Pebble Beach, Calif. — Pebble Beach is renowned as the most felicitous meeting of land and sea.
The tournament is a meeting of a different variety.
For some, it’s an acquired taste.
The AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am is a confluence of some of the most important elements on the PGA Tour — corporate support and entertainment value, amateur involvement and professional performance, on a golf course that fans and television viewers would all want to play.
That’s what brought Peter Jacobsen back inside the ropes.
Jacobsen, who turns 64 next month, is playing Pebble for the first time in 10 years. He is exempt as a past champion. Never mind that his two-shot victory was 23 years ago when he closed with a 65 to hold off a PGA Tour rookie named David Duval.
“I was old back then,” Jacobsen said Tuesday as he headed out for a practice round.
Why play now?
It was simply a matter of one request turning into another, along with his deep passion for what he considers the best event on the PGA Tour.
The executive director of the Monterey Peninsula Foundation is retiring, and Jacobsen was asked to be at the dinner in her honor Tuesday night. And then one of his favorite amateur partners, singer Huey Lewis, called and suggested they play together.
“My initial reaction was, ‘No, I’m not going to play. My game is not ready.’ I don’t play full-time on the Champions Tour,” Jacobsen said.
But he called a few people he trusts about whether he should play, and the notion that he would take up a spot in the field from a more deserving player, and he received nothing but support. He earned his spot by winning the tournament (two months after Jon Rahm was born). He also might be the biggest ambassador of the tournament, dating to his days when he was the longtime partner of Jack Lemmon.
“This is the best tournament on Tour,” Jacobsen said. “It’s the most important tournament, because where else can you spend five hours playing golf with the CEOs of the companies who support our events? You can’t get a half-hour inside Chuck Schwab’s office. But you can get five hours here.”
Executives from six sponsors on the PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions are in the field, including Benjamin Salinas from TV Azteca, who brought a World Golf Championship to Mexico City last year when the tour couldn’t find a title sponsor at Trump Doral.
The corporate support includes companies that have personal endorsements with players.
The field became stronger again with a young generation that loved being at Pebble and embraced the heritage of the event. Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson and Jason Day are regulars. Rahm, who can reach No. 1 in the world this week, played as a rookie last year and loved it.
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-am
Site: Pebble Beach, Calif.
Courses: Pebble Beach GL (Yardage: 6,816. Par: 72); Spyglass Hill (Yardage: 6,953. Par: 72); Monterey Peninsula (Yardage: 6,958. Par: 71).
Purse: $7.4 million. Winner’s share: $1,332,000.
TV: Thursday-Friday, 3-6 p.m. (Golf Channel); Saturday, 2-3:30 p.m. (Golf Channel), 4-7 p.m. (CBS); Sunday, 1-2:45 p.m. (Golf Channel); 3-6 p.m. (CBS).
Defending champion: Jordan Spieth.
FedEx Cup leader: Patton Kizzire.
Next week: Genesis Open.
Boca Raton Championship
Site: Boca Raton, Fla.
Course: The Old Course at Broken Sound. Yardage: 6,807. Par: 72.
Purse: $1.6 million. Winner’s share: $240,000.
TV: Friday, noon-2:30 p.m. (Golf Channel); Saturday, 3:30-5:30 p.m. (Golf Channel); Sunday, 3-5 p.m. (Golf Channel).
Defending champion: Scott McCarron.
Next week: Chubb Classic.