In Loving Memory of Tommy Jacobs, PGA Life Member
February 13, 1935 to July 9, 2022
Tommy Jacobs was an American professional golfer, and was a long-time member of the PGA Tour, playing full time from 1958 through 1971.
Jacobs was born in Denver Colorado and raised in Southern California, where he started in junior golf. In 1951, Jacobs won the U.S. Junior Amateur. At sixteen, he advanced to the semifinals of the U.S. Amateur, which earned him an invitation to the Masters Tournament at age 17. For 58 years, Jacobs had the distinction of being the youngest golfer to ever play in the Masters (in 1952). The record was broken by Matteo Manassero in 2010. He turned professional in 1956, after returning from Army service. He later married Sally Ann Scharfe in 1958, who preceded him in death in 2013.
Jacobs is best remembered on tour, for winning multiple PGA Tour events. His first win came in 1958 at the newly revamped Denver Open, and his last was at the 1964 Palm Springs Golf Classic. During his career, Jacobs had 2nd-place finishes in two major championships. He lost the 1964 U.S. Open to Ken Venturi by four strokes and was runner-up in a playoff at the Masters Tournament in 1966 that he (72) and Gay Brewer (78) lost to Jack Nicklaus (70). Jacobs was a member of the winning 1965 Ryder Cup team and finished with a record of 3-1-1. In addition, Jacobs and Dave Marr teamed up to win the 1965 CBS Match Play Championship, which although an un-official event, netted the largest first place prize money of any tournament that year.
Always, someone that stood up for the rights of others, and principled in his beliefs, Jacobs as the chairman of the players’ committee from 1965-66, and with the help of fellow players’ committee members, brought awareness for the need to have separate recognition with the PGA, for tour players. Eventually, the PGA tour broke off separately in 1968, forming the PGA Tour, which lead to increased prize money and TV revenue sharing.
Jacobs would go on become the Director of Golf at La Costa Resort and Spa from 1971 to 1986, along with responsibilities of being Chairman of the Tournament of Champions golf event, an annual, winners only invitational event for PGA Tour Members, that was always one of the favorite events of the year.
Later endeavors included overseeing the golf course development and membership sales of The Farms, a Dye Design Golf course in Ranch Santa Fe, CA. Jacobs would later become owner and principal operator of Tommy Jacobs Bel Air greens golf course in Palm Springs, CA. Later, with that entrepreneurial spirit still burning strong, he became a principle in the purchase and operation of Magnolia Greens, a 27-hole championship level course in Leland, NC.
“Our Dad was the most likable, generous men you would ever meet, say sons Michael and Keith. We always enjoyed hearing countless stories of selfless and congenital nature, from countless friends from both the tour, and later in the operation of his golf course endeavors. A true gentleman. One of his personal favorite stories, while a young pro, was recounting the time that Ben Hogan asked him if he wanted to play a practice round at Colonial, during tournament week. My Dad remarked later, he didn’t even know Hogan knew who he was. “
Jacobs younger kid brother John would go on to become a member of both the PGA Tour and Champions Tour, and always fondly reflected on the times he got to spend, tagging along when he was younger, and learning from his older brother. John would go on to win 5 Champions Tour events, including the PGA Seniors.
Tommy is survived by his sons Michael and Keith, daughter in law Yvette, brother John.
Condolences may be left on Tommy’s Facebook Page, or by tagging him in a post: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100011242323827
Please consider a donation to your local First Tee in honor of Tommy Jacobs, one of the greatest junior golfers of his era.