Jacobsen Starts New Chapter as a Champion

By George WhiteMarch 10, 2004, 5:00 pm
Watch out, Champions Tour! Peter Jacobsen turned 50 on March 4th, and hes joining you this weekend at the SBC Classic. Jacobsen is golfs man of perpetual motion, and when he hits the over-50 circuit, he will hit the ground running.
He also will hit the ground talking. Thats been his trademark throughout his career. And that certainly hasnt changed.
A lot of the players that have cut their teeth in golf along with me, players of my age, I think we all understand the days and appreciate the days when we actually had to pay for range balls on the range, Jacobsen said. Actually, I can remember back when there were no range balls and you had to bring your own shag balls. And to get food in the locker room and the clubhouse, you had to pay.
A lot of those players that have those memories are on the Champions Tour, so I know that when I get out there, I'll probably look at a couple of them, like Morris Hatalsky and Dave Barr and Ed Fiori, D.A. Weibring, and we'll look at each other and giggle because here we were at 50 years old still playing the game that we love, and we're playing it because we love it, not because we're playing for money. We're playing for the enjoyment of the game.
Jacobsen, who underwent major surgery to repair a hip in 2001, stunned the golfing world when he won at Hartford last year at the age of 49. That victory allows him unlimited access to the regular tour for two years. The win also provides a pleasant problem for Peter ' how to plan a schedule which will include both tours.
I plan to play the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic until they have to wheel me off in a cart - simply because I think those tournaments are so very important to the future success and the ongoing success of the PGA Tour, for obvious reasons, Jacobsen says.
Winning at Hartford did turn my schedule on its head. I had planned starting at SBC to play full time on the Champions Tour, if I did not have an exempt status on the regular tour. But the win did give me an extension on my career on the tour through at least '05, so I'm going to continue.
I fought for 28 years, as every player does, to keep their card. You see players that lose their card go back to the school. I'm not going to willingly give that up just because I turned 50. I'm going to continue to fight and scrape and see how well I do against the young boys.
He says hes too fat. But he couldnt be happier about his golf game. Working back into shape following the surgery was a major undertaking, but Jacobsens win at Hartford last year is proof that it was a success.
That was a great accomplishment, a personal accomplishment for me to be able to come back from a pretty intense surgery and to win, said Jacobsen.
I don't care if you're 49 or you're 29, when you have a major surgical operation, it's great to be able to come back and win. And having that be at the age of 49 was quite a surprise to me. It didn't shock me because I have been playing well for the last year leading up to Hartford, but it was quite a surprise and quite a welcome surprise, but I'm very much looking forward to the second half of my golf career.
That would be, obviously, the transformation from the regular tour to the Champions Tour. He has lots of old pals out there waiting.
I was in Portland at the JELD-WEN Tradition (last year), so I had a chance to say hi to a lot of my friends - Mark Lye and D.A. Weibring and Sam Torrance and Bruce Fleisher. I see a lot of Champions Tour players throughout the year. PJP (Peter Jacobsen Productions) is involved in a lot of charitable outings and corporate outings, and we hire both PGA Tour and Champions Tour players to compete, so I see quite a few throughout the year.
Because the JELD-WEN is held in Portland ' and Jacobsen was raised and lived most of his life in Portland ' he does not want to miss the Champions major. But that weekend is also the time slot for Hartford, and it is traditional for the champion to defend. Caught in such a vice, Jacobsen had a very difficult choice. But he eventually chose the JELD-WEN and Portland.
When the Fred Meyer Challenge ended (which he created), we worked very hard with the PGA Tour to bring the Champions Tour to Portland, said Jacobsen. It's the first time I'm eligible to play in a major championship in my hometown and it's something that I want to take advantage of. I know I'm probably going to upset the people in Hartford by not defending my title, but I sincerely hope they understand, and I hope we can get the dates changed so that I can come back and defend my title one year removed in 2005.
Jake enters his 50th year a little like just about everyone ' concerned about his weight. His hair is graying, too. But he has a reason to keep his youth as long as possible.
I'm fortunately married to a very beautiful girl (Jan) - we've been married for 28 years - who is in fabulous shape, he says. She does yoga, she walks, she runs, she does everything possible to keep herself in shape. She is so young-looking, she looks like my third wife. I'm constantly trying to keep up with her, and that keeps me young and healthy.
So its on with the golf, as well as on with golf with the amateurs. Jake has made that a golden rule during his days on the regular tour ' never duck a tournament that is played with amateurs alongside. And the increase in playing time with amateurs on the Champions Tour is just all right with him.
I'm actually looking forward to the two pro-ams, Wednesdays and Thursdays, he said. I love playing in pro-ams. It's a chance for me and all the other players on tour to interact with the true golf fans, the corporate guests or the individuals that love the game of golf.
They simply want to walk and talk with the golf professional, and where better to do it than the Champions Tour where you have a chance to talk with somebody who has played on the PGA Tour for 20-plus years and they have victories under their belt and experiences they can share.
Jacobsen is ready. The Champions Tour is ready. And the fans are ready. Are his opponents ready?
Email your thoughts to George White

