Georgia golf’s 11 PGA Tour pros making birdies for Bulldogs

Harris English lines up his shot on the 12th green in the second round at the Northern Trust golf tournament, Friday, Aug. 20, 2021, at Liberty National Golf Course in Jersey City, N.J. (John Minchillo/AP)

Credit: John Minchillo

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Harris English lines up his shot on the 12th green in the second round at the Northern Trust golf tournament, Friday, Aug. 20, 2021, at Liberty National Golf Course in Jersey City, N.J. (John Minchillo/AP)

Credit: John Minchillo

Credit: John Minchillo

ATHENS — Georgia golf has come up with a unique way to raise money for the program with what they’re calling the “Dawgs on Tour Birdie Challenge.”

The 2021-22 PGA Tour season gets under way Thursday and, once again, the Bulldogs will lead the all colleges with 11 alums as full-time members.

UGA will be represented this year by current Ryder Cup team member Harris English, Brian Harman, Russell Henley, Chris Kirk, Kevin Kisner, Keith Mitchell, Greyson Sigg, Sepp Straka, Hudson Swafford, Brendon Todd, and Bubba Watson. Those alums have banded together and agreed contribute to the Georgia Bulldog Club for each birdie they record this season.

Meanwhile, UGA alumni and fans can get involved as well by similarly pledging a fixed amount for each birdie made by one any combination of Georgia’s tour players. Donors may pledge a fixed amount for birdies from one, multiple, or all alums. They also may pledge a fixed amount for birdies over specific months or during specific tournaments.

Proceeds can be earmarked for UGA Athletic’s general fund or specifically for the golf team. Georgia will provide updates on each player’s progress and invoices for payments throughout the season.

“I am proud to get the Dawgs on Tour Birdie Challenge started because it connects us PGA Tour players who loved our time at Georgia and love continuing to support the UGA golf team,” said Todd, a 9-year tour member and Athens resident. “I feel like it further solidifies our fraternity of players on tour and sets the precedent for how UGA golfers will stay connected to the program after they turn professional.”

The Birdie Challenge will begin this week with the Fortinet Championship in Napa, Calif., and will continue through the Tour Championship in Atlanta in August of 2022. Sigg, Straka, Swafford, and Todd are in the field.

The birdies program was the brainchild of legendary Georgia golf coach Chris Haack. The Bulldogs have won 66 collegiate tournaments, two national championships, eight SEC titles and produced 62 individual medalists under Haack’s direction since he came to Georgia in 1996. Haack’s players have been named All-Americans 69 times and 15 of his proteges have won a total of 64 times on the PGA (41) and Korn Ferry (23) tours.

According to UGA, these are the birdie averages for Georgia’s pros over the last three seasons are: Harman, 340; English, 339; Straka, 322; Mitchell, 300; Kisner, 297; Henley, 267; Todd, 266; Watson, 244; Swafford, 210; and Kirk, 198. Sigg will be a full-time member for the first time for 2021-22.

UGA has created a website specifically for the Birdie Challenge where fans can get more details and register for the program.

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