So here was Parnevik, getting ready for the final day at the 2000 Byron Nelson. Lets see, what to wear, what to wear? The black pants with the stovepipe legs ' naw. All white, perhaps, with stovepipe legs? Nope, again. OK, how about pink ' shocking pink with stovepipe legs? Bingo!
He was the pink panther, if you please. Before anyone could mount a protest, Parnevik had dispatched three of Americas finest ' Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods and Davis Love III. He did it in a three-hole playoff with Mickelson and Love. Mickelson sat down after the second playoff hole when he couldnt make birdie to match the other two. Then Love was dispatched on the third hole with a bogey while Parnevik was making an easy par. Chalk one up for the conservative gent in the ' pink pants?
It was so close all day, and you never really thought about winning, he said. You just try to stay in touch with the guys. I was always one behind, two behind, three behind, two behind.
I was just happy to get in the playoff in the end. Davis had a six- or seven-footer to win the tournament in regulation. It was a huge bonus.
Parnevik couldnt help but pull a little for Love, even though he was the opponent.
I mean, hes a great guy, Jesper says. Theres nothing really bad to say about him. Hes a great player, great guy. Hes always been nice to me ever since I came out on tour. Hes just a great guy.
The pink pants, however, were just part of the Jesper mystique. A Swedish pal, Johann Lindenberg, designs the clothes, as he does for another Tour player, Charles Howell. Parnevik has always been way out there close to the cusp, though he was much more of a character five or 10 years ago than he is today.
The story about the volcano dust has been told ad nauseam now ' he used to eat little scoops of it to help purify the body. He appeared on Swedish television to put his feet into a bathtub and sent 220 volts of electricity surging through the water and into his body, the idea being to get all the organs of the body working in harmony. Hes worn a device around his neck to protect against electromagnetic radiation.
Jesper had the fillings in his teeth replaced with a material which was said to prevent allergies. He wore battery-powered strobe-light glasses for 40 minutes at a time to help synchronize neural firings in both sides of the brain. He wore headphones which produced eerie sounds for the same reason. And he allowed a man to collect samples of his blood to reverse the electronic frequencies of any harmful elements, transmitting the healing frequencies around the world to Parnevik with radio waves.
Most of the things youve heard about are things that Ive tried out in an attempt to improve my physique, my mental side and all that, he said. The results, if they are not what I thought they would be, I dont continue trying them. But I did pretty much all the time look for ways to stay ahead of the guys.
All that was the Jesper of years past. Hes a father now with four daughters ' Peg, Penny, Phillipa and Phoenix. Notice anything about names? Its a good thing the youngest wasnt a boy - Jesper toyed with the idea of naming him Per-Simon.
Hes 36 years old, and about the most radical thing hes into now is his vitamin company, LiFizz. The vitamins are mixed with water and drunk, rather than taken solid.
In Europe, its pretty much the way to take vitamins, he said. I grew up taking then that way. So I was just amazed when I came over here and it wasnt around. Were doing very well.
Its a little bit different when you endorse a product and when you start your own company with a product, because you have a little more pride when its your own product its my personal company, so its very close to me.
Parnevik is a streaky putter ' sometimes hes world-class, other times just unworldly. He isnt afraid to try something new. Many times he putts with something that someone has just designed, even though it may not look like a traditional putter. Other times, he just picks up one thats been in the shop for years.
He has hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of putters.
The funny thing is that a few of the tournaments I have won, Ive picked the putter just sitting collecting dust in the garage somewhere. I look at it and I bring it to the tournament and I win, said Jesper.
Thats what I did at the Byron Nelson. The putter was just sitting in the back of a corner, and I just took it out before we went to the airplane and won the tournament. And, Im like a magnet to people who want to try different stuff. Everybody, it seems, has an invention they want me to try out. Some things actually are pretty good, and some are not very good at all.
He actually used four different putters in four days at the British Open a couple of years ago. Its a feel thing for me, said Parnevik. That could change day by day ' I dont know why. Its how it aims, how it sits when I set it down. Some putters can look really nice one day, and then I set it down the next day and it looks shut or open, and I dont know if someone is fooling around with my putter. Probably just me, I guess.
It was a confession that rings true somehow ' its probably just him. Just me, however, has done pretty well. Especially for a guy who wears pink pants.