Jake Lightens It Up on Way to Win


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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