think it was where it was invented
that there is nothing more boring
than a golf tournament in the daytime. (laughing)
And so, these great moments would happen at night time.
Now, these people were people
who had achieved an enormous amount
in the area that they were in,
what was their connection to golf and how did they feel,
what do you think drew them to the game?
I don't know, I think it was just the fun,
the camaraderie of it all.
They didn't mind, since they were performers,
they didn't mind going out there
and making a fool of themselves.
I did mind it because I used to fancy myself
as a decent player when I was younger
and I was invited to
play in the Crosby numerous times.
I'm the only guy that ever turned it down.
You know, I have all my badge of honors.
Dave Maher used to want me to play,
Ben Crenshaw asked me three times to play with him.
Even Kathryn Crosby asked me to
come and play one year
and I said no, I don't like ice plant that much,
I don't like being in the rough that much.
I don't want to get up at six a.m.,
put on eight sweaters and two rain suits
and make a fool of myself.
I would rather be in Club XIX and you know,
I'll see you there.
Let's talk about this as a golf course.
It's had so many great events here,
which ones stand out for you?
I think the one that stands out the most
is 1972, the open.
It's the first time Yelverton played here.
The right guy won it, Jack Nicklaus.
It was a great leader board
most of the way.
Arnold was up there, Trevino was up there.
It took 290 to win it.
The wind blew like crazy.
It introduced Pebble
as a place that should hold opens as often as possible.
And like I said,
it meant so much for Jack to win it.
'82, you had Watson and Nicklaus coming down the stretch.
That wasn't bad.
'92, you had Tom Kite,
who was a good grinding player
who got everything out of himself.
You could have some funny winners.
There was a very funny leader board
for three days that year,
Gil Boyans, and Tom Montgomery.
That kind of thing.
But a good guy won it and then you had Tiger
lapping the field in 2000.
So it has held up.
It's the one open course so far
that you have to have an embarrassment.
You have to have an inconvenience, let's say.
It hasn't had,
the press hasn't had the inconvenience of a Jack Black
or Sam Parks Jr., or you know,
Steve Jones or something like that.
They've all been quality winners here.
Is that luck or is that the golf course?
I don't know,
I think it's got something to do with the golf course.
I really do, I hope it does.
I don't know why in the world
a great course like Oakmont or Oakland Hills
would produce a funny winner, but it has.
I suppose that's just the charm of the game, I suppose.
It's okay if it happens every fifty years.
I'm happy with that.
But when it happens too often,
it's inconvenient for the people on deadline.