If Peter Jacobsen decided to pack it in for good after his most recent lower-back surgery, no one could blame him. The popular Champions Tour member has had an endless stream of physical woes since turning 50 in 2004, including receiving artificial replacements for his left hip and right knee. His latest procedure, in late August, was to correct a problem that had left him with an 80 percent strength loss in his left leg, making it hard to walk, much less play tour-caliber golf.
His maladies have limited the 56-year-old to 27 starts over the last three seasons, and he hasn't had a top-10 finish since a T-10 at the 2007 Wal-Mart First Tee Open at Pebble Beach. But Jacobsen is at least mildly optimistic about his health. "I'm back playing, doing some outings and at about only 20 percent strength loss in the leg," Jacobsen said. "I'm going to rehab and I've got a couple of good PTs who kick my butt and are getting me in shape. I'm excited about getting back and playing some golf next year. I've got my fingers crossed, but I want to know one way or another -- either I'm going to play or I'm not."
While he tries to get back to playing fit, Jacobsen is buoyed on two other fronts.
After having hosted the Fred Meyer Challenge 17 times from 1986-2002, he is returning an event to his hometown of Portland, Ore., in the form of "Peter's Party," a three-day tournament featuring eight two-person teams of Champions and PGA Tour pros at Portland GC, original home of the Fred Meyer. "I'm committed to keeping professional golf in Portland, and in the state of Oregon," said Jacobsen. The Jeld-Wen Tradition, operated by Jacobsen's sports and marketing firm, ended an eight-year run in Oregon this year.
His beloved Oregon football team, undefeated and seemingly unstoppable, also is making Jacobsen smile. "Go Ducks, baby," he said. "Let's hope they can keep it rolling. I had a skybox at Autzen Stadium when they won two or three games a year. I've been to about seven games this season, at home and on the road. Man, it's fun."
-- *Bill Fields