Peter Jacobsen’s confrontation with dehydration at the U.S. Senior Open has changed his life.
“I will never put myself in that position again,” said Jacobsen, reflecting on the episode. “It was really scary, and I think there is a lesson here for all golfers: Every one of us needs to be conscious of drinking lots of water. There are no special exemptions.”
Jacobsen played nine holes at the Senior Open, at which point paramedics advised him to stop playing. Temperatures were in the 90s, and the host Omaha (Neb.) Country Club was extremely hilly.
“I was walking around like a zombie,” Jacobsen related. “I didn’t know what I was doing. They asked me what my address was, and I didn’t know. You can’t imagine yourself being affected in this way, but it can be very dangerous.”
Jacobsen remained under the observation of paramedics for two hours, but did not go to the hospital. He said it took a full day to replenish the liquids in his body. “I didn’t really start feeling normal for a whole day,” he said. “I have learned a lesson I will never forget.”
Jacobsen, 59, is former winner of the U.S. Senior Open. “I bleed red, white and blue for these championships,” he said.
“I’m not going to leave until next week,” Jacobsen said initially, “because I’m committed to be at an outing here on Monday.”
Said Mike O’Connell, chief operating officer of Peter Jacobsen Sports, “If Peter makes a commitment, he sticks with it. He’s a people pleaser.”
However, Jacobsen was worried enough about his health that he later decided to fly home and rest for several days.
“I think this is the first time in 15 years he has not done something he promised,” said O’Connell. “But he’s sick. This should not be taken lightly.”
There are few golfers who have battled as many different medical gremlins as Jacobsen. He endured 17 surgeries in a 10-year period, including a hip replacement, a knee replacement and back surgery.
A seven-time winner on the PGA Tour, Jacobsen is known as a showman. His imitations of famous golfers have made him an extremely popular entertainment figure, and he frequently lends his help to various fundraising and charity efforts.