The Return of 'Peter's Party'

Peter Jacobsen has announced that he's planning to launch a new three-day tournament in his hometown of Portland, Ore. Jacobsen, who hosted the Fred Meyer Challenge for 17 years starting in 1986, will be calling the new event "Peter's Party," the unofficial name of the well-attended Challenge during its heydays.

"I'm just real excited about it," Jacobsen told reporter Mike Tokito during an interview with The Oregonian on Monday at the Portland office of Peter Jacobsen Sports. "I'm committed to keeping golf here in Portland, keeping golf in the state of Oregon - men's golf; we've got a fantastic tournament with the Safeway Classic.

"We get the best of the best with LPGA out at Pumpkin Ridge. That's a staple here in the community and a very wonderful event. But I want to make sure we have men's golf here, too."

The tournament will be held at Portland Golf Club, the original home of the Fred Meyer Challenge, which brought greats such as Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Sam Snead and others to the city for fun and competition.

"Ever since the end of the Fred Meyer Challenge I've felt like there was something missing," Jacobsen says. "I'm committed to keeping men's professional golf in Portland, and in the state of Oregon, and I'm so excited to be bringing this event back to my hometown."

Peter's Party will feature a Saturday am-am, Sunday pro-am and Monday-Tuesday main event. Eight two-golfer teams of Champions Tour and PGA Tour pros will compete. The event also will have a golf clinic Monday morning and a dinner gala Monday night.

The dinner gala was always one of the highlights of the Fred Meyer Challenge. That fundraiser for local charities featured Jacobsen's rock band, "Jake Trout & the Flounders," which included Jacobsen and fellow touring pros Payne Stewart and Mark Lye. The combo was created in the '80s and played until Stewart's untimely death in a plane crash in 1999.

Jacobsen says the new event will focus on fundraising for children's charities. The Children's Hospital at Legacy Emanuel has signed on to be the first official partner charity of Peter's Party.

The task of indentifying workable dates for the event is ongoing. Jacobsen originally targeted August 13-16, but will wait to see the schedule for the Champions Tour to finalize the inaugural event next year. The LPGA Tour's Safeway Classic will be held August 19-21 at Pumpkin Ridge in North Plains, west of the city.

Jacobsen has already sent out his first invitation. That went to Ben Crane, a fellow University of Oregon graduate who learned to play at Portland Golf Club. Crane recently won the CIMB Asia Pacific Classic Malaysia, an unofficial PGA Tour event, which accompanied his first official Tour victory in the Farmers Insurance Open earlier in January.

"Ben was a standard-bearer at the old Fred Meyer Challenge back in the day," Jacobsen told Tokito. "Ben's had great success. It's wonderful to see him doing so well."

The original Challenge was held at Portland Golf Club for six years, then moved to Oregon Golf Club in West Linn for six years, then ran another five years at the Reserve Vineyards and Golf Club in Aloha before Fred Meyer ended its sponsorship.

The popular Jacobsen believes he won't have a problem attracting sponsors. "I believe in the event that much and I believe in the city of Portland, and I believe that the city of Portland wants to have golf here, men's golf, and needs golf here," Jacobsen said. "I believe we'll be able to make a go of this, like we did with the Fred Meyer Challenge."