Dan Jenkins Still Taking Chances


Slim and none are the chances there will ever be a writer of golf as bawdy, bold, brilliant and Texas-sized as Fort Worth's own Dan Jenkins.

'Slim and None' also happens to be the title of Jenkins' newest book which, you can find on the shelves at the Barnes and Noble on Commerce Street here where they're playing the Bank of America Colonial this week. Actually Jenkins' book is on sale everywhere and it's another must read if you're a Bobby Joe Grooves fan or a Billy Clyde Puckett fan or a Big Ed Bookman fan or any of the other semi-fictional characters in Jenkins' previous nine novels.

This time Jenkins is following aging PGA Tour sort-of-star Grooves and his latest love interest, Gwen Pritchard, and a lot of other semi-protagonists with cartoonish names through a season of majors.

We start at Augusta, which Grooves, calls 'The Magnolia Joint'; we move on to the U.S. Open at Pinehurst; the Open Championship at Carnoustie and the PGA Championship at Oakland Hills. Without giving away the ending, I can tell you Grooves faces trials by fire on and off the golf course including an on-course face-off with a 15-year girl who has been given a special exemption by the USGA to play at Pinehurst. Hmmm.

Grooves, whose appetite for chicken fried steak with cream gravy and biscuits, is almost as voracious as his hunger for the outrageously politically incorrect, is a little more world-wise in Slim and None. And Jenkins, through Grooves, is ever the equal opportunity offender and lampooner of almost anything and everything that is conventional in golf and life. A few samples:

Describing Gwen: '....she was your basic tri-state crime-spree gorgeous. Make you try to eat corn through a chain-link fence.'

Describing Cheryl, one of his multiple ex-wives: 'Now I was sure that if she ever hooked onto a damage-proof wealthy gentleman who owned a yacht and knew where Sag Harbor was, she'd fall deeply in love overnight and truly believe she'd won the ball game.'

On conquering one of the big ones: 'But win yourself a major and you're an overnight sophisticated genius celebrity. You're capable of curing diseases, finding homes for orphan babies, improving the economy and solving all the problems of the Middle East.'

On the length off the tee of Gwen's son Scott, playing the Tour at age 19: 'I don't cook chili that long......Rock bands don't ride limos that long.'

On Atlanta: '.....used to be a great city, but that was before it turned into the South's largest parking lot. It was only great now if you favored traffic and concrete.'

On Florida: '.....home of the door-to-door reptile.'

On West Texas: '......where an oil pump passes for a shade tree and plate lunches are bigger than footballs.'

On the South in general: '.....In Virginia they spend years trying to figure out if they're related to the Queen of England....Alabama hasn't come back from Bear Bryant's funeral yet.....the whole Mississippi is turning into another Vegas.'

On British coffee: '....tastes like a combination of stewed dirt and melted wrought iron.'

And so on. And so forth.

Has Jenkins made you mad yet? Has he made you laugh? Has he done both?

Sneaking around the edges of all the one-liners is a plot that will make you want to turn the pages and find out whether or not Bobby Joe gets his groove back by the end of the book.

And, by the way, Jenkins is sneaky long his own self at getting in nuggets about tournament history and famous course design.

At the end of the long day, I recommend this book to anybody who takes their golf more seriously than their life, or something like that. It tastes a whole lot better than British coffee.
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