Battling mono, Kaufman tied for lead at CME

By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 2:05 am

NAPLES, Fla. – Kim Kaufman’s bout with mononucleosis might leave fellow tour pros wanting to catch the fever, too.

A couple months after Anna Nordqvist battled her way into contention at the Women’s British Open playing with mono, and then thrived at the Solheim Cup with it, Kaufman is following suit.

In her first start since being diagnosed, Kaufman posted an 8-under-par 64 Saturday to move into a four-way tie for the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. It was the low round of the day. She’s bidding to win her first LPGA title.

“I’ve been resting at home for two weeks,” Kaufman said. “Didn’t do anything.”

Well, she did slip on a flight of stairs while recuperating, hurting her left wrist. She had it wrapped Saturday but said that’s mostly precautionary. It didn’t bother her during the round.

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“I’m the only person who can take two weeks off and get injured,” Kaufman joked.

Kaufman, 26, left the Asian swing after playing the Sime Darby Malaysia, returning to her home in South Dakota, to see her doctor there. She is from Clark. She was told bed rest was the best thing for her, but she felt good enough to make the trip to Florida for the season-ending event.

“We had some really cold days,” Kaufman said. “We had some snow. I was done with it. I was coming down here.”

How does she feel?

“I feel great,” she said. “I’m a little bit shaky, which isn’t great out there, but it’s great to be here doing something. I was going a little bit stir crazy [at home], just kind of fighting through it.”

Kaufman made eight birdies in her bogey-free round.

New-look Wie eyes CME Group Tour Championship title

By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 1:32 am

NAPLES, Fla. – Michelle Wie is sporting a new look that even has fellow players doing double takes.

Bored during her six-week recovery from an emergency appendectomy late this summer, Wie decided to cut and die her hair.

She went for golden locks, and a shorter style.

“I kind of went crazy after being in bed that long,” Wie said. “I just told my mom to grab the kitchen scissors and just cut all my hair off.”

Wie will get to sport her new look on a big stage Sunday after playing herself into a four-way tie for the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. With a 6-under-par 66, she is in contention to win her fifth LPGA title, her first since winning the U.S. Women’s Open three years ago.

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Wie, 28, fought her way back this year after two of the most disappointing years of her career. Her rebound, however, was derailed in late August, when she withdrew from the final round of the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open to undergo an emergency appendectomy. She was out for six weeks.

Before the surgery, Wie enjoyed getting back into contention regularly, with six finishes of T-4 or better this season. She returned to the tour on the Asian swing in October.

Fellow tour pros were surprised when she came back with the new look.

“Definitely, walk by people and they didn’t recognize me,” Wie said.

Wie is looking to continue to build on her resurgence.

“I gained a lot of confidence this year,” she said. “I had a really tough year last year, the last couple years. Just really feeling like my old self. Really feeling comfortable out there and having fun, and that's when I play my best.”

You Oughta Know: LPGA's Sunday scenarios

By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 1:17 am

NAPLES, Fla. – The CME Group Tour Championship is loaded with pressure-packed subplots Sunday at Tiburon Golf Club.

Here’s what You Oughta Know about the prizes at stake:

Race to the CME Globe

Lexi Thompson and Sung Hyun Park are 1-2 in CME Globe points. They are best positioned Sunday to take home the $1 million jackpot in the season-long competition.

Thompson and Park are tied for fifth in the tournament, one shot off the lead. If either of them wins, she will take home the jackpot.

The way it’s unfolding Thompson is a good bet to take home the jackpot by merely finishing ahead of Park, unless they both stumble badly on Sunday.

