AUGUSTA, Ga. – Bill Haas’ family roots at the Masters are as strong as those footing the pines at Augusta National.
His great-uncle, Bob Goalby, won this tournament back in 1968. His father, Jay, played here 22 times, making the cut on 19 occasions and earning five top-10s. His uncle, Dillard Pruitt, played twice. And another uncle, Jerry, was the low amateur here in 1985.
“It's something I think we are very proud of to have that many members of our family be able to tee it up here at Augusta,” Bill said.
On Thursday, it was his time to shine in the spotlight, as he posted an opening-round 4-under 68 in his fifth career Masters appearance.
Not only was his dad in attendance, they’re staying together in the same house this week, shared a ride to the course and – as usual – father gave son a few tips on his swing beforehand.
“I never remember thinking, ‘Man, I wish I could hit this shot for my dad,’” Bill said. “But I do know now that there's some times I'm like I wish my dad could hit this shot for me.”
Jay Haas finished third here back in 1999, the closest he ever came to winning a major during a lengthy career.
“He's the person I looked up to the most,” Bill said. “He's the person I idolized golf‑wise. It was great -- loved watching him compete, loved watching him play. I got such a rise seeing him on the leaderboard.
“I think we are both our biggest fans. I pull for him every day and I watch every score he shoots on the Champions Tour. And it's great having him ‑‑ we are staying together this week. He's on the range with me in the morning and hopefully he hasn't left. He's my ride home.”