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Jacobsen Receives Payne Stewart Award


Longtime PGA Tour pro, TV commentator, wannabe rock-and-roller, overall goodwill ambassador, and in general one-of-the-good-guys-in-the-golf-community, Peter Jacobsen is the 2013 recipient of the Payne Stewart Award, given annually by the PGA Tour to recognize sportsmanship, integrity, the spirit of giving back to charitable causes, and understanding of what it means to be a role model.

Here are a few words from Jake himself.

MODERATOR: At this time, it's my pleasure to transition to the Payne Stewart Award announcement. I'd like to invite Southern Company Chief Financial Officer Art Beattie to the stage. Southern Company has been a longtime partner with the Payne Stewart Award and the PGA Tour.

TIM FINCHEM: Art, thank you for joining us. Let me just say that tonight we'll be awarding the 14th Payne Stewart Award presentation. As we've talked about over the years, and certainly this year's honoree personifies the ideals this award is all about sportsmanship, integrity, the spirit of giving back to charitable causes, understanding of what it means to be a role model.

Clearly, going back to the first year when Arnold, Jack, and Byron were recognized together, the men who have earned this award over the years have all distinguished themselves through their demeanor, their professional presentation, and their words and actions on and off the golf course. This year's recipient is the personification of these qualities, and I'd like to introduce Peter Jacobsen.

So we found somebody who all of you know, and Peter, who was a good friend of Payne's, exemplifies the values that Payne defined.

I was asked a question last night about the origination of this award, and since Peter's here now, I'll mention this. At the Ryder Cup in 1999 in Boston, I had a conversation with Payne, in which he lamented the development over the years that, when players got turned 50, they headed for the Champions Tour, and that not having a Byron Nelson out there or Sam Snead, who played so long in his career, he felt might be having a negative effect on the younger players coming up having the ability to look to these senior statesmen in the game and learn the core values of the sport from them.

He just asked that we think about that a little bit in terms of are there things that we could do to deal with that? Well, three weeks later he passed away in that crash, and it occurred to us that by recognizing people like Peter Jacobsen, who have stood for the qualities that I just mentioned, could go could have in addition to the recognition of that, could have the effect of getting players, young players coming up to think about these things.

If you just look at the kids who are coming up now and their focus on their presentation, their interest in charity and giving back, I do think it has something to do perhaps with our players talking about this area and the Payne Stewart Award.

Art, I want to thank you and Southern for the work that's been done that you will do again this year, not just to participate in supporting this award, but to tell the story of Peter Jacobsen and why he's being recognized because that really helps tell the story of the quality, integrity, and credibility of our players.

So with that, Peter, congratulations.

PETER JACOBSEN: Thank you. First of all, I'd like to thank the Southern Company for their support, not only of the PGA Tour but also for their support of Payne and his family and keeping Payne's name and legacy alive.

He was an amazing guy. A lot of you in this room knew Payne, knew what he stood for. He was a dynamic personality, somebody who was as intense a competitor as there is in the history of the game but also somebody who few how to have fun.

He would he's out there chomping on his gum and laughing and knocking putts in to win the Ryder Cup and raising his fist and jumping around. I remember when he won the U.S. Open, he grabbed Phil Mickelson's face and said, 'you're going to be a father. That's the greatest thing you could ever have happen to you.'

So he was a good friend of mine. We did a lot of things together with our families. But mostly, we competed against each other. We laughed. And we had a lot of fun, played some music together, some really good music together, I might add, for all you music lovers out there.

But, again, thanks to the Tour and thanks to the Southern Company.

Q. Peter, I'm just curious, we talk a lot about the traits of Payne that are embodied in this award. I wanted to ask you about his golf swing and if you see anybody on Tour today who best resembles that, kind of the swinger he was.

PETER JACOBSEN: It's funny you mention that. The person I see that swings the most like Payne is Jordan Spieth, as he now emerges as a superstar.

Payne had what a lot of people refer to as a two plane swing. He swung a lot like Tom Weiskopf, Hale Irwin, Tom Watson, the arms and club kind of up and down the target line.

When Payne and I played, we played a lot of practice rounds together, and we both had the same swing thought. It was tempo. It was rhythm. And if you watch Payne's swing, that's what you see, and that's what you take out of his swing. Having done some analysis now working for NBC and golf channel, I see those same swing mechanics in Jordan Spieth. He works a lot on tempo, good positions in his swing. But I see a lot of Payne Stewart in Jordan Spieth.

Q. What about from character standpoint? Anybody?

PETER JACOBSEN: There are a lot of kids who have the same character as Payne Stewart. I'm so impressed. First of all, being a member of this PGA Tour for 37 years. I think it's 37, 38. It's been a long time.

