One of eight multiple winners of historic event joins four major champions, nine other past event winners among early entries in Jan. 18-24 tournament
(LA QUINTA, Calif.) – Bill Haas, one of the most popular recent champions and one of eight players to win the CareerBuilder Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation multiple times, heads a field of early commitments to the PGA TOUR event, which welcomes many of the best players in the world to the Coachella Valley Jan. 18-24.
The 2011 FedExCup champion, Haas broke a six-player logjam last January with a clutch birdie on the 71st hole, then got up-and-down for par from a fairway bunker on the 72nd, to secure his sixth career victory and second in five years in the event. He previously captured the 2010 event, then called the Bob Hope Classic.
Haas finished fifth at last week’s Hero World Challenge in The Bahamas. He’ll be joined among early commitments to the tournament by past champions Mark Wilson (2012), Jhonattan Vegas (who beat Haas in a playoff in 2011), Pat Perez (2009), D.J. Trahan (2008), Charley Hoffman (2007), Chad Campbell (2006), Justin Leonard (2005), Joe Durant (2001) and Mark Brooks (1998). Leonard, Brooks, Stewart Cink and Lucas Glover are the major champions currently in the field.
“Our field continues to display depth, talent and players fans can truly identify with and nowhere is that more true than with Bill Haas,” said Tournament Director Bill Tait. “Bill has always been one of the greatest friends this event has had and we take no small measure of pride in having his name alongside his dad’s among our roll-call of champions.”
As he hunts his third event title and seventh overall, Haas has two new courses to contend with. The 2016 tournament will be held during the week of January 18 with official rounds scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 21 through Sunday, Jan. 24. The TPC Stadium and the Jack Nicklaus Tournament Courses at PGA WEST join longtime tournament mainstay La Quinta Country Club as the courses for the 2016 event, which features the world’s premier professional golfers and a $5.8 million purse.
The popular and genial Haas, the son of 1988 Bob Hope Classic champion Jay Haas, played for his father on the 2015 U.S. Presidents Cup Team. The elder Haas, who selected his son as a captain’s pick for the September event in South Korea, watched – then broke down -- after Haas clinched the winning point for the Americans by vanquishing local favorite Sangmoon Bae, 1 up.
Earlier this year, Haas surprised himself with his victory at the CareerBuilder Challenge, a tournament very near and dear to his heart and career.
“The golf courses have always been good to me. I know they’ve changed courses this year, but I’ve played those two courses in Q-School,” he said about the Stadium Course and the Nicklaus Tournament Course. “It’s been 12 years ago now, but like I said, I like the desert, I feel like it’s a second home in a sense and so always look forward to going back. And certainly when you can win a tournament, any tournament it’s great, but to have that tournament under my belt twice, I can say that’s my best tournament of any of them out here.”
Entering the 2015 tournament, Haas was battling lingering effects from a wrist injury that tempered any expectations he had for winning one of his favorite tournaments. But a hot putter down the stretch allowed him to pull away from the ever-changing cluster of leaders Sunday afternoon.
“Honestly, I remember saying all week that I was struggling with my game. I hadn't practiced that much in the offseason,” he said. “I was rusty and I remember saying to a lot of people, ‘Man, I'm struggling, I just want to make the weekend here.’ For some reason, the putter got hot and the golf was good enough and I just made a lot of birdies and that's what you have to do there. You can hit it as good as you want there, but if you don't make putts, you're probably not going to play Sunday.”
For those fans seeking an extra experience tournament week, there’s Club 17 Presented by Hyundai, which can be purchased on the tournament’s website. Overlooking the TPC Stadium Course’s famous par-3 17th hole – nicknamed “Alcatraz” for its island green – Club 17 features a sports-bar atmosphere inside and views of some of the most exciting golf in the tournament outside. To learn more go to www.CareerBuilderChallenge.com or call (760) 346-8184.