Peter Jacobsen made the cut at the 68th Senior PGA Championship just six weeks after back surgery. (Photo:
Peter Jacobsen made the cut at the 68th Senior PGA Championship just six weeks after back surgery. (Photo:

Notebook: Golf after surgery for Jacobsen

Peter Jacobsen returns from back surgery to not only play golf, but to make the cut at the 68th Senior PGA Championship.

By Staff

KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. -- Champions Tour players unfortunately deal with more medical problems and spout off more scary-sounding terms than the interns on Grey's Anatomy. Peter Jacobsen is no exception, having just taken a six-week stint to recover from minimally invasive, arthroscopic laser spine back surgery. 

"I'm probably (back to) about 22 percent. Yesterday, I was about 11 percent," said Jacobsen, who made his return to competition at the Senior PGA Championship and shot 79 on Thursday but rebounded with a 73 during the second round.

"It's taken a lot out of me. The back surgery was a lot more taxing than any of the previous seven surgeries I've had in the past five years. I just have to kind of get myself back into golf shape."

The latest in a long line of repairs, the back surgery was conducted to correct -- don't even try to understand it all -- "moderate spinal stenosis and bulging L4/L5 disks that were causing bilateral sciatic nerve pain" down the back of his legs. The problem likely stemmed from his previous hip problems -- which he underwent surgery for in late 2006 -- that forced him to take several months off last season. 

During his more recent off time, Jacobsen followed doctor's orders by walking a lot, including 18 holes a few times a week. Though he physically feels much better, it's been a tiring past few days as he works out the rustiness. 

"I feel great just tired because I haven't played a lot of golf lately ... walking and playing are two different things. And walking and playing this golf course is a whole different thing altogether."
He also made a trip to Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., during the THE PLAYERS Championship, where JELD-WEN is one of three Proud Partners. JELD-WEN also sponsors Jacobsen and the JELD-WEN Tradition, a Champions Tour major that his event management company, Peter Jacobsen Productions, Inc., conducts. 

"I was curious about the whole new facility (at TPC Sawgrass). It makes me very proud to be a TOUR member and what that facility has become is magnificent. It sets the TOUR apart. I've always felt like the TOUR is set apart anyway, it's the best organization in sports, but that course and facility is primo."

D.A.'s SPECIAL DAY: D.A. Weibring celebrated his 54th birthday on Friday with a nice little present -- a 10-stroke turnaround from his first-round 80. A 32 on the front nine, coupled with a 38 on the back, gave him a 70 for the day and put him at 6 over for the tournament.

"Since today's my birthday, I was trying to give myself a birthday present," he said. "No, I didn't play very well yesterday. I especially didn't putt well."

Better conditions on Friday morning contributed to his 10-stroke shift, as did four birdies before the turn. Weibring missed a few chances for birdie on the back nine, especially an 8-foot opportunity at No. 16. The 17th posed a challenge for him again, as he made double bogey for the second straight day at the intimidating par 3. 

"I hit it in the water yesterday, so I guess I got a little overprotective and I pulled it a little bit," he said. "And the ball buried in the face. I took an unplayable lie and made double."

No word on how he plans to celebrate his special day -- one he shares with actor Mike Myers, musician Miles Davis, model Molly Sims and writer Ralph Waldo Emerson -- but sticking around for the weekend at Kiawah Island would be icing on the cake.

REID GETS COMPANY: Mike Reid, the 2005 Senior PGA Champion, found himself in an unusual situation prior to the second round. His original playing partners, 1978 PGA Champion John Mahaffey and 1981 British Open Champion Bill Rogers, had withdrawn from the Championship. Rogers finished four holes Thursday and walked in with the group to the clubhouse, and Mahaffey completed nine holes before retiring.

That left Reid without a playing partner Friday morning. However, PGA officials quickly assigned Senior PGA Professional Ric Burgess of Colusa, Calif., to join Reid as a marker. Burgess, the first alternate Thursday from the Senior PGA Professional ranks, was awaiting any chance to compete in his first Senior PGA Championship. He has served the past 16 years as the PGA head professional at Colusa Golf & Country Club in Colusa, Calif. He tied for 36th at last fall's Callaway Golf Senior PGA Professional National Championship, missing the playoff that would have landed him a berth.