For me to see from afar, I play on the Champions Tour, but I also do television out here, and to see what these young men, how they present themselves on a daily basis, how they interact with the fans, how they treat the sponsors, my at is off to Commissioner Finchem and everybody on the Tour for the message we're getting as players, the message they're getting as players on how to be.

From people like Arnold Palmer, Byron Nelson, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Lehman, Jay Haas, all the Payne Stewart Award winners and more, those who have not won the Payne Stewart Award, these men are just great examples of sportsmanship and integrity. I really don't see any bad actors on the Tour.

And I'm always looking because I'm a harsh critic when it 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 for doing that.

Q. If you had one story, personal story that you could tell, favorite story about Payne that you were either involved with or know of, what would it be?

PETER JACOBSEN: I'll tell you a story. I was going to tell it tonight. I'll tell it to you right now.

Payne and I put together a rock and roll band, something completely away from the game of golf. We both loved music, along with Mark Lye and Larry Rinker. Commissioner Deane Beman at the time asked us to put together a band and perform at the players club in Ponte Vedra. We had this crazy idea to put together a little band, which we did. And we called it Jake Trout and the Flounders. Nobody wanted to sing so they pushed me out there. Payne played harmonica, Larry played guitar, and Mark played guitar.

We did this. We bumped around at some Pro Am dinners and some functions, and we had a blast. We were going to record our second album. We were in L.A., and we recorded we got two days of recording time at this studio in L.A., and we paid for 10:00 to 4:00. And we had two days. We had Glenn Frey and Alice Cooper and Huey Lewis and Bruce Hornsby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash all people you know. All in the rock and roll hall of fame. They're all coming in for us to record with them 10:00 to 4:00.

So Payne and I fly in. Mark was already there. We go to the recording studio at 9:30, 10:00 in the morning. We're pounding on the door, 10:30, 11:00, 11:30, 12:00. Nobody's there. We're pounding on the door. We feel we got ripped off. We're a bunch of golfers. Somebody ripped us off.

So we drive around town, and finally we call. I get the producer. It's 4:00. He said, we're supposed to be recording today. He said, yeah, 10:00. I said, yeah, it's 4:00. He goes, yeah, we've got six hours. I said, what recording artist? You going to be a vampire.

So we went back to the hotel, got a shower, got a nap, and we went and recorded the next two days from 10:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. I realized then, that was the realization, Payne said you have to be a vampire to be a rock and roll star. That's why we had a very short lived career.

But being with Payne was enlightening. He was one of the most interesting guys. He had a lot of thoughts. He had a lot of ideas. And he could play music too. He was pretty good on the harmonica. Huey Lewis, who's a great harmonica player with Huey Lewis and the News, said Payne was about a 8 handicap on the harmonica, which is pretty good because he was about a 15 handicap golfer. So it's a fair trade.

Q. Hey, Peter, we've been talking something about integrity before you came in with the fact of what happened with Tiger last week and how the incidents kind of continue to happen. Your opinion on, because you played long enough on the PGA Tour and the Champions Tour, your opinion on these calls, and just talk about how you used to handle rules infractions back in the day, and should it change in some way, shape, or form?

PETER JACOBSEN: I think it only strengthens when we have fans calling in after watching it on TV, it strengthens the rules of the game and strengthens how good we have to be.

Specifically, with the Tiger situation last week, when you're moving a twig or a piece of a leaf, you're not looking at your ball. You're looking at whatever you're moving. So when Tiger says he didn't see the ball move, I get that. He was standing on top of it looking down, probably saw it in his peripheral vision. He didn't see it move.

We've had so many infractions that Tim and the staff have to deal with, but, again, I think that it just strengthens the fact that integrity is one of the measuring sticks out here on Tour. We don't have to worry about crazy things happening because we have an unbelievable rules staff.

I don't mind it. I don't mind people calling in. It's unfair for Tiger because Tiger's got a camera on him everywhere he goes. If you ever play with Tiger it's interesting. I've played with Tiger and watched fans watch Tiger. People will watch Tiger hit his shot. They don't watch the ball in flight. They watch Tiger. And when Tiger puts the club in the bag and goes over and gets a drink of water, he may be playing with Jordan Spieth. They're not watching Jordan Spieth. They're watching Tiger get water and watch Tiger drink water.

Because Tiger's an amazing individual. He's in the class of a Michael Jordan, a Muhammad Ali. He's got that it factor. He's dynamic. That's why I'm glad he plays on our tour. He's a member of our organization, because he's special.

So I think people calling in with rules and infractions, it only keeps us sharp. Probably no fun for the PGA Tour staff and all the rules, but I've been in the trailer now a couple times when the rules officials come in and say, we need to look at this, that, or the other thing. You know, maybe one out of five or one out of six actually turns into something, but I don't have a problem with it.

MODERATOR: Congratulations, Peter.

PETER JACOBSEN: Could I just introduce my wife Jan here. I'm going to start crying. And our youngest child, Mick.

The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.