Bill Haas and The Family Business
by Jeff Skinner
Bill Haas made two birdies on the last two Holes of The Bob Hope Classic to win and finish one stroke ahead of Matt Kuchar, Tim Clark and Bubba Watson. It was Haas’ first win on The PGA Tour but not the first time he has held a championship trophy. His dad, Jay Haas, won The Hope in 1988 and eight other PGA Tour victories and fourteen Champions Tour wins. Jay was there to see Bill win his first after flying in from The Champions Tour event on Hawaii. If The Hope isn’t delayed by rain and forced to finish on Monday a father doesn’t get to see his son’s first win. There’s a silver lining in every cloud, even those at La Quinta.
The Haas family is one of the better represented families in American Golf. Bill Haas is a former three time All-American and won the Ben Hogan award at Wake Forest University. Bill’s great uncle Bob Goalby won the 1968 Masters. Jay is still playing on the Champions Tour and has won two Charles Schwab Cups. Bill’s uncle Jerry, Jay’s brother, is a former tour player and All-American at Wake Forest and is now the Men’s Golf Coach at Wake Forest, and Bill’s brother played golf for Augusta State. That’s a fairly healthy family tree.
I saw Bill play in The 2004 US Open and was shocked to see such a skinny kid pound the ball like he did. Even from a distance his looked mature for his years and seemed like he belonged on tour. When I talked to his uncle Jerry last year for some insight on Webb Simpson, another one of Jerry’s Wake Forest boys, we spoke briefly about Bill and the “Golfing Haas Family.” Jerry said he had the best job in the world at Wake Forest and loved teaching his kids. He commented on the maturity of Webb and Bill and how he knew both would succeed on tour. One of the threads that connect all the Haas’ in addition to golf is the class and decency they display. I’ve watched Jay be interviewed many times and he is always gracious and considerate. I’ve spoken to Jerry and he was more interested in promoting his players then he was in talking about himself. And I watched Bill say he was “nervous” coming down the stretch at The Hope. Jay and Jerry have to be thrilled that their “kids” are continuing the family tradition of good golf and great people.