Jake Lightens It Up on Way to Win

By George WhiteAugust 3, 2004, 4:00 pm
Ive always suspected Peter Jacobsen just might have the right idea here. Being a professional golfer doesnt necessarily mean its 24-hour seriousness. A little humor, a little soft-shoe, and what do you know ' he wins the U.S. Senior Open!
Theres obviously a lot of men ' and women ' who cant handle the frivolity. No sir, this is serious stuff. Johnny Miller said on the Saturday telecast, 'Happy-go-lucky guys, this isn't fun and games, you've got to bear down.'
To which Jacobsen said, 'No, Johnny, this is fun and games.'
Jake isnt just a breath of fresh air ' hes a jet engines worth. He gets great enjoyment from his work. Its pedal-to-the-metal stuff, of course, but cmon ' he realizes he isnt Dr. Schweitzer here. The sun is going to come peeking out at 6:30 tomorrow, whether he wins or loses. No one is going to die because he makes a bogey. The Colin Montgomeries of golf have their own way of dealing with a bad round or a bad tournament. And Jacobsen has his.
Maybe its because he has dealt with a number of injuries and come out the other side smiling. He has a ruptured disc in his back that has caused him untold hours of woe. Hes been troubled by inflamed sinuses, has a toxic reaction to certain golf course chemicals, discovered he is allergic to wheat and dairy products. In late April of this year, he underwent a major hip operation.
Or maybe its because he has been visited so often by personal tragedy. His brother died of AIDs. His father died of cancer. Payne Stewart was a chum and singing buddy. His partner at Pebble Beach for 16 years was Jack Lemmon, who died a couple of years ago. And somehow, he came through the other side of all those tragedies with his sanity.
And somehow, nothing in the world is all that serious. Jacobsen has learned that he can absorb those body blows. He knows what life is all about, and this side of life ' hey, he can handle it. Its only golf. And golf is nothing more than a diversion.
Were only concentrating on a shot for about a minute, Jake once said. I mean, you have about 30 seconds of preparation and another 30 seconds to hit your shot.
So if you look at it, if you hit 70 shots out there, thats 70 minutes of concentration. And youre out there for five hours. I hope my mind wanders. I want it to wander, because if Im out there in some sort of stupor for five hours, I dont think your play is going to be that good.
So he goes about his life now determined not to let the seriousness of it all get to him. And some people think hes just one big joke dressed in a clown suit. But he has shed tears, lots of them, for a lot of good reasons. He has agonized quietly over his shortcomings on the golf course. And Miller missed the mark by a mile when he opined that maybe Jacobsen was too light-hearted to win a senior major.
Im 50, I'm a sweaty fat guy and people are watching me, Jake said after winning Sunday in St. Louis. Golf is a game, it's fun to play. It's no fun when you make bogeys, but it's exhilarating for me to be competing at a high level, no matter which tour you're on. I wanted to prove him (Miller) wrong. I wanted to go out there and have some fun and win the tournament.
So, despite the personal hardships, Jacobsen is determined that he is going to enjoy life. And along the way, he hopes to play some pretty good golf.
Listen to his philosophies of putting:
I look at it like a flow chart ' Step one, hit the putt. Step two, pull it out of the hole and repeat step one.

I know that may be difficult to follow. This is a hard game. It's a hard game. The putt I missed on 4 (Sunday) - I three-putted No. 4, I hit a good 4-wood in there, 5-wood in there, putted up like that and the putt did a horseshoe all the way around. I just said, Wow, that didn't want to go until the hole, or something like that to my caddie, and he said, Well, let's just go on. We've got more holes to play.
So you can see where its going to take a lot more than hip surgery to get this guy down. He doesnt understand everything that has happened to him, hes not familiar with the medical journals, but he doesnt have to. All he knows is that he just won an awfully big tournament, and he doesnt really care to know why he could do it so soon after hip surgery.
I don't know - I honestly don't know, he said. A positive attitude, not getting down on myself, not making too much of this surgery and the rehab.
But I came here with - I guess I'm just - I don't carry these things with me. I guess I'm different. I let things go.
So life will go on for Peter Jacobsen, exactly as its gone on for the past 50 years. Hell win a few, hell lose a few more, but one thing for certain ' hell be sure to smell the roses along the way.
How many of you read Golf in the Kingdom where it says in the book, It is all in the walking?
It is like life. If you cant enjoy the times in between golf shots, youre going to have a pretty difficult life, said Jacobsen.
He will take life as it comes, shake off the heartbreak and somehow smile through all the pain. He appreciates Johnny Miller ' really, he does ' and he goes through his day-to-day world refusing to bad-mouth anyone.
Is he a phony? Of course he isnt. He has simply learned that nothing is worth getting stressed out. That is Peter Jacobsen, and he can whistle though the darkness anytime in my world.
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Rahm (62) shoots career low round at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 10:33 pm

After a banner year in 2017, Jon Rahm found a way to add yet another accolade to his growing list of accomplishments during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Rahm got off to a fast start at La Quinta Country Club, playing his first seven holes in 6 under en route to a 10-under 62. The score marked his career low on the PGA Tour by two shots and gave him an early lead in an event that utilizes a three-course rotation.

La Quinta was the site of Adam Hadwin's 59 during last year's event, and Rahm knew full well that a quick start opened the door to a memorably low score.

