For Haas, Senior PGA is a family affair

News-DemocratMay 24, 2013 

— Among the golf mementos collected over the years by Jay Haas is a picture taken 48 years ago of himself at age 11, his uncle Bob Goalby and Goalby's caddie during the 1965 U.S. Open at Bellerive Country Club.

Haas recalled the photo with fondness after he fired a 5-under-par 66 on Thursday to share the lead with Duffy Waldorf after the first round of the 74th Senior PGA Championship on the same Bellerive course.

"I'm pretty sure it was taken walking off the 14th green,'' Haas said. "I was 11 then and that was just 48 years ago. Today, I said to my caddie, 'and now he's here watching me play golf at 84 and I'm 59.

"I don't know. It's just kind of ... that went by way too fast. But it's pretty cool."

Goalby, who went on to win the 1968 Masters and is one of the founding members of the Senior PGA Tour -- now the Champions Tour -- was one of several family members and close friends who were on hand to watch Haas record his best-score ever on the par-71 Bellerive layout.

Haas' 66 gave him and Waldorf a one-stroke lead over Kiyoshi Murota and club pro Sonny Skinner.

"He (Goalby) actually watched the back nine today. So at 84, that's pretty impressive,'' said Haas, who also won the Senior PGA Championship in 2006 and 2008. "I think he was happy for me. And he'll try to get over here when he can.

"I don't know the last time he walked nine holes was. But I was happy to see him.''

Haas said a gathering with family and a few close friends was planned for Thursday night.

"We're going over to my sister Cindy's house. She and her husband are hosting quite a few of us. My mom (Shirley) is coming over and uncle Bob and his wife and a couple of his boys and their kids will be there as well,'' Haas said. "There will be 15 to 20 at dinner and that's fun. Fun to see.

"I was able to take care of them for tickets. That was good.''

At 1:05 p.m. Friday, Haas will tee off in a threesome that includes former U.S. Open champion Tom Kite in second-round action.

Jacobsen remembers

Peter Jacobsen arrived at Bellerive Country Club in late in the summer of 2004 as a 50-year-old Champions Tour rookie preparing to play in the U.S. Senior Open.

Jacobsen left Bellerive with the biggest of win of his 37-year career.

Dueling with St. Louis-area golf legends Hale Irwin and Jay Haas in a memorable 36-hole final day, Jacobsen finished with a 12-under-par total, edging Irwin by a single shot.

Following his final practice round for the Senior PGA Championship at Bellerive on Wednesday, Jacobsen reflected on that memorable weekend.

"I know that any player that comes back to a golf course where they've had success before, the feeling comes back. It's been nine years, but the feeling comes back.'' Jacobsen said. "You remember where you drove it. You remember where you made a key putt and you remember where you had a key up-and-down. So yeah, I've been looking forward to coming back to Bellerive.''

Jacobsen, who fired an opening round 75 on Thursday, has won just once since his 2004 triumph -- the 2005 Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship -- as injuries have taken their toll.

Jacobsen has had 17 operations, including a total left hip replacement, a right knee replacement and seven surgeries on his back in the past nine years.

"I've been through a lot. I'm a mixed-martial art participant in the winter,'' Jacobsen quipped. "That's why I'm so beat up.''

Because of his health issues, Jacobsen has done less playing and more commenting about the sport using his unique personality while working for the NBC Golf Channel and NBC.

"I just enjoy being out here. I really love the game of golf. I love being inside the ropes and interacting with the players and I continue to work on my golf swing,'' Jacobsen said. "I don't care how old I get, I can still learn about my golf swing.''

TV time

The Golf Channel will broadcast the second round from Bellerive Country Club beginning at 11 a.m. Friday.

Third- and final-round action can be seen from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday on KSDK-NBC Channel 5.

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