Set to begin play in the Barclays Classic on Thursday, the seven-time PGA Tour winner said Wednesday that he never dreamed he'd still be competitive on the tour at 51 when he first teed it up at the Westchester Country Club in 1977.
'If you would have told me I would still be playing on this tour in '05, I would have probably called the paddy wagon and had you certified,' said Jacobsen, playing on the two-year exemption he earned for his 2003 Greater Hartford Open victory. 'When I won in '03 it was an amazing accomplishment for me.'
Sergio Garcia, the winner last year in a playoff with Padraig Harrington and Rory Sabbatini, tops the field along with Harrington, Sabbatini, 1993 and 1995 champion Vijay Singh, Kenny Perry, Fred Couples, Jim Furyk, Masters runner-up Chris DiMarco, Justin Leonard, 2003 winner Jonathan Kaye and U.S. Amateur champion Ryan Moore.
Jacobsen, coming off a 15th-place tie in the U.S. Open last week at Pinehurst, is making his first Westchester start since 1999. He had his best finish in 1982 on the hilly, tree-lined layout, tying for second behind friend Bob Gilder after matching the course record with a second-round 62.
'I love this golf course,' said Jacobsen, scheduled to play the Champions Tour the rest of the summer. 'This is one of the great traditional golf courses that we play ... some of the best classic-designed greens in golf.'
Jacobsen spent time with Moore last week at Pinehurst, giving the PGA Tour newcomer his phone number and telling him to call if he had any questions or needed help.
'Arnold Palmer and Lee Trevino and some other guys were fantastic to me years ago and I try to do that with the young guys today,' Jacobsen said.
Moore is making his pro debut this week.
'I know Ryan's got the game to win right now,' Jacobsen said. 'The toughest part for these kids is access ' getting out here. Ryan is such a much more accomplished player than I was when I came out.'
Moore had one of the most successful seasons in amateur golf history last year, winning the U.S. Amateur at nearby Winged Foot and also taking the NCAA, U.S. Amateur Public Links, Western Amateur and Sahalee Players Championship.
This year, he tied for 13th in the Masters and capped his senior season at UNLV with a fifth-place tie in the NCAA tournament. He also won the Ben Hogan Award as the top college player and won three college events.
'This is something I've been looking forward to for a long time,' Moore said. 'I felt like this was the right time for me. This is a great event and they were kind enough to let me into the field.'
Moore used the first of seven allowed sponsor exemptions to play in the tournament as he attempts to secure a tour card.
'My priority is just getting a place to play. That's definitely my goal,' he said.
Garcia, seeking his third Westchester victory in five years, won the Booz Allen Classic two weeks ago at Congressional for his sixth tour victory and tied for third last week at Pinehurst.
'Any time you can win the same tournament twice it is something amazing,' Garcia said. 'I'm looking forward to trying to keep it going.'
After opening with a 74 in his Westchester debut in 2000, he has had 19 straight rounds of par or better in the event. In addition to his 2001 and 2004 victories, he tied for third in 2000, tied for 12th in 2002 and tied for fourth in 2003.
'Since the first year I played here, I really liked the course,' Garcia said. 'I like what I see. I feel comfortable on the tees. I feel pretty good on the greens, too. It's probably my best course on tour. ... I think this course kind of gives me some extra energy because it makes me feel so good.'
Divots:@ Barclays, an international financial series group, is the tournament's fourth title sponsor, following American Express (1976-78), Manufacturers Hanover (1979-89) and Buick (1990-04). ... Sweden's Mathias Gronberg shot a course-record 8-under 62 to win the Monday qualifier at Pelham Country Club. Two-time PGA Tour winner Gabriel Hjertstedt, P.H. Horgan III and G.W. Cable also qualified. ... Loren Roberts, the third-round leader last year, will be 50 on Friday. The eight-time tour winner is expected to make his Champion Tour debut next month in the Senior British Open. ... Senior players Jay Haas and Tom Kite also are in the field. Haas is making his tournament-record 27th start.
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