Portland’s Peter Jacobsen has been selected by the Golf Writers Association of America as the recipient of the 2017 Charlie Bartlett Award, given annually to someone for unselfish contributions to the betterment of society.
Jacobsen will receive his award at the 45th ISPS HANDA GWAA Annual Awards Dinner presented by the PGA of America, the PGA TOUR and USGA Wednesday, April 5 in Augusta, Ga.
When he jumped into this pro golf business, Peter Jacobsen didn’t know if it would last “a year or five years, because I didn’t know if I was good enough.”
Now that he’s 40 years into it, Jacobsen was asked what he owes it to.
“I love the game, I love the challenge of the game, I love the people in the game and the people you meet through the game,” he said. “It’s like we’re all in this together.”
Jacobsen’s contributions to golf in the Northwest are legendary. As a young amateur player, he won the 1972 OSAA State High School Championship, the 1974 and 1976 Pac-10 Conference championship while playing for the University of Oregon, and the 1976 Oregon Open (while an amateur, then won it in 1979 as a professional).
He was awarded the PNGA Lifetime Achievement Award in 1999, and was inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 2003.
For many years he conducted “Peter’s Party,” an exhibition in which he brought the game’s biggest names to play for the fans at various venues in the Portland area.
Beyond a PGA Tour playing career that saw him win seven times and play in two Ryder Cups, Jacobsen through various avenues — owner of a company that manages tournaments, NBC analyst, Champions Tour player — has gladly stepped into an ambassador’s role, one that he trained for by studying his idol and mentor, Arnold Palmer.
When Palmer died last September, Jacobsen was crushed. “Arnold defined what it is to be a professional inside and outside the ropes.”
Ditto Jacobsen, because never has there been a pro-am he hasn’t enjoyed or a chance to promote the game he hasn’t seized.
His managed events have contributed $40 million to a list of non-profits and his allegiances run the gamut — from Folds of Honor to Juvenile Diabetes Research to Wounded Warriors to Summit Golf Foundation to The First Tee, and several others.
In 2013, Jacobsen was named winner of the Payne Stewart Award, given to someone whose “values align with the character, charity and sportsmanship” that Stewart possessed. The honor included Jacobsen’s share of a $300,000 grant which he divided between four charities — Folds of Honor, the Independence Fund, Cascade AIDS project, and Young Musicians and Artists.
Palmer received the Bartlett Award in 1976, the year before Jacobsen was a rookie on the PGA Tour.
Past winners of the award, named for the former Chicago Tribune writer and first secretary of the GWAA, include other impressive names such as Gene Sarazen, Jack Nicklaus, Billy Casper, Lee Trevino, Patty Sheehan, Betsy King, Lee Elder, Tom Watson, Ernie Els, Lorena Ochoa and Tiger Woods.
“It’s fun to be part of this game and it’s a great honor to receive this,” said Jacobsen, 62. “My dad taught me the game and when I started out I didn’t know how good I was, but I knew I had passion and that the game brought me a lot of joy.”
At the awards dinner, the GWAA will also honor 2016 Players of the Year Dustin Johnson, Ariya Jutanugarn and Bernhard Langer, William D. Richardson Award winner Tim Finchem, Ben Hogan Award winner Gene Sauers and ASAP Sports/Jim Murray Award co-winners Ben Crenshaw and Stewart Cink.
About the GWAA
Founded in 1946, the 840-member Golf Writers Association of America takes an active role in protecting the interests of all golf journalists, works to improve press facilities and works closely with all of golf’s major governing bodies and the World Golf Hall of Fame.