Jacobsen revives his popular 'Peter's Party' golf event in his native Portland

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After almost a decade away, Peter Jacobsen's 'Peter's Party' returns as a three-day event starting Sunday at Portland Golf Club.
Anne M. Peterson
Associated Press

Series: Other Tour

Published: Friday, August 26, 2011 | 5:49 p.m.

For 17 years, Peter Jacobsen hosted a popular tournament in his home state. The chummy event was nicknamed Peter's Party.

But the party ended in 2002 when it lost sponsorship, and Jacobsen turned to luring the Tradition, a major on the Champions Tour, to Oregon. That annual senior circuit tournament played for several years at a club west of Portland and later in central Oregon.

Then the Tradition fell victim to the economic downturn and lost title sponsor Jeld-Wen, an Oregon-based window and door manufacturer. The event moved to Birmingham, Ala., this year.

The loss left a void in Oregon for golf fans. The only high-profile tournament was the LPGA Tour's Safeway Classic held each year at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club.

So Jacobsen, a Portland native who played for the Oregon Ducks, brought his party back.

"The time was right," Jacobsen said. "I wanted to continue to bring the men's game to the city of Portland."

The three-day event starts Sunday at Portland Golf Club. The first day is a pro-am with such personalities as Huey Lewis, former PGA Tour player Casey Martin (now coach of the Oregon Ducks), and former Trail Blazers Brian Grant and Terry Porter.

On Monday and Tuesday, the pros will team up in the two-man team best-ball event for a $750,000 purse in the Umpqua Bank Challenge. Among those committed to play are Arnold Palmer, John Cook, Ben Crenshaw, Jay Haas, Bernhard Langer, Tom Lehman, Mark O'Meara, Nick Price, Fuzzy Zoeller and Steve Elkington.

Ben Crane, who is from Beaverton, Ore., may join the field depending on his showing -- and Hurricane Irene -- at The Barclays.

Palmer was a fixture at Peter's Party, known in later years as the Fred Meyer Challenge. Palmer was at times paired with Jacobsen, with Peter's brother, David, as his caddie.

Palmer, a Hall of Famer, won 62 times on the PGA Tour. He won four majors, and he was PGA Tour Player of the Year in 1960 and 1962.

"I've always enjoyed playing with Peter," Palmer said. "We may not have won too many times, but we've had a lot of fun."

Palmer, who in an interview earlier this month said he was practicing for the event, even joked about strategy with Jacobsen:

"He'll get me off the wheelchair, put me in position, and I'll hit it," Palmer said. After a long pause, he added: "It was funny. You were supposed to laugh."

Jacobsen turned pro in 1976 and won seven times on the PGA Tour. Popular with fans because of his affable personality, Jacobsen has also won two tournaments on the Champions Tour, both majors.

Jacobsen and Curtis Strange finished the inaugural Peter's Party in a tie with Greg Norman and Gary Player. Norman and Brad Faxon won the event as a team three times.

The Fred Meyer Challenge raised some $13 million for charity. The 36-hole Umpqua Bank Challenge will benefit the Children's Hospital at Legacy Emanuel and the "I Have a Dream" Foundation-Oregon.

"I'm looking forward to playing with Peter and I'm looking forward to coming to Portland. This will be a lot of fun for me whether I play well or not." Palmer said. "You know, it's hard for me to play and not try, not try to do the very best I can. There would be nothing better than winning with Peter, that would be fun."