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March 25, 2017

Bill Haas

Austin, Texas


MICHAEL GIBBONS: Congratulations. I think you just said on the telecast it was an unforgettable day for you.

BILL HAAS: Yeah, the wind this morning was big to me. Kevin's a tough opponent. And I made it to that point last year and lost, and so I just -- my goal was to get to this afternoon.

But then you run into a guy like Phil who is playing great. Even when I was 2-up there going on 16 and I certainly didn't expect anything other but for him to hit 2-iron or 3-iron up there for eagle. Lucky that he didn't make that, because that could have changed everything. And I was fortunate to make that putt there on 17.

MICHAEL GIBBONS: Overall just delighted to go through?

BILL HAAS: Absolutely. To be in this position is better than I've ever done in this event. And playing against guys like Phil and hanging with them and proving to yourself that you can beat any of them if you play well is a lot of fun. That's the reason we play.

It was hard to smile a lot out there and just enjoy it because Phil at any moment, I feel he can hole it from the fairway, that's just him. And there's a lot of Phil cheers out there. I was just kind of hiding in the middle of the fairway and hoping to do well.

So very lucky to be in this position. I'm very proud of what I did. I felt like I played well. I don't think he gave it to me by any means, so I'm proud of that. But at the same time I know how hard it is to win out here and to win matches like that.

Q. I don't know how much you paid attention to other guys, Jon Rahm and what he's done, how impressive is that?
BILL HAAS: This week has been obviously certainly impressive. I was joking in the locker room with him this morning that he hasn't seen past 13. And he's playing great golf. Not just this week. I don't think a single player out here would argue that he's one of the top five, top ten players in the world.

He'll be a great challenge again for me tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it. He's not going to give it to me. He's hungry, he wants more. He wants major. You can just see it in him. He's got that thing about him that's going to make him a big time winner out here, and hopefully I can hang with him.

Q. Your dad was out here earlier in the week. Did you work on the swing, find something, or was it him hanging out for the week?
BILL HAAS: Yes, I asked him to come. I haven't been really fighting my swing terribly, but it's never great. We're always working on it. And he was out west and on his way home I just asked him to stop in.

And certainly we were working -- we tried something on Tuesday. Tried something else on Wednesday. And I'm kind of going with one of the things that we talked about. And it feels pretty good.

And I give him all the credit in the world. He's the guy I bounce ideas off golf swing-wise all the time. And the only reason I play golf is because of him. He's a great guy to have in my corner.

Q. Did you go with the Tuesday tip or the Wednesday tip?
BILL HAAS: The most recent one, yeah. I'm still hitting foul balls to the right but that's kind of been my whole -- I get underneath the ball. I'm just trying to cover the ball a little bit better. Showed a swing of mine on 15. And my swing looked like I was underneath it.

It's always a grind. It's always a fight to get better. But overall so far this week it's been mostly good.

Q. Have you given yourself a chance yet to think back that that chip yesterday in the playoff and how none of this would have been able to happen without that?
BILL HAAS: Yeah, I mean I try not to let myself think nothing would happen without that. But that is the case. And I guess every player can say that about a putt or whatever, they wouldn't be here if they hadn't done this or that.

Obviously I hit the chip like I wanted and all that. But when the ball left my face, hooking off that right fairway over there, I thought it was over. But then I said, let's at least chip it close and make him two-putt. That was kind of my theory. And for it to go in -- you never know. That's this game. Very fortunate to be here.

I will say the first hole he made an incredible up and down. So you could have said that second hole didn't need to happen or whatever. But you can't really look back and say all that kind of stuff. But at the end of the week, say I win tomorrow, win the whole thing, that chip is unbelievably important, for sure.

Q. Could you take us through 15 today where you got a little bit of breathing room?
BILL HAAS: Yeah, I mean I was 3-up through 9 feeling really good. And then he hit a stiff at 10. And 12 I got a little careless with had my second shot, my layup. Got a good break, perfect drive, I was fine. And just hit my wedge a little too hard. I gave him a hole there with the bogey on the par 5. All of a sudden I'm only 1-up. And with Phil it doesn't feel like much. And then luckily parred the next couple.

And then 15, I'm sorry it was a long-winded answer for you to ask about 15, perfect yardage in the middle of the fairway, and I told myself to hit a good one and it came off just like I liked. He looked like he had a decent wedge there, and it just went a little long, and I was able to win that hole. 2-up with three to go feels pretty good.

Q. Obviously there's an opportunity tomorrow you might get Dustin in the finals. Given what he's done in the past -- his past two starts of how he's playing, is it difficult to put that out of your mind in terms of this guy is on fire right now?
BILL HAAS: I mean I think you just have to focus on what you're doing, especially in this format. Dustin is playing incredible golf. And he hits it so much further than anybody, and I would say he's one of the straightest hitters. That's a hard combination to compete with. And I think if he's on his game he's just probably going to win or be up there most of the weeks.

But with that said, I made seven birdies today. I could make seven birdies again. And that will be tough to beat. He would have to play his best to beat me I think if I did that.

So I'm not going to be thinking about Dustin tomorrow against Jon Rahm, to answer your question. I've got plenty to deal with tomorrow on the first tee. We'll see what happens.

Q. You've had a very good career, obviously. Did you ever at any point in your career wish you'd changed your last name? You've had so much success in the family?
BILL HAAS: Oh, no, no.

Q. Opposite?
BILL HAAS: Just the opposite. I'm extremely lucky to be my mom and dad's son. They raised me right. My dad is my idol in this game and as a person. No, that would be sad. I'm very lucky.

Q. Never felt the pressure?
BILL HAAS: No, I think honestly when he watches me play he makes me want to impress him, if anything else. And I think when I struggle knowing he's been out here for so long and done it and he's had his up and downs, too. Usually if I struggle, he says if you want to be out here a long time you're going to struggle. That's the reality of it.

No, I've never felt pressure because of him. If anything else he's helped me along the way to not feel pressure.

Q. Talk about the chip in yesterday is one of those things that happens when a golfer has a good week. Today did it help you with a more aggressive mindset? 12 birdies, did a break like that free you up mentally?
BILL HAAS: A little bit. But on the next tee shot after the next chip in, I was nervous, don't screw this up now. I don't think so. I think this format it can lend itself -- I think this golf course in a stroke play event you would not see as many birdies, because there's so much trouble out there.

In a match play format you see guys be aggressive maybe when they wouldn't in a stroke play event. I think you see birdies when guys get hot because the guys are really good. Even the putts I missed they didn't seem to be far off and I was happy with the putts. And those are the days you look for. 12 birdies -- I hope I have them again tomorrow. I hope I don't run out of them. Today was a lot of fun.

Q. When you're 3-up at the turn and especially losing 12 the way you did, is there any part of you that gets caught looking ahead to the finish line, and does it suddenly look farther away?
BILL HAAS: Yeah, maybe a little bit. I think when I got to 1-up I just thought let's get to 2-up. Even though I was going the other way, I was still 1-up. And the next hole is kind of a birdie hole. I'm thinking just hit a good layup. For me it's an awkward number to go for, I'm not quite long enough, I can get it there, but it's probably going to go over with the driver. Even though Phil is the best wedge player in the world, I just said I need to try to hit a good one in there. He missed a pretty close birdie putt there to bring it all square. And that was a big moment, I think. And then I got up and down the next hole and he's looking to go back to square, as well.

So things happened in my favor there at that point. But then on 15, I'm hitting a nice shot in there and I got to 2-up. That feels different than 1-up. Going the other way against one of the best players that's ever lived, that can be tough, for sure.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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