Masters a family tradition for first-round leader Haas
AUGUSTA, Ga. — Craig and Kevin Stadler ("Walrus" and "Smallrus") became the first father-son combo to play in the same Masters, but perhaps they're not the first family of this week's festivities.
Check out the Haas household.
Bill Haas overcome a first-hole bogey on Thursday to shoot a 4-under 68, good for the first-round lead. Father Jay played in 22 Masters, making 19 cuts. Uncle Jerry Haas participated in 1985. An uncle from his mother's side, Dillard Pruitt, teed it up here in 1992 and '93.
Oh, and great-uncle Bob Goalby won the 1968 event, avoiding a playoff after Argentina's Roberto De Vicenzo signed for the wrong Sunday score.
Bill Haas, 31, said Goalby encourages him by saying, "You're a better player than the scores you shoot."
If you hunt around a little bit, you can even find a Chicago connection.
Bob's son, Kel Goalby, an Evanston Golf Club member and Western Golf Association director, pointed out that Bill Haas is one of only four players to win a PGA Tour event in each of his four seasons. The others: Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose and Dustin Johnson.
"He has all the talent," Goalby said.
And Haas' caddie is Scott Gneiser, who looped for David Toms for 16 years. Gneiser's wife, Jane, is a daughter of Stan Mikita. Haas has yet to hit up Gneiser for Blackhawks tickets, but they've been together for only two weeks.
Haas' younger brother, Jay Jr., was on the bag for years. But they split last month, and Gneiser got dumped by John Peterson.
In a striking bit of professional camaraderie, Jay Jr. told Gneiser: "I think you'd be perfect for Bill. Here's his number."
Said Bill: "I needed to switch it up. (Scott) was available, he has a major win, he has been in a lot of pressure-packed situations."
While Bill mulls eventually reuniting with Jay Jr., father Jay remains with Bill step-by-step.
"Hopefully he hasn't left," Bill said. "He's my ride home."