THREE'S COMPANY: Mike Reid might have had an unusual one-some on Thursday, but there was also a unique threesome out on the course. Soft-spoken Texan Ben Crenshaw, wise-cracking Fuzzy Zoeller and the ever-colorful Craig Stadler played together during the first two rounds. Three of the Champions Tour's most popular and well-known players, they collected a large following.

Crenshaw finished at 1 under for the day and even through two rounds, with Zoeller sitting at 1 over for the tournament and Stadler at 3 over after two days. 

"I had a good time. The last two days have been very, very good. You've got two classy guys that go about the game a little bit differently, but they appreciate it," said Zoeller. 

Both Crenshaw and Zoeller made a mess of No. 17, as Zoeller took his double bogey lumps there for the second consecutive day while Crenshaw made a triple. 

"There's no sand in that bunker. That's harder than that damn road we drove in on. It's just one of those things. They say those things are a hazard and, boy, they are, there's no doubt about it," said Zoeller.

Despite their differences, the three enjoyed their time together.

"That's what's fun about it. No matter what we shoot, we're still out there as friends and laughing, giggling and talking all the way around there."

ARGENTINA KARMA: Eduardo Romero is the first international player in the Senior PGA Championship to hold the second-round lead alone since fellow countryman Vicente Fernandez accomplished the feat in 1999 at PGA National Golf Club in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Fernandez went on to finish runner-up to Allen Doyle.

INTERNATIONALLY SPEAKING: The last International player to win the Senior PGA Championship was South Africa's Gary Player in 1990. Player, who also won in 1986 and 1988, is one of five individuals from outside the United States to capture the title. Argentina's Roberto de Vicenzo won the Championship in 1974.

SAN FILIPPO RALLIES: Mike San Filippo, a PGA Life Member from Hobe Sound, Fla., rallied for a 3-under-par 69 to post the lowest 18-hole round of the day, giving him a 36-hole total of 3-over-par 147. San Filippo, who opened the Championship with a 78, was the 1993 PGA Professional Player of the Year. It was his second-best round in the Championship, having posted a 68 in the first round in 2003.

SCORING LIKE IT WAS 1998: Six players finished under par Friday, matching the fewest sub-par after 36 holes since 6 accomplished the feat in 1998 at PGA National Golf Club in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

SIMPLY DEVILISH HOLE: The much-discussed par-3 17th hole was equally daunting to competitors during each of the first two rounds of the 68th Senior PGA Championship. The hole yielded just 10 birdies over the two rounds, and was ranked as the most difficult hole on the course after each day's play. David Ishii recorded a 10 on the hole in the second round.

SAN FILIPPO SHARES: San Filippo shares the low Senior PGA Professional honors at 3-over-par 147 with Jeff Coston of Blaine, Wash., and Kirk Hanefeld of Acton, Mass. Overall, there were nine Senior PGA Professionals making the 36-hole cut of 8-over-par 152. The remaining six candidates for Sunday's Low Senior PGA Professional Award are:
- Ron Stelten, Palm Desert, Calif.  149
- Gary Robison, Akron, Ohio  152
- Bill Britton, Rumson, N.J.   152
- Bill Schumaker, Columbia City, Ind.  152
- Lindy Miller, Fort Worth, Texas  152
- Bobby Heins, Purchase, N.Y.  152

RYDER CUP PRESENCE: Five of the six members of the Ryder Cup Teams that faced one another at The Ocean Course in 1991, made the 36-hole cut today in the 68th Senior PGA Championship.

Mark O'Meara (United States) and Mark James (Europe) lead the way at the mid-point with two-round totals of 1-over-par 145.

Americans Chip Beck (148) and Hale Irwin (148), as well as Raymond Floyd (151), also will play through the weekend.

Sam Torrance, who would go on to Captain the 2002 European Ryder Cup Team, missed the cut after rounds of 76-77--153.

EARLY BIRDS FEAST: The morning pairings continue to fare best when facing The Ocean Course. Friday morning's pairings yielded 13 sub-par rounds compared to five during Thursday morning. Overall, seven sub-par rounds were recorded Thursday.

THE CHAMP: Defending champion Jay Haas, who posted a 1-under-par 71, now has scores of par or better in five of his last six rounds in the Senior PGA Championship.

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