The roads to Pebble Beach and Pimlico in this week's magazine run, respectively, through Fort Worth and a corner drugstore in Baltimore.
Dan Jenkins reports on the U.S. Open (page 22) in a way that is uniquely his and which owes much to his experiences as a young Texas newspaper columnist covering a prominent resident, Ben Hogan. Jenkins' approach to a golf tournament is outwardly nonchalant. He is usually to be found strolling the lawns and terraces nearest the clubhouse, or at a centrally located table inside. From these command posts he lies in wait for the tournament leaders or anyone who passes by with a good anecdote to drop. As the low-scoring—and often more articulate—golfers come in, Jenkins sometimes heads for the press tent to listen in on their post-round debriefings. More often he prefers to catch them later for a chat in private.
"I like to listen to a golf tournament as well as see it," says Dan. "I think in terms of absorbing an event more than covering it." When it really matters, Jenkins does his absorbing on the course, abandoning his clubhouse haunts to follow the tournament leaders in action, to be around for the inevitable collapse or surge.
Like Jenkins, Frank Deford put his early experiences—in his case as reporter and horseplayer—to work in his article on The Ninth Race (page 70).
June 25, 1972
One of the protagonists of Deford's story is Dr. Irvin Myers, who once owned a drugstore in Baltimore. Hilltop Pharmacy was located across the street from Pimlico Race Course, and Deford remembers stopping there for cherry Cokes when he was in high school. "The printer for our school paper was near the drugstore," Deford explains, "and I'd always volunteer to take the copy in so I could catch the last couple of races at Pimlico. I'd usually stop at the drugstore on my way." Sometimes Deford would pick up a few newspapers, tuck them under his arm and pretend to be hawking them. Sometimes he hawked his way right into the grandstand.
"I learned to read a racing form by the time I was 13 or 14," he says. "Nobody ever thought it was evil for a person my age to be betting, because down there racing is a way of life."
When Deford was recounting these experiences to Assistant Managing Editor Ray Cave, a fellow Baltimorean, and remarking on the coincidence of meeting up with Dr. Myers after so many years, Cave disclosed that Hilltop Pharmacy held past associations for him, too. When he was a police reporter on the Baltimore Evening Sun, he frequented the pharmacy because it was strategically located between two police districts, it had pay telephones and the first editions of the Evening Sun and it sold the best egg-salad sandwich in those parts. Cave is a pushover for an egg-salad sandwich.
Deford and Jenkins have something in common besides stories in this week's issue. Both have football books coming out this year. Jenkins' novel Semi-Tough (Atheneum) is set within the environment of professional football and will be published in September. It has already caused a stir in publishing circles, with paperback rights sold for $250,000. Two book clubs have picked it up.
Deford's novel, which he has just completed, will be published by Viking a few months later. It is called Cut 'N' Run and it concerns Baltimore Colt fans (who else?) and is what Deford calls an "anti-football" novel.
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