Family Affair: Bill and Jay Haas Take On Myrtle Beach Classic

An obvious question for Jay Haas and son Bill, who’ll participate in this week’s inaugural Myrtle Beach Classic as player (Bill) and caddie (Jay), was never asked during Wednesday’s press conference. So let’s ask it here:
“So Bill: if you win this week (a $720,000 payday), does Jay get the standard 10 percent (caddie) bonus?”

Jay – a nine-time winner on the PGA Tour and now an occasional player on the PGA Tour Champions, where he’s won 18 times – likely would’ve laughed at the inquiry. Bill, a bit more serious about his ongoing Tour career (six wins, most recently the 2015 Humana Challenge), might or might not have seen the humor.

This week promises to be nothing but smiles, though, for South Carolina golf’s “Godfather” and his younger son, winner of the 2011 Tour Championship, worth a life-changing $11 million. After all, few families are as invested in South Carolina golf as they are. The Jay Haas Award goes annually to the S.C. Golf Association’s top male junior player, and several past winners – including Bill, in 1999 – are in the 132-player field.

The whole “family affair” feeling this week – and at the PGA Tour debut for The Dunes Golf & Beach Club, no less – ensures the extended Haas family will enjoy themselves. Assorted wives, children and grandchildren will get to watch dad and son – and as a team.
“Yeah, my dad asked me about a month ago, probably, ‘Hey, if you get into Myrtle Beach, I want to caddie,” Bill said. “So I said, ‘Perfect.’ Here we are.”

It’s not the first tour of bag duty for Jay, who’s done it “a handful of times,” Bill said. “He’s still playing” the PGA Tour Champions, “(and) he had back surgery in the fall, and so hasn’t played as much in the last year.”

Mostly, though, Bill said, “(Jay’s) career hasn’t allowed him to be my caddie. But it is nice. He’s my coach. He’s the mental coach and the swing coach and the guy I bounce any golf stuff off of.”
Jay, now 70, joked about his back surgery. “The surgeon said to carry heavy stuff,” he said, grinning, before quickly adding, “No, he didn’t.” Bill’s golf bag is “pretty heavy, but he’s got the small bag, so it’s not so bad. And the course is fairly flat.”

Competing here promises to be enjoyable for the Haases regardless of Bill’s scores. The family owns a beach home near Pawleys Island, about an hour away from the course. “I think my mom (Jan) maybe just got here,” Bill said. “My family, my wife and kids are coming tomorrow, so we’ll have them here this weekend. It’ll be a great weekend for sure.”

Not only for the family, but also for Myrtle Beach golf and South Carolina golf in general. Bill said talk among the PGA Tour players has been upbeat about The Dunes Club. “Every player on the range is talking about how great they think it is, and (how) this place is a perfect showcase for South Carolina golf,” he said.

“It has a feel like Hilton Head. You think Myrtle Beach, I guess I was thinking a little more marshy, a little more like Sea Island (in Georgia), that type of golf course. But once you get here, it feels a little more inland and beautiful.” He compared The Dunes Club to Quail Hollow, where the top 70 Tour players will compete this week at the Wells Fargo Championship, and Florida courses in the Tampa area.

Jay also complimented The Dunes. “It seems like the staging is fantastic,” he said, “and I think when you think about golf in South Carolina, I’d say Myrtle Beach comes to mind. It’s a great showcase for that (and) I’ve heard a lot of good comments from the (Tour players).”

Bill noted that this week for Myrtle Beach and The Dunes Club won’t be a one-and-done, since the PGA Tour has committed to play here for three additional years. “Myrtle Beach is a ton of golf, and (it’s) surprising that we haven’t had a PGA Tour event here,” he said.

“I think they (the Tour) are excited from what I understand; a lot of volunteers and a lot of the members are excited to have it. I’m glad it’s going to be here a few years.”

No telling how often the Haases will return as a tandem in coming years. Maybe it’ll depend if Jay can get Bill to commit to a reasonable payday.

Related Courses:

Dunes Golf & Beach Club

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