The American Junior Golf Association has a long history in the Piedmont Triad region of North Carolina having hosted an event in the area since 1998 and all-boys Invitational since 2002, but a new chapter in its rich history begins now. The tournament’s 15th annual edition is the first as the Haas Family Invitational, the tournament announced today. This year’s Haas Family Invitational is set for June 13-17, 2016 at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C., home of the PGA TOUR’s Wyndham Championship.
The Haas family has a deep Wyndham Championship history; Bill Haas made his PGA TOUR debut at the Wyndham in 2002 while still attending Wake Forest University in nearby Winston-Salem. He has now become a fixture at the Wyndham having played the regular season-ending event 11 times including each of the last 10 years. His father, Jay, who won an NCAA championship as a player at Wake Forest, played in the Wyndham 22 times. The two played the tournament together in 2002 although not in the same group.
Jerry Haas, Jay’s brother and Bill’s uncle and the current Wake Forest Golf Coach, will make his fifth Wyndham Championship appearance in August. In addition, Jay’s uncle, Bob Goalby, played the Wyndham, then the Greater Greensboro Open, 15 times winning it in 1958, his first appearance, and Jay’s brother-in-law, Dillard Pruett, is a PGA TOUR rules official.
“We enjoyed a long partnership with our previous sponsors, and we appreciate all they did for our AJGA event,” Wyndham Championship tournament director Mark Brazil said. “After learning we needed a new direction, we thought about all the different players that have supported the Wyndham Championship over the years and looked for a way to highlight and strengthen that relationship. We realized we could do this with a family we just adore. Our relationship with the Haas family even includes Jay’s wife, Jan, who is an accomplished golfer and has been here a bunch, and Jay Jr., who has caddied here many times.
“They’re pretty excited about it, and so are we. The community is supporting it in a big way; that’s why we started looking at this approach. Bill will come in on Sunday before the U.S. Open, the day before the tournament begins, to spend some time with the AJGA players, and Jay will be here for the day on Monday. For them to make a commitment like that and donate that much of their time for the event is pretty amazing.”
During his AJGA career, Bill Haas won the 1998 AJGA Greensboro Chrysler Junior and advanced to the championship match at the 1999 Polo Golf Junior Classic. As a junior golfer, he was a two-time Rolex Junior All-American, he represented the East Team in the 1999 AJGA Wyndham Cup competition and was a two-time ACC Player of the Year at Wake Forest. He was the recipient of the Jack Nicklaus Award, the Ben Hogan Award and the Haskins Award. Since turning professional in 2004, Bill has six PGA TOUR victories and the 2011 FedExCup championship to his credit.
“For decades, the Haas family has made a tremendous impact on amateur, college and professional golf, both as coaches and players, and we’re thrilled that they are supporting the Haas Family Invitational at Sedgefield Country Club,” said Stephen Hamblin, AJGA Executive Director. “The Haas name is synonymous with golfing excellence, and their support of the AJGA and junior golf is another milestone in their family’s legacy.”
More than 40 Haas Family Invitational alumni have made their way to the PGA TOUR. Past champions include TOUR pros Brian Harman (2003, 2004) and Justin Thomas (2009); tournament alumni also include Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Patrick Reed, Webb Simpson, Billy Horschel, Harris English, Chris Kirk and Danny Lee. The 72-hole stroke play event is one of the AJGA’s top Invitationals; 84 of the world’s best young players will be tested by Sedgefield Country Club’s Donald Ross Course, home of the PGA TOUR’s Wyndham Championship.