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January 31, 2003

Jay Haas


JOE CHEMYCZ: Jay, welcome again. Congratulations on another good round to start. Talk about your play today.

JAY HAAS: Quite a different day today. I played very well again. Indian Wells is where you kind of have to get it. 67, I can never be upset with that, but you kind of feel like you can really go low there.

But I played very, very well. Didn't make the putts that I made yesterday, but tee-to-green, I was strong again. I had three 2-putt birdies. I made one putt outside of ten feet probably. It was just a real solid round for me.

Another beautiful day. Somebody said, if you don't like today, you won't like tomorrow. That's true this week.

Q. The adage goes, "It's tough to back up a great round." 61, and then you shoot 67 --

JAY HAAS: Yeah, it's like ho-hum, ho-hum.

When the day comes that I'm upset with a 67, then something is wrong with me.

I was trying to be very patient, especially playing there, because you kind of expect to get a bunch of birdie putts. There's three or four holes, have to drive it really good and hit a long iron or something. Other than that, you've got a steady diet of 3-wood wedge, 2-iron wedge, par 5s where you can reach.

And you get to the point where you're like, "Oh, I'm only 1-under, I'm only 2-under." And then you look at the board.

I tried to stay patient. I was 1-under through 8, started on the back, and I played a solid front nine, shot 3-under on the front and missed 3 putts inside 15 feet there. Could have been better, but, again, certainly I was pleased with 5-under.

Q. And 21-under for three rounds.

JAY HAAS: I think when I won in '88, I was 22 and David Edwards was 20 and those were the only people 20-under.

I don't think that's going to do it.

Q. Oh, you are a far better player?

JAY HAAS: Oh, absolutely. Much better shape and all that stuff, yeah.

Q. 22-under might not finish in the top 20 this week.

JAY HAAS: Like I said yesterday, I read that 41 guys shot 21-under or better last year.

I don't know, I think there's a little more rough at this golf course. If you don't drive it well at the Palmer Course, you've got your work cut out. I think the greens here at the Palmer Course are getting very firm - they were yesterday. It's not just a shootout, but if you get going, you're going to have a reasonable birdie putt on every hole, and the greens are just -- they are better than this carpet right here. They are perfect.

Q. Stephen Ames was just in here saying that he doesn't think this really turns into a golf tournament until Sunday morning.

JAY HAAS: That's probably right. It's a jockey for position. It's the longest race of the year. You know, if you don't play in the celebrity field and see the people watching the celebrities, then you almost don't feel like you're in a golf tournament. You show up on Sunday and go, "Oh, wow, there are spectators." Where we are, we had maybe 10, 12 people following us today. Most of them are friends of the amateurs and an occasional person who is a golf junky that maybe needs to see the leader or something.

You really don't get that sense that you're in the lead or by the lead until Sunday morning. That's a good statement there.

Q. Did you carry anything from yesterday into today, confidence or high feeling that you had from yesterday?

JAY HAAS: I think just the last five or six rounds that I've played, last week at Phoenix and then the first couple this week, I've just really been driving the ball very well and my irons have been very solid. I've mis-hit very few shots, and I think I'm just carrying that with me - that I feel confident that my distance control is there.

I guess I feel that you have to make birdies. You have to stay aggressive. And probably over the course of my career being conservative has hurt me in certain areas. My mindset here is, "Let it rip. Go for it."

That's great to say. It's like a game plan. Like I'm sure the Raiders had a great game plan, but it's out the window when you realize it's not working. This week, it's working a little bit.

Q. 15 years after you've won, it must be fun.

JAY HAAS: Well, it is. A lot of people have asked me about the Senior Tour and am I looking forward to it, things like that. But I still love to compete out here against the best players in the world.

Like I said yesterday, this is the Major Leagues. You know, to do well and to have a chance, that's all we can ask for, at any age. I'm thrilled. I really am.

Q. You go to La Quinta tomorrow?

JAY HAAS: La Quinta tomorrow. Which I think over the years has been one of my harder golf courses. I'm not as comfortable there. We play there one year and then we're off one year or something, back and forth, so it's hard to get a flow there.

I think it's probably as tight as Indian Wells, but it's a little bit longer and requires a few more drivers off of tees. Some of the par 5s are not just giveaways. If you drive the ball well at Indian Wells, I hit a 7-iron, a 3-iron, a 4-iron and a 3-iron into the par 5s today at Indian Wells; that's like the long hitters do at most courses.

At La Quinta, I don't know, I can reach a couple of them comfortably and maybe all of them with some of my best shots, but probably no irons at all. To me, it's one of the harder golf courses of this rotation that we play.

Q. How many drivers did you hit at Indian Wells today?

JAY HAAS: Just five out of 14, maybe one iron and the rest 3-woods. Didn't seem like that. As I go through it, I would have thought more than that. You just don't need it. The par 5s, I did, and No. 10. That's probably standard for everybody on that golf course.

JOE CHEMYCZ: Birdie at 4?

JAY HAAS: Birdied 4. Hit an 8-iron to about eight feet.

5, I hit a 4-iron -- driver and a 4-iron to about 15 feet and 2-putted.

8, driver and a 3-iron to 30 feet and 2-putted.

14, driver, my longest drive, the tees were up a little bit and that bunker is usually right in my wheelhouse. But the tees were up, so I got over the bunker and hit a 7-iron to 30 feet and 2-putted.

18 was my ninth hole. I hit a 3-iron just short of the green, not a very good shot, and pitched and kind of got up on this ridge and was about 10 or 12 feet from the hole and rolled back down to about 30 feet, and I made that.

So that was kind of a stolen one there. Take those with the lipouts, too.

End of FastScripts....

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