"Any time you have that going for you, you get thoughts come in your head, 60, maybe 59," Rahm told reporters. "I knew that if I kept playing good I was going to have more birdie opportunities, and I tried not to get ahead of myself and I was able to do it."

Rahm birdied his first two holes before an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole sparked him to an outward 30. He added four more birdies on the inward half without dropping a shot.

The Spaniard is the highest-ranked player in the field this week, and while many players opted for a two-week stint in Hawaii he instead came home for some practice after opening the new year with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. That decision appears to have paid some early dividends as Rahm gets set to defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

Low scores were plentiful on all three courses during the opening round, and Rahm remained pleased with his effort even though he fell short of matching Hadwin's sub-60 score from a year ago.

"That's golf. You're not going to make every single putt, you're not going to hit every shot perfect," he said. "Overall, you've got to look at the bigger picture. I birdied the last hole, had a couple of great sand saves coming in, shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for."

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Fleetwood flawless en route to Abu Dhabi lead

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 2:06 pm

New year, same results for Tommy Fleetwood.

The reigning Race to Dubai champ picked up where he left off in the opening round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, carding a bogey-free 66 during which the Englishman found all 18 greens in regulation. At 6 under, he shares the lead with Japan's Hideto Tanihara and sits one shot clear of five other players.

"Very stress-free. Played really well from start to finish," Fleetwood said. "Felt like I did what you need to do around this golf course, which is drive it well, hit your irons solid. You can't really be too greedy a lot of the time, and then sort of my pace putting was really good. So basically just did what you need to do to get a good score around this golf course, and I got one."

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Fleetwood shined in a marquee grouping that included world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, as he birdied three holes on each nine. This is his first worldwide start since a T-3 finish at the Hero World Challenge.

It was at this event a year ago that Fleetwood sparked a career campaign, edging Johnson and Pablo Larrazabal for the win. He added another win at the French Open in the summer to go along with a pair of runner-up results and a T-4 finish at the U.S. Open, all of which helped him capture the European Tour's season-long title.

Fleetwood's sudden success in Abu Dhabi serves as a microcosm for his career resurgence. Prior to last year's victory, he had missed the cut in four of his five other trips to this event.

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Sergio starts season with 66 in Singapore

By Associated PressJanuary 18, 2018, 12:56 pm

SINGAPORE – Sergio Garcia opened his season with a 5-under 66 and a share of the clubhouse lead on Thursday in the first round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open.

Playing his first tournament of the year, the Masters champion rebounded after making an early bogey to collect four birdies and an eagle at the Sentosa Golf Club.

He was later joined by American qualifier Kurt Kitayama in the clubhouse lead. Still on the course, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit was at 6 under through 16 holes when play was suspended for the day because of the threat of lightning.

Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion, was at 5 under through 16 holes when he also had to stop his round because of the weather.

Of the players who did finish their opening rounds, only three were within two strokes of Garcia and Kitayama. One of them was Casey O'Toole, who aced the par-3 second with a 7-iron.

The 38-year-old Garcia dropped his only shot of the day on the par-4 15th, his sixth hole after teeing off on the back nine, when he missed the fairway and was unable to make par. But he made amends when he birdied the par-3 17th and then eagled the par-5 18th to go out in 33.

''I was 1 over after (the) seventh but it didn't feel like I was playing badly,'' said Garcia, who made birdies on each of the two par 5s and one of the par 3s on the second nine. ''But then I hit two greats in a row for holes 17 and 18. I got a birdie-eagle there, so that settled me a little bit and I could play solid in the back nine and it was a great round.''

Garcia made the shortlist for the Laureus Sports Awards in the Breakthrough of the Year category after claiming his first major at Augusta National last year and is hoping for more success this season.

He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his Masters win because he opted to start his 2017 campaign in the stifling humidity of Southeast Asia to prepare himself for the bigger tournaments ahead.

Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

Kitayama only secured his place in the $1 million event on Monday by finishing at the top of the qualifying competition, but he made a strong start with birdies on three of his first five holes. The 25-year-old Thai was 6 under through 13 holes but spoiled his otherwise flawless round with a bogey on his last.

''I started with a birdie and I just let it roll from there. I had some good tee shots, which I think, is the biggest thing for this course,'' Kitayama said. ''I'm a little tired, but I'm hanging in there. Whenever I have time off, I'll try not to think too much about golf.''

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13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:26 pm

Dustin Johnson didn’t just get beat by Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy on Day 1 of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Even a 13-year-old got the best of the world No. 1.

Oscar Murphy teed off on the 177-yard 15th hole as part of the tournament’s Beat the Pro challenge during the opening round. The Northern Irishman, one of the HSBC’s Future Falcons, carved a 3-wood toward a back-right pin, about 25 feet away, closer than both Johnson and Fleetwood.

“An unbelievable shot,” Fleetwood said afterward, “and me and Rory both said, ‘We don’t have that in our locker.’”

Johnson still made par on the hole, but he mixed four birdies with four bogeys Thursday for an even-par 72 that left him six shots back of Fleetwood and Hideto Tanihara after the opening round.

Johnson, who tied for second here a year ago, is coming off a dominant performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he won by eight shots to strengthen his lead atop the world rankings.