The Bob Hope Classic and My Own Bill Haas Story

female golf pundit, Patricia Hannigan
Here in Connecticut an icy rain fell from sunrise till dusk today and the skies never cleared. But my Monday was made much brighter by a Bill Haas victory at the Bob Hope Classic. You see, I've been a major Bill Haas fan since June 17, 2008.

Before you think I'm weird, the reason I remember the exact date is because that's the day I actually met the gracious southern golfer on the practice green at TPC River Highlands.

It was the week leading up to the Travelers Championship and the players were coming in from the west coast and Torrey Pines, after one of the most memorable US Opens ever. Buzz was just beginning to circulate about the possibility that Tiger might have to take some time off... perhaps even the remainder of the season... to mend his knee... and the prospect of several Tigerless months seemed to cast an aura of uncertainly on the green that day. In light of what's happened since, that seems almost extremely ironic, doesn't it?

Being a weekday... and quite early in the morning... the sparse crowd around the green consisted mainly of prosperous looking senior citizens, clamoring for autographs. They were uniformly equipped with fresh black Sharpies and shiny new golf balls. Once signed, I'm guessing they lovingly placed the balls in windowed display cases.

But, as I say, there was a strange vibe that day. The players spoke among themselves, commiserated with their caddies and went about their practice routines. Most of them seemed in no mood to humor the early morning autograph seekers. But there was one young guy who didn't hesitate to approach the fans standing around the green. It was Bill Haas who... I'll admit... I was unfamiliar with at the time. As he politely proceeded to autograph balls, exchanging pleasantries with the seniors, I complimented him on his pleated trousers which were old-fashioned and oddly elegant. He smiled and said he was surprised I had noticed, he said he preferred pants with pleats though they weren't always easy to find. I asked if I could take a photo, and gave me that great smile.

So, that's the story of how I became a Bill Haas fan on June 17, 2008. And why it was pretty special to see him win in an exciting final round at the Bob Hope Classic today.

Photos:Golf Girl Media