Ariya Jutanugarn is tied for the lead. She must win to take home the jackpot, but she would also need Thompson to finish ninth or worse and Park to finish eighth or worse and nobody else among the top 12 in points to make a bold Sunday charge.

Stacy Lewis is one shot off the lead with a longshot chance at the jackpot. She must win the tournament while Thompson finishes 26th or worse, Park finishes 12th or worse and nobody else among the top 12 in points makes a bold Sunday charge.

So Yeon Ryu, Shanshan Feng and Brooke Henderson are among others who still have a shot at the $1 million prize, but they have fallen back in the pack and need bold Sunday charges to take home the jackpot.

Rolex Player of the Year

The Rolex Player of the Year Award remains a four-player race.

Ryu (162), Feng (159), Park (157) and Thompson (147) all have a chance to win the award.

Park and Thompson are best positioned to make Sunday moves to overtake Ryu.

Park needs to finish sixth or better to win the award outright; Thompson needs to win the tournament to win the award.

It’s simple math.

The top 10 in the tournament will be awarded points.

1st - 30 points

2nd – 12 points

3rd – 9 points

4th – 7 points

5th – 6 points

6th – 5 points

7rd – 4 points

8th – 3 points

9th – 2 points

10th – 1 point

Vare Trophy

Thompson took a 69.147 scoring average to Naples. Park needs to finish nine shots ahead of Thompson to have a shot at the trophy.

Money-winning title

Park leads the tour in money winnings with $2,262,472. Ryu is the only player who can pass her Sunday, and Ryu must win the tournament to do so. Ryu is tied for 32nd, five shots off the lead. If Ryu wins the tournament, she also needs Park to finish worse than solo second.

Rolex world No. 1 ranking

World No. 1 Feng, No. 2 Park and No. 3 Ryu are separated by just three hundredths of a point.

Because they are so close, the scenarios for overtaking Feng are head spinning.

At No. 4, Thompson is a full average ranking point behind Feng, but she could become the sixth different player this season to move to No. 1. Thompson, however, has to win Sunday to have a chance to do so, and then it will depend on what Feng, Park and Ryu do. Again, the scenarios are complex.

Cook leads RSM Classic by three at Sea Island

By Associated PressNovember 19, 2017, 12:28 am

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. - PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook shot a 4-under 66 on Saturday to increase his lead to three strokes in the RSM Classic.

Cook, a shot ahead after a second-round 62, had five birdies and a bogey - his first of the week - to reach 18-under 194 with a round left at Sea Island Golf Club's Seaside Course.

''Putting is key right now,'' Cook said. ''Been able to make a lot of clutch putts for the pars to save no bogeys. Hitting the ball pretty much where we're looking and giving ourselves good opportunities on every hole.''

Former University of Georgia player Chris Kirk was second after a 64.

''I'm really comfortable here,'' Kirk said. ''I love Sea Island. I lived here for 6 1/2 years, so I played the golf course a lot, SEC Championships and come down here for the RSM Classic. My family and I, we come down here a few other times a year as well.''

Brian Gay was another stroke back at 14 under after a 69.

''I love the course,'' Gay said. ''We keep getting different wind directions so it's keeping us on our toes. Supposed to be another completely different wind direction tomorrow, so we're getting a new course every day.''

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J.J. Spaun had a 62 to get to 13 under.

''I just kind of played stress-free golf out there and kept the golf ball in front of me,'' Spaun said. ''I had a lot of looks and scrambled pretty well, even though it was only a handful of times, but pretty overall pleased with how I played today.''

Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. The 26-year-old former Arkansas player earned his PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour.

''I think with an extra year on the Web this past year, I really grew mentally and with my game, just kind of more confidence,'' Cook said. ''I was able to put myself in contention on the Web.com more this year than I have in the past. I think I've just, you know, learned from experiences on the Web to help me grow out here.''

He planned to keep it simple Saturday night.

''I've got my parents here and my in-laws are both here as well as my wife,'' Cook said. ''Go home and just have a good home-cooked meal and just kind of enjoy the time and embrace the moment.''

Kirk won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2015 at Colonial.

''It's nice to be back in contention again,'' Kirk said. ''It's been a little while for me. But I felt great out there today, I felt really comfortable, and so hopefully it will be the same way tomorrow and I'll keep my foot on the pedal and stay aggressive, try to make some birdies.''