LAKEWAY, Texas(AP) Peter Jacobsen returns to the Champions Tour this week at the Triton Financial Classic for his first competitive appearance since having surgery on his left rotator cuff in January.
Jacobsen, the 2004 U.S. Senior Open winner who also had his right knee replaced last year, will tee it up Friday in the event at The Hills Country Club, in the city that spawned the first Champions Tour event nearly 30 years ago.
“I’m not in pain, but there is a lot of rust,” Jacobsen said Thursday.
He hasn’t played since the 2008 Senior Open last July because he was still battling the effects of the knee surgery.
“If I keep working at it, I hope I’ll be ready by the end of the year,” Jacobsen said after his pro-am round.
This year’s 54-hole tournament has drawn 12 of the top 14 money winners this season, missing only last year’s runner-up Nick Price and Andy Bean, who withdrew earlier in the week.
One player eager to return is defending champion Denis Watson, who had one of the most unlikely victories of his career in 2008 when Price made two double bogeys in Sunday’s final round and Watson birdied the 18th hole.
“I’m always glad to come back and defend a title,” Watson said. “This is a great place. We had a great hotel room last year with great food. That’s pretty nice to return to.”
Also back is 2007 winner Scott Hoch, who has finished first and second in two appearances.
This year’s field includes 13 players who either live in Texas or were born in the state. Among them are Lee Trevino, playing for the fifth time, and unofficial tournament co-hosts Ben Crenshaw and Tom Kite.
Perhaps no one is more eager than Kite to erase one of the most baffling records in golf. In a storied professional career of nearly 40 years, Kite has never won in his home state.