The Pruitt family loved their golf, and their annual treks from their Greenville-area home to Hilton Head to watch the Heritage impacted their lives in two ways. First, daughter Jan met future husband Jay Haas at the tournament, and, second, the introduction to Haas started son Dillard on his way to the South Carolina Golf Hall of Fame.
Dillard Pruitt had played golf with his parents, but, he said, “Until I met Jay, I didn’t really realize people played golf for a living.”
Pruitt, already an accomplished junior golfer, saw his career take off from there. He added multiple junior championships, starred at Clemson, earned victories in prestigious amateur tournaments and captured a PGA Tour title.
Then, after competing for 10 years on the top professional golf tours, he became a PGA Tour rules official and is currently in his 19th year in that position.
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The combination led to Pruitt’s selection to the South Carolina Golf Hall of Fame, president Frank Ford III announced Saturday. He will become the shrine’s 68th member in ceremonies on South Carolina Golf Day in January.
Pruitt will be the third family member in the Hall of Fame, following his namesake, uncle Dillard Traynham, and Haas, his brother-in-law.
“This is obviously a great honor,” said Pruitt, who is working the WGC Bridgestone this weekend in Akron, Ohio. “The state has such a rich history in golf, and to be part of that is exciting.”
Pruitt, who will be 56 this month, loved to watch the pros at the Heritage, and, for obvious reasons, “I quickly became a Jay Haas fan,” he said.
At Clemson, Pruitt made All-America twice and All-ACC three times. He was named to the ACC’s 50-year team and has been inducted into the Clemson Athletic Hall of Fame.
He spent two years playing professionally in Europe before making the PGA Tour in 1988. He won the 1991 Chattanooga Classic and played in two Masters, two U.S. Opens and three PGA championships.
He left the tour “for a lot of reasons,” including neck and back injuries, he said. “Doctors told me I needed neck surgery, but I decided against that and tried physical therapy to get ready for the qualifying tournament.”
He fell short, then spent a year working as a club manufacturer’s representative on the Tour. Then, opportunity knocked, and Pruitt joined the PGA Tour’s rules staff in 1998. He spends 28-30 weeks a year on the road at tournaments.
In that role, he’s invisible – until there’s a rules question. And his most famous came at Akron in 2006 in Tiger Woods’ off-the-cart-path-over-the-clubhouse shot on the ninth hole. After 32 minutes, Pruitt and Mike Shea got it right. (That’s a story for a later report.)
A limited number of tickets will be available for the induction ceremonies. For information, contact the South Carolina Golf Association at 803-732-9311 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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