Two UGA golfers turning pro with victories already under their belts

UGA graduates Harris English and Russell Henley are set to begin promising professional careers in the coming weeks. (UGA photo)

UGA graduates Harris English and Russell Henley, both of whom won Nationwide Tour events as amatuers, are set to begin promising professional careers in the coming weeks. (Photo by

We interrupt all this football talk to interject a little golf news. . . .

Recent UGA graduate Harris English will announce tomorrow at Black Creek Club in Chattanooga that he will turn pro and join the Nationwide Tour, according to the Chattanooga Times-Free Press. His professional debut is expected to come in the Children’s Hospital Classic on Oct. 6-9 at Black Creek, where he grew up learning and playing the game. English won the Nationwide’s Children’s Hospital Invitational in Ohio just a late July 24, but entered as an amateur in order to remain eligible to play on the U.S. Walker Cup team.

Last week, English was in Scotland representing the U.S. along with UGA teammate and fellow Nationwide Tour event winner Russell Henley. The heavily-favored U.S. team lost to Great Britain 14-12. Henley was also expected to turn upon his return.

“Both of those guys were going to turn pro right away,” Georgia golf coach Chris Haack said. “From my standpoint, it’s great to see those guys fulfill their dreams. Because of their situations, they’ve given themselves a great opportunity to succeed.”

Both players are expected to make their pro debuts in the Soboba Golf Classic in San Jacinto, Calif., on Sept. 22, Haack said.

Because of more time passed since his victory in the UGA Stadion Classic in Athens in May, Henley’s situation is a little more complicated.

After winning the Stadion, Henley had 60 days to turn pro and be exempt the rest of the year on the Nationwide Tour, as well as next year. He decided to remain amateur, however, so he could represent his country on the Walker Cup team. As a result, he’ll have get sponsor’s exemptions to play in events on the Nationwide and PGA tours the rest of this year before heading to Qualifying School. He is exempt until the final stage of Q-school, however, and will be fully exempt on the Nationwide Tour beginning in 2012.

Because English is within 60 days of his Nationwide Tour victory, he will have fully-exempt status right away.. That gives him the opportunity to finish in the top 25 and possibly qualify for the big tour next year.

“I’d be surprised if Russell didn’t get into every event he wants to,” Haack said. “I’d think because of he’s a past winner and a Walker Cup team member they’d want him to play.”

There have only been three victories by an amateur on the NWT, and two were this summer by UGA guys. The third was Daniel Summerhays of Brigham Young University (2007 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Invitational)

A third senior  from last year’s UGA team, Hudson Swofford, has already won on the eGolf Tour. It was just his sixth pro start.

– Chip Towers

17 comments Add your comment


September 12th, 2011
1:45 pm

danggit…we could use them on our O-line


September 12th, 2011
1:53 pm

LOL, good one crackpipe.


September 12th, 2011
1:53 pm

Goo Dawgs!! Proud to have them representing UGA on the Tour.. Best of luck!

Athens Dawg

September 12th, 2011
2:15 pm

LOL not quite big enough to play on our O-line crack head. LOL


September 12th, 2011
2:19 pm

Best wishes to you, Harris English and Russell Henley, as you begin your professional journey on tour.

You represent UGA well. .. Go Dawgs!

Randolph Winthorpe III

September 12th, 2011
2:39 pm

Yes, pip pip, I do declare that a man with a name such as Harris English must come from only the finest of breeding.


September 12th, 2011
3:41 pm

Heck, why not? Go pro & start earning the big bucks instead of staying at UGA to support a losing football team. Maybe Mark Richt & BooBoo can go caddy for them & the Dogs can get some real football coaches in Athens.


September 12th, 2011
3:50 pm

Good luck as Pro Golfers Doggies

The most telling part of the article is this...

September 12th, 2011
4:09 pm

…”The heavily-favored U.S. team lost to Great Britain 14-12″. – obviously they are not ready for THE Tour, but try telling that to them or their mommies and daddies…just like the O-line is not ready for prime time at UGA…

W.C. Boatwright

September 12th, 2011
4:14 pm

The whole point is to get drunk, stick the cart in the sand, and hit the most range balls into the pool. Thus, John Daly is the greatest professional golfer of all time.


September 12th, 2011
4:52 pm

Dang, does anyone proof read your writing? Oh, I forgot, this is a Georgia paper, that’s the way you talk!!

The most telling part of the article is this...

September 12th, 2011
4:52 pm

…and, yes, I know they were not he only players on the Walker Cup losing team…

jake dawg

September 12th, 2011
5:08 pm

A vols fan commenting on grammar. That, my friends, is high comedy.

Mark (another one)

September 12th, 2011
5:33 pm

Lots of UGA alums on tour. Didn’t Watson get honored at Saturday’s football game for his contributions back to the school?

Best of luck to these guys. They represented UGA well, and I am sure they will continue to do so as pros.


September 12th, 2011
6:05 pm

Most of these guys were at the Bulldawg Open on friday at the UGA course..Friend of mine played with Swafford, Brian Harman and Richard Scott and won..Bubba also played.

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September 12th, 2011
7:08 pm

Kudos also to Blake Adams, former UGA golfer. His first two years on the PGA tour and has averaged right at 1 mil for those two years. Also playing in the 3rd round of the Fed Ex this week. Not bad! Good luck new guys. You are only one week from being a millionaire, as they say on the tour!