The people's champ: Peter Jacobsen

The people’s champ: Peter Jacobsen

At one point on the PGA Tour schedule we had eight or nine celebrities with their names on tournaments. I miss those days and I think we need to get back to that. We’re in danger of boring everybody to death.

I can’t rank the importance [to the tour] of fan interaction at number one, two, three, four or five, but I definitely think it’s in the top five. Obviously if we don’t play well, we don’t make money, we don’t make the cut, and we don’t keep our card. But after game preparation, your fans go right up to number one.

A few years ago the Tour tried to institute an autograph tent where, after you walked out you didn’t sign autographs. Well, if a 6-year-old kid comes up to you when you’re out of the tent and says, “Can I have your autograph?” how do you say, “No, I’m not in the autograph tent. Sorry.”

As a pro, if you’re playing in a pro-am and don’t feel like you’re having a good day, you’ve got to suck it up because that is your job. But if you’re asked to go to a dinner during a tournament and you don’t want to go, I’d rather have somebody not go than go and hurt their reputation or the Tour with a surly attitude.

I’ve had so many surgeries [on my knees and hips] and I’ve come back and won tournaments right after. I use the down-time to recommit myself and revitalize myself. When you play a long career like I have, you always need something to get refocused and reenergized.

In 1985 I tackled a streaker at the British Open and, oh my gosh, did I hear comments about that for years. A lot of people would joke and say, “Hey, Peter where’s your boyfriend?” and I’d just go with it and say, “Aw, he wasn’t my type.”

I played with Lee Trevino at the B.C. Open. On the front nine I shot two or three under and he shot two or three over. We were walking down the 10th fairway and he put his arm around me and said, “You’ve got a chance to win this tournament and you’re a great player. I’m pulling for you.” That impressed me so much because he didn’t have a chance to win himself and he was a hall-of-famer and he was supporting me. I made a point later in my career to do my best to show other players that I’m pulling for them because having a chance to win a tournament is a very big moment.

I have one universal tip for your readers: You should just hit more club. I see a lot amateurs try to murder their shots and come up short. Just take a little more club and swing a little bit easier to ensure a solid hit. Maybe go three-quarters on some shots until you build your rhythm.

All about Jake

Age 52
Birthplace Portland, Ore.
Lives Bonita Springs, Fla., Oswego, Ore.
Family Wife Jan, and daughters Amy, 26, and Kristen, 24
Turned pro 1976
Career highlights 7 PGA Tour and 2 Champions Tour wins. Has co-designed more than a dozen courses with former Tour player Jim Hardy. Hosted Peter and Friends on the Golf Channel for three years. Published Embedded Balls: Adventures on and off the Tour With Golf’s Premier Storyteller in 2005.

How to play Golden Tee
Jacobsen is the voice behind the bar game. His tips on how to roll:

Roll with it
“I pull the trackball all the way back on my tee shot. I like to feel like I’m having a backswing and forward-swing, I know a lot of guys who use the double-thumb method to get more speed.”

Go with the wind
“A lot of people come up short and realize they weren’t watching the wind. You’ve got to be aggressive.”

Lose your driver
“If you want to hit it straight don’t hit driver, especially on the shorter holes. Even though it’s only a video game, there’s still a lot of game management in play.”

Don’t be a drip
“All the hazards can jump up and grab you, just like in real life. You’ve got to over-plan for those to make it across.”

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