Peter Jacobsen is “disappointed” that some of golf’s best players have asked to skip the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in exchange for appearance money.
Jacobsen, 67, who retired from competitive golf this week and now works as a golf analyst for NBC Sports, had some harsh words for the 20-plus PGA Tour pros, including Dustin Johnson, Bryce DeChambeau, and Phil Mickelson, who chose to take guaranteed money and compete in the Asian Tour’s Saudi International rather than a Tour staple.
Jacobsen first competed on the PGA Tour in 1977, when the tournament was still known as Bing Crosby’s Clambake. “This is the most important tournament on the PGA Tour,” Jacobsen said from Pebble Beach, where he competed in the AT&T for the 32nd time. “I think some of the players are a little short-sighted when they don’t understand that.”
Since 1986, AT&T has been the Tour’s second-longest-running sponsor, trailing only Honda’s support of the Honda Classic. AT&T also sponsors a second Tour event, the AT&T Byron Nelson in Dallas, and Jacobsen noted that the Pebble Beach pro-am attracts all of the top executives who sign off on the Tour’s sponsorship dollars.
“What better place to spend time with and thank these corporations for sponsoring this Tour and giving all of these players the opportunity to seek fortune and fame than Pebble Beach?” he said. “I understand getting money for an appearance fee. That’s something I’ve done before. But I believe that this is the one tournament that is critical to the PGA Tour’s success, and it’s disheartening for me to see so many people miss it, so many of the stars, because I believe that the best players on the PGA Tour should be here, playing with the best people in business, entertainment, and sports. It’s depressing for me to see this, and I’d have loved to see the best players in the world compete here this week.”
Jacobsen was a regular at the AT&T from 1979 to 2008, and he’s long been a proponent of the pro-am as the Tour’s lifeblood.
In 2018, Jacobsen told the Associated Press that “this event is a microcosm of what the PGA Tour is, what it should be, and what it has become.” “What if some players aren’t aware of that?” That’s all right. That I am aware of. I aspire to be like those who do. ‘How much money did you make last year?’ I’ve asked a number of guys. “$5 million,” they say. ‘Would you be willing to give up one week a year to make $5 million?’ I ask. ‘Play AT&T,’ says the narrator.
Jacobsen also blamed players’ managers and agents, who typically get a cut of any deals negotiated on their behalf, such as show-up money, for possibly giving self-serving advice.
“The agents are the only people the players listen to now.” “It’s a terrible direction for golf to go,” Jacobsen said. “I hope that one day, someone recognizes the significance of this event to the PGA Tour’s past, present, and future.”
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