The John R. Williams Tournament Committee proudly announces that the guest speaker for the 2017 Williams will be Paul Azinger, the 17-time PGA tour winner who won the 1993 PGA Championship and was the winning captain at the 2008 Ryder Cup.
Zinger joins a list of recent guests that includes Nick Faldo, Tim Rosaforte, Curtis Strange, 1971 Williams champion Andy North, and John Feinstein.
Paul Azinger Bio
Paul Azinger’s professional career began in 1981. He spent almost 300 weeks in the top 10 of the World Rankings between 1988 and 1994. In the seven seasons from 1987 to 1993, he won eleven tournaments on the PGA TOUR. Following his breakthrough major championship victory, the PGA Championship at Inverness, he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. After battling the disease for months, with intensive chemotherapy and radiation, he was able to return to golf and receive the Ben Hogan Award in 1995. This award is given to the professional golfer who remains active in the sport despite serious illness or physical handicap. Azinger’s comeback was fully realized when in 2000, at the age of forty, when he won the Sony Open in Hawaii.
Azinger’s life has also been marked with tragedy off the golf course. In 1999, his longtime friend and fellow tour member, Payne Stewart, was killed in a plane crash. Also on board were two of his closest friends and managers, Robert Fraley and Van Arden. This loss weighted heavily on Azinger and he gave a heartfelt eulogy at the memorial for Payne Stewart.
Possibly the greatest, and most rewarding, chapter in Azinger’s professional life began in 2006. In the fall of that year, he lobbied and was eventually given the captaincy of the 2008 US Ryder Cup Team. His selection was based on his new ideas for selection of the team, revamping the schedule, and looking at all aspects of the competition in a new light. The US Ryder Cup Team was victorious at Valhalla. It was one of the most exciting matches in golfing history. 600 million people watched Azinger lead the US to its first victory since 1999 after years of record losses in the event. His innovative strategy and changes are largely credited in providing the team with the best environment to succeed.
From 2006-2015, he served as the Lead Golf Analyst for ESPN. In January of 2016, he was named the Lead Golf Analyst for Fox Sports and the USGA Championships to follow. Paul enjoys many hobbies off the course. He is an accomplished Poker player and has played at the World Series of Poker on many occasions. He is also an excellent foosball player, as well as an avid fisherman, in his spare time. You can also find Paul enjoying his time with his sports cars and motorcycles. Paul, and his wife Toni, reside in Bradenton, FL near their daughters Josie (son-in-law, Sebastian) and Sarah Jean (son-in-law, Tim). They are the proud grandparents of Campbell and Houston.