When Bill Haas won the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup points title last September, it seemed like a big blow to the 2011 DeBordieu Celebrity Pro-Am for Cystic Fibrosis.
Haas was committed to the tournament, which was played last November. But his late-season success led to his selection by U.S. Presidents Cup Team Captain Fred Couples, and Couples scheduled practices during the dates of the event in Georgetown.
The practices also took Bill’s father, Jay, from the tournament. Jay Haas, a winner of nine PGA Tour and 16 Champions Tour events, was a U.S. Presidents Cup Team assistant captain. So the event was stripped of perhaps its two biggest names.
But Haas’ win in the Tour Championship turned out to be a boon for the tournament. A total of $4.5 million in proceeds from The Presidents Cup was distributed to charitable causes as chosen by the 30 players, captains and assistant captains, and Haas’ gift of $50,000 went to the DeBordieu tournament.
It has given the tournament a boost going into its third playing from Nov. 12-13. Jay Haas has again committed to participate, and Bill Haas is a possibility if he can work out his schedule.
“We were excited to be able to pass that on to the South Carolina Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation,” DeBordieu head pro Shawn Roper said. “It wasn’t expected. It shows his commitment to the event and that he really wanted to be here.
“It was probably better for the charity that he didn’t come and that transpired.”
Bill Haas’ late aunt, Fran Pruitt, lost a lifelong battle with cystic fibrosis in 2008 at the age of 46.
“I feel so fortunate to have made the President’s Cup team in 2011,” Haas told tournament organizers for a release. “Not only did it provide me with an amazing experience, but it also allowed me to make contributions to charities that are near to my family’s heart. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of my Aunt Fran, and couldn’t be more proud to help charities like the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.”
Haas’ recent gift adds to the $85,000 raised by the 2011 event. All proceeds benefit the SC chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, which funds pharmaceutical research to cure and control CF and improve the quality of life for those with the disease.
Former PGA Tour member and current tour rules official Dillard Pruitt has committed to the event, as have eGolf members Sam Lyons of North Myrtle Beach and Galivants Ferry native Michael Maness, and LPGA Futures Tour member Lauren Hunt of Little River.
Tournament sponsor Adams Golf commits to bring at least one of the touring pros that represent the company each year, and hasn’t named a player for 2012. It was Dana Quigley in 2010, and in 2011 Adams produced long drive champion Bobby Wilson and Champions Tour players Tom McKnight and Mike Goodes.
“We expect an exciting roster of professional players this year,” Roper said.
The Monday-Tuesday pro-am costs $1,000 per four-player team and includes banquets, food, beverages and a gift pack. A $2,000 team entry includes higher level gifts primarily from Adams Golf.
A player auction on Nov. 12 will determine each team’s fifth player. A few area club pros join touring pros to fill out the professional field.
Registration begins Friday, and the tournament’s 30 teams sold out well before the event last year. The event has a Texas Scramble format in which the best drive of the fivesome is selected and each player completes the hole with his own ball from there. Handicaps are factored into scoring.
The event is not open to spectators. Information on this year’s event, including sponsorship and playing opportunities, is available at www.dedordieuclub.com/golf or by calling 843-527-6000.
Sessions back for event
Los Angeles Lakers point guard and Myrtle Beach High graduate Ramon Sessions is hosting the second annual Ramon Sessions Charity Golf Tournament on July 21 at Heron Point Golf Club.
Sessions will both host and play, and the event will support the Myrtle Beach High School athletic department.
The event has a 9:30 a.m. shotgun start, entry fee of $70 per player, customized trophies signed by Sessions, a putting contest for rounds of golf, goodie bags provided by sponsor Sysco including a free round at Heron Point, and more than $4,000 in prizes. Sessions is donating through a random drawing four tickets to watch him play against the Charlotte Bobcats.
Dunkin Donuts is providing breakfast and T-Bonz, Hooters, Tilted Kilt, Hard Rock Café and Mulligans restaurants are also providing food. Hole sponsorships are $100 each.
“It’s bigger and better than last year with things we’re doing and giving away,” said William Currin, tournament director and Sessions’ swing instructor. “I’m impressed with the way Ramon is committed to the game and to Heron Point.
“Our plan is to make it an annual event and have more players. Last year’s tournament was a huge success. It really got put together at the last minute and it turned into a huge event.”
Register by contacting Heron Point at 843-650-6664, or visit www.heronpointgolfclub.com.
A productive return
Former Myrtle Beach resident Dustin Johnson has accomplished a lot in his two weeks back on the PGA Tour after missing approximately three months with a back injury.
Prior to his return at the Memorial Tournament, Johnson was ranked 20th in the Official World Golf Ranking, 24th in U.S. Ryder Cup points, 64th on the 2012 money list and 76th in FedEx Cup Points.
With a tie for 19th and win Sunday in the FedEx St. Jude Classic in Memphis, Johnson has vaulted to 10th in the world, 10th in U.S. Ryder Cup points, 20th in earnings with more than $1.8 million, and 18th in FedEx Cup points.
He also managed to brighten the days and perhaps provide some inspiration for a number of children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Johnson participated in several patient events at the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital last week, which hospital spokesperson Jordan Crump said “really lifted the spirits of our patients,” and he made a generous purchase at the hospital’s charity auction that will help fund the hospital’s life-saving work.
All in all, a pretty productive couple weeks.
NGA adding tourney
The Grand Strand-based National Golf Association is adding the NGA Tour Championship Pro-Am from Sept. 5-7 at the Peoria Ridge Golf Course in Miami, Okla., long-time host to the Buffalo Run Casino NGA Classic.
The tour’s 18 leading money winners at season’s end will compete for a share of a $50,000 purse provided by the resort and Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma.
Two pro-am tournaments will be held at Peoria Ridge Golf Course on Sept 5 and 6. Amateur teams will be matched with competing pros by random drawing. Only pros will compete Sept. 7 to determine the 54-hole champion.
The NGA Tour has also been granted an exemption for one player for the third consecutive year into the Nationwide Tour’s Aug. 27- Sept. 2 Mylan Classic at Southpointe Golf Club in Canonsburg, Pa.
A couple of the tour’s former players who have moved onto larger tours are remaining involved in the NGA, as PGA Tour member Michael Thompson, the 2010 NGA Tour Player of the Year, and Nationwide Tour member Philip Pettitt Jr., the 2009 NGA Rookie of the Year, are among the members of the 2012 NGA Player Advisory Board.
In addition to Thompson and Pettitt, the 10-player 2012 Player Advisory Board features a number of past PGA and Nationwide Tour members as well as several young pros. They include NGA members Paul Apyan, Todd Bailey, Ryan Blaum, Hudson Johnson, William Lanier, Nick Rousey, Matt Savage and Justin Smith.
To view Blondin’s blog “Green Reading” go to TheSunNews.com.
Contact ALAN BLONDIN at 843-626-0284.