Hueber, Renner honor dads with season-long pledge to charity
June 15, 2016
By Adam Stanley, PGATOUR.COM
- June 15, 2016
- Justin Hueber and Jim Renner are each donating to charity for every birdie or better made during the 2016 season. (Getty Images)
On the third Sunday in June, we celebrate Father’s Day. And for many, golf is an important aspect of the celebration, whether it’s watching it on television or playing a round.
For many golfers, their fathers (or grandfathers) were the ones who got them started in the game.
Jim Renner and Justin Hueber are no different than most in that regard, but for the two Web.com Tour members, their performance on Tour means just a little more – not only for their fathers, but also for many who may be going through tough times.
Renner, whose father passed away from a heart attack in 2012, and Hueber, whose father recently managed to beat blood cancer, have partnered with Credibility Consulting to donate money to the American Heart Association and the Indiana chapter of the Lymphoma and Leukemia Society, respectively, for every birdie or better they make on Tour this year.
Credibility is a forensic accounting firm founded by Tim Hart in 2010 that specializes in international disputes based out of Washington, D.C.
Hart says the campaign with Renner began in 2013, and they have raised over $20,000 for the heart association so far. Hueber was just brought on board this year, and they have raised nearly $2,000 this season alone.
“Hopefully we’ll see a lot more this year because we’re paying into the program for both birdies or better, plus place-in-tournament,” continues Hart. “Hopefully (they) work their way up the list on the Web.com Tour and we’ll be able to donate more money to charity.”
Fidelity Sports Group, an agency that represents both players, facilitated the relationship.
Hueber and Renner are both in the field this week at the Nashville Golf Open in Nashville, Tennessee. They are excited, and committed, to make it to the next level in professional golf, but are equally happy to be helping out some very deserving charities along the way.
“Golf is my job and it’s what I do, but it doesn’t mean a whole lot in the grand scheme of things watching my dad go through (what he did) and being in the hospital with him. It puts things into perspective really quick,” explains Hueber. “Obviously my goal is to make it to the PGA TOUR as soon as possible. But if I can help someone else out along the way, even if I don’t make it to the TOUR, knowing I was able to do a small thing is more important to me than the game of golf.”
Renner, 32, has made 103 birdies and two eagles so far this year; while Hueber, 28, has missed just one cut in six events (with a win on the PGA TOUR Latinoamerica) and has 96 birdies and four eagles.
Hueber’s father had a rare form of blood cancer and was “perfectly healthy” before his cancer scare. He started chemotherapy right away, and had a stem-cell transplant in Nebraska that, essentially, saved his life. Hueber says his father has made a full recovery now and even made it out to caddie for him when he was supposed to be taking it easy.
“He caddied for me in 2013 and had just been cleared to walk on the treadmill. He said, ‘Screw that, I’m going to caddy for you,’” jokes Hueber.
The event in question was Second Stage of PGA TOUR Q-School at Southern Hills Plantation Club in Florida, a hilly (for Florida) golf course.
“It was hot, but he did it. I ended up chipping in on the final hole to make it on the number and get Web.com Tour status in 2014,” he explains.
Hueber says his father has caddied for him about once a year since then. Last year, he was on the bag during a victory in Mexico, and this year at the United Leasing & Finance Championship, he was there again.
“It’s just fun to know when I’m out there making birdies, it’s helping him. It’s helping other people too and obviously it’s helping me on my goal to get to the PGA TOUR,” states Hueber.
For Renner, he admits it has been a tough go since his father passed away.
He played on the PGA TOUR last year, but is back on the Web.com Tour after finishing 210th in the FedExCup standings.
“(It) hasn’t exactly been a dream, but I feel like it’s been one of those things where I’ve been pretty close with a lot of aspects with my game; I just haven’t been able to put them together for a tournament,” he explains of his last 18 months on the golf course. “I’m looking forward to the next stretch, though. I’ve been working hard on my game."
Renner says he misses the ability to hear from his father – good or bad – after a round. Those phone calls are what he cherished the most.
“I know when I do play well it’s one of the first things I think of; I would talk to him after almost every tournament. But even if I had a bad tournament, he’d be a phone call that would be helpful,” he says. “It stinks when you lose that phone call because you can’t replace it.”He caddied for me in 2013 and had just been cleared to walk on the treadmill. He said, 'Screw that, I’m going to caddy for you.'
Both Renner and Hueber credit their fathers for getting them into golf, and being some of their biggest supporters while climbing the game’s ladder.
“He was a good golfer in his own right. He was a blue-collar working guy, so it’s not like he was playing every day, but he could certainly play. He got me involved with it,” explains Renner of his father. “Since he’s been gone, it’s been tough. Golf was something we shared together.”
“In 2013 I wanted to take some time off, but I knew me playing golf was helping him keep going,” Hueber says of when his father was going through cancer treatment. “Being able to follow it was giving him peace of mind as he was going through all the treatment. He’s been with me every step of the way.”
“He’s the man,” continues Hueber with a laugh.
While both men look to further their successes on the golf course, off the course Jim Renner and Justin Hueber are, in concert with a dedicated sponsor, helping raise funds for worthwhile charities.
And, it’s not lost on Renner how on-course success can help both him and others.
“Every dollar counts,” he acknowledges of his Web.com Tour results. “It’ll make a difference for where you play next season.”
Their success will make a difference in the lives of many others as well, but on Father’s Day, it’s hard for Renner not to think of who is missing in his life.
“It’s tough, but it’s been a few years now. It still seems like yesterday,” he explains. “But it’s just one of those things where you keep plugging along because that’s what he would have wanted me to do.”