ATHENS – Two hundred million.
That’s a huge number. In this case, it represents how much money coach Chris Haack’s former UGA golfers have won playing professional golf. Actually, it’s “over” $200 million.
That factoid sailed through social-media timelines earlier this week probably unnoticed by most Georgia fans. It came up after Hudson Swafford, now 34 and another one of Haack’s golf alums, won the American Express Championship in LaQuinta, Calif., last weekend. That represented Swafford’s third victory on the PGA Tour and auto-deposited $1.37 million into his bank account.
Finishing third in that same tournament and starting the final round tied for the lead with Swafford was Georgia’s own Brian Harman. He finished tied for third to bank a cool $402,800.
“I wish I had negotiated 1% when they all signed with us,” Haack joked Wednesday. “I wasn’t smart enough to do that.”
Haack was speaking on the phone from California, where he was with his latest group of Bulldogs. Ranked No. 13 this year, they were competing in the Southwestern Invitational at North Ranch Country Club in Westlake Village, Calif. They finished fourth.
Georgia’s coach since 1996, Haack has been cranking out an assembly line of pro golfers for more than two decades now. “Haack’s Boys” have won 43 titles and $193.2 million on the PGA Tour. His golfers have won additional money on other tours.
Those guys most everybody has heard of: Bubba Watson, Kevin Kisner, Harris English, Chris Kirk, Russell Henley, etc. But a younger set of Haack proteges is starting to gain footing. They include Keith Mitchell, who already has won once, Sepp Straka, Joey Garber and Greyson Sigg, who just earned his PGA Tour card for the 2022 season.
It’s hard to gauge exactly how that ranks against other schools. Tiger Woods, for instance is a Stanford alum and has earned more than $120 million himself on the PGA Tour. Same with Arizona State’s Phil Mickelson, who has made over $93 million.
But no other school has as many alums out there competing in pro tournaments than the Bulldogs. And that’s certainly in a feather in Haack’s camp.
It follows, that Georgia golf has had some success by its own right. Haack is one of four coaches to have won multiple NCAA championships. He’s won two (1999, 2005) and has finished runner-up or third four other times since then.
But it’s on the SEC level where Haack’s success is most clearly demonstrated. His teams have won eight SEC championships (Georgia’s won a league-best 29 overall). For some perspective, there are eight current SEC programs that have won fewer than Haack alone.
It’s interesting to note here that Haack’s contract as Georgia’s golf coach is about to run out. It expires at the end of this academic year.
It’s assumed that UGA’s powers-that-be will take care of Haack in due time. He currently makes $220,000 a year. It’s not immediately known where that ranks among college golf coaches. Suffice it to say it’s below most of the best ones.
According to a survey done by USA Today in 2018, at least 12 men’s golf coaches made more than $300,000 in annual compensation. That list includes Stanford’s Conrad Ray, Alabama’s Jay Seawell and LSU’s Chuck Winstead.
Even Oklahoma’s Ryan Hybl, who played for Haack at Georgia and was his assistant coach for a while, makes more than Haack. Hybl’s Sooners won the 2017 national championship.
Perhaps all those PGA Bulldogs can talk to UGA Athletic Director Josh Brooks and offer Haack that 1% after all.
UGA’S PGA TOUR WINNERS
- Bubba Watson, 14 titles, $47.4 million
- Kevin Kisner, 4, 25.7
- Harris English, 7, 22.2
- Brian Harman, 3, 20.9
- Chris Kirk, 4, 19.8
- Russell Henley, 3, 19.1
- Brendon Todd, 3, 11.7
- Hudson Swafford, 3, 9.5
- Ryuji Imada, 1, 9.2
- Keith Mitchell, 1, 7.7
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