Peter Jacobsen, a familiar face in the world of golf, ripped the “short-sighted” players who chose the Asia Tour’s Saudi Invitational over the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am this past weekend.
About 20 golfers, including Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson played in the Saudi Invitational, where they received guaranteed money just for appearing.
“This is the most important tournament on the PGA Tour and I think some of the players are a bit short-sighted when they don’t understand that,” Jacobsen said from Pebble Beach, according to Golfweek.
Jacobsen, 67, retired from professional golf this past week. He won 18 tournaments as a professional and is an analyst for NBC Sports.
“What better place than Pebble Beach to spend time with and thank these corporations for sponsoring this Tour and giving all these players the opportunity to seek fortune and fame,” he said. “I understand getting appearance fee money. I’ve done that myself. But I think this is the one tournament that is extremely important to the success of the PGA Tour and it’s disheartening for me to see so many miss this tournament, so many of the stars, because I think the best players on the PGA Tour should be here and playing with the top people in business, the top people in entertainment and sports. It’s disheartening for me just to see this and I would have loved to have seen the best players in the world playing here this week.”
A subtext of all this is that the Saudis are backing a PGA Tour rival, called the Super Golf League, headed by Greg Norman. They have been aggressive in courting PGA stars, reportedly offering DeChambeau a whopping $135 million to join the upstart tour. Ian Poulter, a 46-year-old golfer on the back-nine of his career was reportedly offered nearly $30 million to join.
Phil Mickelson called the PGA Tour “obnoxiously greedy” last week and said he was weighing the option of joining the Super Golf League.
“The players have gotten to where the only people they listen to are the agents. That’s a real bad direction for the game of golf to go,” Jacobsen said. “I hope someday that somebody realizes how important this event is to the past, present and future of the PGA Tour.”