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May 24, 2008

Jay Haas


KELLY ELBIN: 2006 Senior PGA Champion Jay Haas joining us after a round of 72. 213 total. One stroke out of the lead after three round of the 69th Senior PGA Championship. Jay, it appears this round is all about one shot on number 17. Would you talk a little bit about what happened there, please.
JAY HAAS: Yeah. Well, I guess I can go back about 30 minutes before that it I looked up on the leaderboard and I was five behind. And I would like to say that I needed to turn it on or something like that, but I just, I was hoping to play the last few holes as good as I could. Maybe even, maybe under par a little bit. And I was facing about a 12 foot putt at 15 for birdie and I made that. And that was, that fired me up.
I parred 16.
17, I hit probably one of the best drives of the week. Which I was pretty surprised that it had gone through the fairway. And just about a yard through the fairway there. And I had 162 to the hole, 157 to the front. Which didn't really matter a whole lot because I had to go under a limb and I was just trying to rake it up there somewhere in the gap.
And I'm thinking, well, 7-iron might be too much, it might be, if it goes in the gap it will go to the back of the green. So I was just trying to -- I thought left bunker wouldn't be too bad, short left wouldn't be too bad. And somehow it came out pretty good and needed a little bit of a kick left and I really couldn't see it, at one point it kind of got lost in the shadows and then it kind of popped out into the sun. And it was, it looked like it was going on the green.
So I was just ecstatic about that. Then I thought well this might be close. And by that time it disappeared. So I saw the crowd go nuts up there and I went pretty nuts.
And right before that I saw Jeff and Bernhard both miss relatively short putts. And I just, from the crowd groan I felt like they were for pars probably. So I thought they were, that put them 2-over par and all of a sudden now I'm 2-over par.
So it was a pretty amazing turn of events. And I'm pleased. I'm disappointed to have bogeyed the last hole and hit what I thought was a pretty good drive there too. And the just the wind didn't catch it much. And ended up with about a 10-footer for par and missed that. But to shoot 2-over putting the way I did early on, not a bad score. I was 4-over through 10, so that wasn't too bad.
KELLY ELBIN: Open it up for questions, please.

Q. Did you believe in miracles before the 17th hole and how about now?
JAY HAAS: Well, that was pretty miraculous shot. Yeah, I guess a little bit like a hole-in-one where you don't even, when you least expect it almost. You're just trying to hit a good shot and I could stay out there a long, long, long time again and never do that again. And maybe -- I could probably hit a hundred balls from that same spot and maybe get 15 of them on the green and make a birdie with two others or something. I mean it was just a freakish thing.

Q. I asked the same question of Jeff who was in here I was talking to him about the course setup and everyone has talked all week about how you have to keep it on the fairway. In your experience we're looking for some birdies and there's just not a lot of birdies. Is it the kind of golf, I know it's a great test of golf for you, from a spectator's point of view, do they get cheated maybe because you guys can't take the chance out of the rough and we're not getting the shots, those risk reward, let's try to make a birdie kind of plays. Do you think that takes away at all from the event?
JAY HAAS: You know, I guess I don't feel that. I've never thought that this week or in any course I've played that, to me if you make an 8-footer for a great par, that's the same. It's just a score is relative to the rest of the field.
I don't think that it's too hard. I guess the old school, the 50 somethings we all talk about how you got to drive the ball in the fairway and what happened to people having to drive the ball in the fairway. These young guys they just blast away and all that stuff.
Well, now it's kind of put up or shut up for us. You drive it in the fairway you have a chance. The course is not playing that long, if you put the ball in the fairway.
I guess that's a point. I know that's a point at Augusta they talk about they have kind of ruined the course because there's not as many birdies and all that. But the guys wearing the green jacket, they don't care what they shoot as long as they're the low score.
So I don't mean to disrespect the spectators or anything, but I don't know that they -- they're looking at the leaderboard and they see Bernhard make a nice putt on the last hole to lead after three rounds. And Jeff making some great putts. And I don't know. I don't think in those terms, I don't think.

Q. Jeff was up here, he mentioned your connection with the Harmons which we all know. Pretty good final three. I mean is it the way it's set up here, it just seems like it's kind of a perfect scenario with the three of you playing?
JAY HAAS: I'm thrilled to be one of those three. And like I said an hour ago, I was kind of iffy there it looked like Scott, Simpson, I think he played the last seven or eight holes 4-under par and all of a sudden he's in the mix.
So I was just, I wanted to get in the last group though. I wanted to, if at all possible, whether I was three, four, five behind, I wanted to do that.
I always enjoy playing with both those guys. Jeff's one of my best buddies out here. And I enjoy watching Bernhard compete. I think he's as gritty and as gutty as they come. And I couldn't ask for a better pairing on Sunday.

