Jacobsen accepts Stewart Award with eye on future

Peter Jacobsen playfully punches Tom Kite in the arm during the 2012 U.S. Senior Open.

Peter Jacobsen playfully punches Tom Kite in the arm during the 2012 U.S. Senior Open.

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ATLANTA – Peter Jacobsen is known just as much for his comedic wit as for his golf game. On Tuesday at the Tour Championship, Jacobsen’s on- and off-course traits were recognized with the prestigious Payne Stewart Award.

The award, given in honor of Jacobsen’s good friend, who died in a 1999 airplane accident, is one of the few ways the PGA Tour honors its own. The award is given to players who exemplify character, charity and sportsmanship.

At 59, Jacobsen has been doing just that for a long time on the PGA Tour and now on the Champions Tour. It’s something that comes naturally for a man who still maintains a home in his native Oregon.

“(Payne) was a dynamic personality – somebody who was as intense a competitor there is in the history of the game but also somebody who knew how to have fun,” Jacobsen said.

Jacobsen won seven times on Tour, but he had to wait until the Champions Tour to get his first major title: the 2004 U.S. Senior Open.

Jacobsen has been instrumental in raising more than $40 million for various nonprofits around the United States (with a strong focus on his native Portland) through charity tournaments and appearances.

“Peter has done wonderful things for the game over the years and has set an example both inside and outside the ropes,” Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said. “His spirit and attitude truly embody the meaning of the Payne Stewart Award.”

Even on one of his biggest days, Jacobsen focused his remarks on the game and his confidence that the younger players are coming up with the same purpose and desires as former award winners Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus.

Now Jacobsen will be one of the players after whom younger Tour golfers might pattern themselves.

“I really don’t see any bad actors on the Tour,” Jacobsen said of the younger generation. “And I’m always looking because I’m a harsh critic when its comes to doing the right thing. I think it’s important to do the right thing. I see a lot of kids out here that do the right thing, and I’m really proud of them doing that.”

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