Get Peter Jacobsen in a group for five minutes, and one thing is guaranteed.
The man can crack up The Pope, if needed.
Jacobsen is in the field for this week’s 31st U.S. Senior Open at Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish. He won the title in 2004.
The Northwest product from Oregon also does part-time broadcasting work for NBC. He tackled a few topics after his practice round Tuesday:
• On this major being held in back-to-back weeks with the Senior British Open:
“I don’t like that. That is why I didn’t go to the Senior British last week. It’s got to change. It’s a hardship. It’s great playing in the Senior Open, and coming back to the U.S. Senior Open. But it’s a hardship. Everybody you talk to will tell you it’s tough going from one senior major to the next senior major. To put it into perspective, I mean, shoot, we’re seniors – we’re asked to do a lot of things.”
One note: The USGA announced Tuesday that starting in 2013, the schedule will cease to be set up in that manner.
• On out-of-region golfers being visually intimidated by a tree-lined course such as Sahalee CC:
“It can be intimidating, especially thinking about coming from Carnoustie last week, the tallest tree over there was probably a 31/2-foot bush. Anybody that is not from the Northwest has not seen 100-foot douglas firs, or 100-foot cedar trees. And as tight as these fairways are, you have to put the ball in play.
The trees hang out a little bit farther than you think. You have to be very careful when you’re trying to skirt the corner – if you’re trying to turn it down on a dogleg, or move it by a tree, you’ve got to be careful, because the branches jump out and grab the ball.
• After the WGC-NEC Invitational in 2002 and PGA Championship in 1998, many golfers raved about the condition of Sahalee CC, but were not entirely excited about the layout. Why?
“I think it’s because most tour players are used to golf course that are a little more open. There is nothing open about this golf course. When you play in the NW – whether in Oregon or Washington or even in Canada and a little bit in Idaho – you’re going to see this sentinel feel, you’re going to see this tunnel-like feel. We don’t see that around the country.”
• About Fred Couples returning to Seattle as the 2010 Senior Open honorary chairman:
“It’s great. For Fred to play in his hometown … go back to the days he grew up in this area, he feels like he is at home, and it’s going to really add to his chances to win. He feels comfortable, and I know when Fred feels comfortable about his game and his surroundings, he plays his best golf. He’s definitely one of the three favorites.”
• The Jeld-Wen Tradition, another senior major, comes to Oregon every year. Is Jacobsen miffed he hasn’t been asked to be a honorary host?
“Our company manages that event. I’m in a different role there. We have to make sure the cars are parked properly, the marshals are working right and the ropes and stakes are up. It’s a different focus for me. Here, Fred is the honorary chairman – the celebrated guy.”