Q. You said you could see them miss their two footers on 17. Did that change the way you were approaching that hole?
JAY HAAS: No, not really. I guess I just thought, well, if I could somehow make a four here, this is just one more stroke closer to them. But, no, I had the shot, pictured it in my mind, I would like to say that it was just as how I drew it up, but I had that shot, I was just hoping they would get off the green because I was ready to go. I was just wanting them to leave there, because I had the vision of this shot.
And it did come off somewhat like I wanted it to, but again, I was just trying to get it around the green somewhere. But it didn't change it, no.

Q. Have there been any other more spectacular shots in your career that you can recall?
I've hit a lot of good shots. But nothing like that, I guess. Here in '95, I was three down with three to play against Phillip Walton in the Ryder Cup and I holed out a bunker for birdie to extend that to the 17th hole. And then won the 17th. And then we won't talk about 18. But I thought that was pretty spectacular at the time there.
So I have good memories at this place. I love coming here. We talked about the Harmons here and that connection, but I made a long putt at Houston one year that got me into a playoff on the last hole. But shots like that are few and far between.
KELLY ELBIN: Jay finished tied for fifth at the PGA Championship here in 2003. Questions?

Q. What club was it on 17?
JAY HAAS: 8-iron on 17.

Q. With what happened at 17 we can kind of lost track of what was going on the beginning of your round that put you behind the eight ball, can you kind of talk about that a little.
JAY HAAS: I really hit, I thought I played as well as I did on Thursday today. I drove the ball really well, except for number 10.
I 3-putted No. 2. I putted it up about two and a half feet and missed it.
4, I hit a beautiful 3-wood laying up. I had a perfect yardage and decided not to hit that club and hit one less club into the green there. I had a gap wedge, I should have hit a gap wedge, I hit a lob wedge. I came up about 20 feet short and I couldn't have been more than 18 inches there and I missed that.
I was pretty shell shocked after that.
Hit a beautiful iron at No. 6 to about six or seven feet and I missed that one.
Just missed the green at 7 and chipped to about 8 feet and I missed that.
8, I hit it in about 12 feet and I missed that.
9, I hit it 9-iron to about 12 feet and missed that one.
So the front nine I felt like I should have been under par and I was 3-over. And I just, I was kind of shell shocked, really.
And then hit a terrible drive at 10 way to the right and ended up with about a 6 or 7-footer for bogey. And I just couldn't believe that if I missed this I was going to be 5-over through 10 holes the way I played.
But somehow I made that one and made a pretty nice one into 11. And then coming in was good.

Q. When you made the turn, are you thinking you're still in this, are you thinking --
JAY HAAS: I did, yeah. Yeah. I have 27 holes left, I think anybody, just -- and I looked up and although this was later, but Scott, who was basically 10 behind, and now he's only four behind. So that happens so quickly. Now you don't expect guys to hole out of the fairway and three shot swing and all that, but it can happen.
Two-shot swing, a double bogeys are pretty easy to come by out there. So, yeah, I didn't think I was out of it. Especially the way I was hitting it. I think if I would have shot 3-over hitting four greens and making a couple 20 footers, then I would have been a little maybe a little more concerned.

Q. You said you were 5-over and looking at the board, you were thinking this might be a two man fight going into Sunday. Was there any thinking, no offense to them, but Oak Hill is not going to allow that?
JAY HAAS: Well, this is a tough course to finish on. I think. 15 is not an easy shot. It was somewhat easier today just because the wind wasn't quite as strong. It was maybe a club less than I guess the first day I hit a 5-iron. Yesterday six. Today seven.
But there's, you bail out to the left you're going to make a four, maybe a five for sure. Hit in the water you're going to make a four or five for sure.
16, you hit a good drive it's not a tough hole. But you still have to hit it in the fairway.
And then 17 and 18 are two of the hardest finishing holes anywhere around. So it's tough, it's a tough course to finish on. No matter who you are, what league you're playing in. It doesn't lend itself to a bunch of guys making birdies in coming in. That's for sure. 17's a converted par-5, I guess, so I made a double eagle then.

Q. By no means do I think you guys are thinking match play tomorrow in the last group, but how far back do you think realistically you would have to be concerned about the guys behind you?
JAY HAAS: Bernhard is two, I would say, I would say Mark shot 4-under yesterday, so somebody 8 over maybe shoots 4-under, 4-over might be a good number. I don't know. Depends on the weather. Supposed to be nice. But it's still hard. It's still difficult. It ain't easy when it's hard. Isn't that what they say?
KELLY ELBIN: Thank you, Jay Haas.
JAY HAAS: Thank you.

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