Ron Sirak in Conversation with Dan Jenkins: Part 2
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|
(drum thumps loudly, orchestra crescendos dramatically)
[Voiceover] You know, when you were talking
about coming in here, and hanging out
with the celebrities that were in here,
there would also be players, right?
Yeah. Oh yeah.
I mean there was a much different atmosphere then,
where, did you feel you had a greater opportunity
to get to know who they are?
Well sure. I mean, you wouldn't see too many
Jack Nicklauses in here.
But you'd get all the Dave Marrs,
and Ed Sneeds, and Dave Eichelberger and guys like that,
the second tier people.
You would get an Arnold occasionally,
you know, for a minute or two.
But there were guys who would hang out with you
for a long time.
And it was fun. You know what, you talked about,
you didn't talk much golf.
You talked about other sports.
The guys that I got along with the best on the tour,
Well I had to get along with nearly all of 'em
for all those years, but the ones
I enjoyed the conversations with
were the ones we didn't talk much about golf.
We talked about other sports.
And how did it help you as a writer, to get to know
these other aspects of these guys.
Well I think it helped me get to know them better.
There's no point in them getting to know me.
They see me sitting here with my cocktail,
they know me already. (laughs)
But, just the exchange of ideas,
and the exchange of humor.
I mean so many funny things were said
at this particular bar.
I can't even remember 'em all now.
Or hardly any of it.
It just all kinda went by in one great big ...
you know, film of some kind.
You wonder why you were even in it.
You know, you have to be somewhere every night.
I mean, Lord knows I was always staying in The Lodge
in those days.
I had entrees.
It was just very convenient for me,
not to have to come in from Monterey,
or a hotel somewhere else.
And I was here, and all the athletes,
or the players who came in here,
they were staying in The Lodge.
Now they weren't going to commute over here.
So it was easy, we were all going to the same tent.
That's something that's very different now.
Because we're in a situation where people travel
in private planes, staying in private homes.
And they don't have that interaction.
Well, they were kind of divided into two groups
in the old days, the old day's being the 60's and 70's,
which seem like yesterday, in a way.
You had the guys who didn't travel with their wives,
the guys who traveled with their wives and kids.
I once, I used to make 'em mad.
I wrote a line about Johnny Miller one day,
I said What good is it to be Johnny Miller,
to be a golf star, when the most exciting thing
that happens to you is you watch your kids
turn over a glass of milk.
But that's the way it was, you know.
He was never going to be at the bar with me.
Did you have a lot of exchange
with players that you wrote about then,
when you would write about something like that?
Would you get challenged or confronted
if somebody didn't like something?
Only a couple of times.
Normally they appreciated the humor,
they understood what I was doing.
Sometimes I would tip 'em off, and say, you know,
I'm gonna have to have a little fun with you,
for those four bogeys in a row, if you don't mind.
You know, that kind of thing, but
yeah, most of 'em, the intelligent ones, (chuckles)
were okay with it.
That was a small list, by the way.
Do you think it was that
that was an easier dynamic to get going.
Because you did have moments like this with them,
Where they saw you ...
Sure. But also, the great thing about a lot of them,
that I knew well,
whether it was Tom Weiskopf, or Dave Marr or somebody,
they were guys I could go to before the tournament started.
And Jack, especially,
and find out everything I needed to know
about the golf course.
How it was gonna play. Where the tough spots were.
What to look out for. What not to look out for.
Who should play well here. Who shouldn't play well here.
Whose game wasn't,
Trevino was a terrific type of guy
to get to tell you everything.
So you were prepared.
You did know what to look out for then.
Now, I don't know, you know?
What should I look out for?
Well, look out for my agent,
and then look out for my swing coach.
Oh, I'll keep an eye on that.
You saw Hogan in '53,
You saw Tiger in 2000.
Was what Tiger did here, in 2000,
winning by 15 strokes,
one of the more remarkable performances?
Well it has to be.
I mean, the fact that he did it at Pebble,
I don't, I still don't understand how he did it.
Except I guess it wasn't too windy.
I don't know.
Maybe the greens were a little softer.
I have no idea.
And that was when Tiger was at his best.
He'll never be any better than he was in the year 2000.
Whole different ball game.
Different equipment, different setup.
The old Open courses, I will always believe,
were tougher, I think the rough was higher,
and the fairways were narrower.
And in some cases, usually,
the greens were awful tricky and uneven.
You know, it used to be, greens were smaller, for one thing.
If you missed a green, you were in serious cabbage.
It was almost like am automatic bogey.
That's why Hogan was so good in The Open.
Because he was always in the fairway,
and, (chuckles) almost always on the green.
(drum thumps suddenly, orchestra plays dramatically)