The men of the Champions Tour play the SBC Classic (TGC, Fri. - Sun. 6:00 and 9:00 p.m. ET) this week at Valencia Country Club in the Los Angeles area. Lietzke, last years U.S. Senior Open champion, will make his 2004 debut after suffering the effects of the frozen shoulder malady. Fiori goes for two in a row after winning in a playoff last week over Graham Marsh. And Jacobsen makes his appearance after turning 50 March 4, meaning this is the first Champions Tour event for which he is eligible.
Jacobsen played in the Nissan Open on the regular tour when it was moved from Riviera to Valencia in 1998 because the PGA Championship was held in the LA area. Old memories came flooding back.
I remember Valencia fondly, Jacobsen recalled. I remember the golf course was hard and fast. I remember how difficult it played. I thought going from Riviera to Valencia - I had heard it was a good course, but I personally thought it was a great golf course, and I'm very much looking forward to coming back.
I did miss the cut by a couple of shots in '95 (actually 98) when we played there, and I remember it being long and being tough and the greens being very, very difficult. I haven't been back there since then, but I'm very much looking forward to playing again.
Lietzke has been on the shelf thus far this year with the problem shoulder. Known as adhesive capsulitis, the problem can last for as long as three years. Lietzke could hit a golf ball only about 150 yards as recently as last month, but now feels sufficiently recovered to tee it up again.
Fiori is still in a state of shock over his victory. He began Sunday seven shots off the lead, but shot a final-round 67 after then outlasted Marsh in the playoff.
'I didn't know if I was ever going to win again,' said Fiori, who collected $300,000 for the win. 'It was nice to get into contention and compete.'