Master tweeter: Dan Jenkins excels in 140 characters; Golf Digest editor talks about working with him

Quite simply, the best thing going on Twitter is an 83-year-old man who struggles to operate a computer.

Dan Jenkins is back tweeting at the Masters this week. He is a must follow. You’ll never read a better use of 140 characters in social media.

It’s all about witty insights, biting sarcasm, and laugh-out-loud punchlines for Jenkins. Basically, Twitter is an extension of what he’s done for his entire career.

The week is young, but Jenkins already has zinged poor Colin Montgomerie:

Saw Colin Montgomerie looking for gifts in the golf shop, but they’re already out of majors for guys who have never won one.

Michael O’Malley, executive editor for Golf Digest, assists Jenkins with his tweets at golf’s four majors and the Ryder Cup. He definitely has the best seat in the house.

I asked O’Malley for his observations about working with the great one.

When did you start the tweets with Dan? What was his reaction when you first broached the subject? Was he aware of Twitter?

He made his debut at the 2009 U.S. Open at Bethpage, his 200th major, and was an immediate hit. He wasn’t familiar with the format but instantly recognized that it was made for him and allowed him to make quick observations on things that might not make it into a story. When a writer dropped by and said, “I never thought I’d see the day: Dan Jenkins on Twitter,” Dan replied, “It’s a new world.” Dave Kindred, who was there at Bethpage, said it best: “Now everyone is going to be able to hear all the funny lines that people in press rooms have been listening to for decades.”

How does the process work between you and him? Do you have to serve as a filter?

Dan likes to say, “Electricity hates me,” so he throws out a line and I’ll plug it in, and if he’s exceeding the 140-character capacity, we’ll talk it out. The first story of his I ever edited was from 1996, my first year at Golf Digest. When I hemmed and hawed about a suggestion, he put me at ease by saying, “Hell, Mike, everyone needs an editor.” He’s been great to work with.

What subjects/players intrigue him? For instance, he seems to enjoy sticking the needle in Sergio Garcia.

As Dan likes to say, “I root for my story,” meaning the bigger the drama, the better. High-profile players are part of that. I think Sergio’s body language is such that sometimes it looks like he’s wearing a “kick me” sign, and Dan obliges. But it’s just for fun, and Dan can take it as well as receive it. He loved it when David Ogrin called him “a hostile voice from a previous generation.”

Easy question, but why is he so good at it?

He’s the wittiest, funniest, most knowledgeable golf writer of this or any other generation. Pretty good combination. Most people can’t remember what they ate for lunch, but when something happens in a tournament he can instantly come up with the historical perspective and deliver it in a way that makes you laugh out loud.

Can you recall a couple of your favorite Dan tweets?

My favorite is from the 2009 British Open, when Ross Fisher said he would withdraw if his wife went into labor with their first child. Fisher then took the lead in the final round before making a quadruple bogey. Dan’s tweet: “Women say men don’t know what labor is like. Ross Fisher, whose wife is due any moment, just gave birth to an 8. They’ll call the child Quad.”

Some others:

–On Tiger Woods, after he kicked his 9-iron at the Masters: “Best contact he’s made all day.”

–At the British Open: “Miguel Angel Jimenez’s warm-up routine remains so suggestive that spectators are trying to stick dollar bills in his belt.”

–On Keegan Bradley’s pre-shot routine: “He kind of looks like the kid at the pool who’s not quite ready to go off the high board the first time.”

–After the 2012 British Open: “Lee Westwood finishes 13 strokes out of the lead and remains the Best Pretty Good Player Never to Have Won a Major.”

–Assessing John Daly’s fashion sense: “John Daly, the trailer park called after seeing your pants. They want their shower curtains back.”

–After Louis Oosthuizen’s double eagle on the second hole at last year’s Masters: “Requirements before they build a monument to Louis after his double eagle: 1. He wins. 2. They know how to spell Oosthuizen.”


2 thoughts on “Master tweeter: Dan Jenkins excels in 140 characters; Golf Digest editor talks about working with him

  1. here’s one gem from Dan from a few minutes ago:
    “Three birdies in six holes for me, Sergio! Is it my destiny or my doom? It is not for me to say. That’s why it is destiny, no? Yes?”

  2. Reading dan Jenkins “you gotta play hurt” in which he talks about Babe Ruth calling his home ruin & pointing to centerfield at Comiskey Park. It was Wrigley Field! How could he make such a mistake?

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