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January 28, 2011

Bill Haas


JOHN BUSH: We'd like to welcome Bill Haas into the interview room here at the Farmers Insurance Open. Bill, another nice round today, eight birdies on the card. Just talk a little bit about your day, if you can.
BILL HAAS: Yeah, got off to kind of a tough start, bogeying on 11, my second hole. But, honestly, I hit a nice shot there, just pulled it a little bit, and it went past the hole, and you really don't have much of a chip from there.
But then birdieing 12, probably one of the hardest holes out here kind of righted the ship. Birdied the next hole, birdied 13 and then hit a nice shot on 14 and made birdie there. So all of a sudden I was 2-under.
I think any time you're playing the South, if you get off to a good start and get a couple under, it makes you feel a little better about the place.

Q. You have a solid record here, but nothing really spectacular. Talk about the past tournaments here and what are your expectations when you come to Torrey Pines as far as how this place suits you or should suit you?
BILL HAAS: Yeah, I think of it like you're saying. I've come here most years and made cuts and actually been in the top half of that making the cut in the top 30, maybe even close to the Top 10 going into Sundays. And I feel like I haven't had great Sundays.
Obviously, I put myself in that position again to have a nice 36 on the weekend could turn this into a great week. So I feel good about it. I feel good about my game. Played really well the first couple of tournaments.
I don't know. I think no matter what happens this weekend, I just want to play solid golf. If I go out and shoot a pair of 75s, I'll be disappointed. But if I go out and just shoot, even if somebody catches and beats me, just if I can go out and shoot decent rounds, I'll be happy with that.

Q. The two wins last year, what clicked?
BILL HAAS: I don't know. The Bob Hope one just really kind of shocked me a little. I think I can do it each and every week, but I really didn't play well the first week last year. And then all of a sudden, Bam, I shot 30 under that week.
Then didn't have a great summer, but an okay one. An okay playoff run. Just missed out at the top 30, and for some reason that kind of fired me up a little bit. I really felt like I played better than that last year. Since then I've really actually played better golf. More solid golf since then than I did the beginning of last year.
So I've got to give the Viking Classic win more of a confidence booster than maybe even the Bob Hope.

Q. Over the last year, how have your expectations changed for yourself? Obviously, it seems like now I would imagine you come in expecting to contend every week. Is that the case?
BILL HAAS: Yeah, I think so. But I think honestly I did that my first few years on TOUR. Just like you say, the results help that. When you start contending, you start believing you belong there.
But I think everybody out here, most everybody, believes if they play well, they can win. And I definitely believe that.

Q. Last week I pretty much watched every shot you hit on Saturday, shot a 62. Again, today you really haven't missed that many shots in the last week. Are you surprised you're off to such a fast start this year?
BILL HAAS: A little bit. I didn't play a whole lot in the off-season just because South Carolina and North Carolina, that area we just get -- we had a bad winter. But for me, I think sometimes it's good to get away from the clubs a little bit. Got into the gym a little. For me getting into the gym is maybe not the same as Tiger getting to the gym. But felt like I was doing a lot in that respect.
I don't know. It's a great way to start. If you can start in Kapalua every year, that's an easy way to start the year. Definitely maybe didn't expect this, but I'm happy with it.

Q. We talked to you after you finished the Hope on Sunday, and you handled things so well. I know you look calm on the outside. Tell us about the feeling on the inside and the aftermath of making such a charge on Saturday and Sunday and then really not doing your best at the end?

Q. What are those hours like in the aftermath?
BILL HAAS: Yeah, the car ride back to the house from the course was definitely not as calm as the interviews I was giving afterwards. But it was just as numbers look, I three-putted basically to lose the last hole.
Now before that, I didn't know Jhonattan was going to bogey the last hole, I didn't know Gary Woodland was going to bogey 17. So it looked like I had lost -- or it looked like I had not made a birdie as opposed to lost, I guess, if that makes sense.
I was doing interviews after I finished from people saying well, you came close, great try. Then all of a sudden I was in a playoff. So mentally I don't think I was -- I don't know if psychologists would say mentally I don't know if I was as sharp as I should have been because I was believing that I had lost and sure enough I did.
But I don't blame that. I still got to go out. I felt comfortable in the playoff, just didn't hit a great drive and from there you can't do much.

Q. It looks like it's really hard to hit fairways on that North course now. Having played both courses now, would you say it's easier to hit the fairways on the South, or is it still considerably harder on the South?
BILL HAAS: No, I think it's easier to hit fairways on the South. I agree. They grew the rough in pretty good on the North and made it longer. So maybe now you're hitting drivers that are instead of maybe a 3-wood off a couple tees over there. But that second shot on the South are still much harder than the second shots on the North I would say.
So if you do happen to drive it well on the North, you can still get it, because I don't think it's as demanding on the second shots. You can make double on the South pretty quick with an errant iron shot.

Q. When you first came out a few years ago, it looked like you really had a lot of desire to win. Is that something that you've kind had to figure out how to dial it back a little bit and find your happy place to play well out here?
BILL HAAS: Yeah, if that's your way of saying I had a bad attitude, I don't know (smiling). I think I handle myself a little more maturely maybe sometimes. You definitely want it so bad or you don't want to do poorly so bad that you get upset with yourself out there.
I still, deep down, you don't like hitting bad shots. They still bother me. I think you've just got to know when you don't have your best stuff, it's so close to being your best stuff. You're so close to it turning around, and you just never know when it's going to happen.
Right now I'm fortunate that it's all kind of clicking. But it goes the same way. In another month from now it might not be clicking like it is now and you've got to be able to deal with those. I think I do that a little better now.

Q. The PGA TOUR is promoting the 20-somethings on TOUR this year, the marketing machine. And you're in your 20s, you've won twice. You've almost won a third time last week and you still seem to be flying a little bit under the radar. Your feelings about that? Do you feel like you should be getting more publicity or are you comfortable with where you stand in all of this?
BILL HAAS: I think I'm definitely comfortable with where I stand. I think the players that are getting the publicity do back it up. I think Rickie Fowler who maybe hasn't won, but he shows that he can win. He's that good, and I'm happy with that. He handles that well. He wears the bright orange on Sunday, and wears the flat bill hat. It works for him.
I'm 28, but bald. I don't look 20-something. I can't really pull off that look, so I'm happy with the regular slacks and solid colored shirts and flying under the radar as you say. Just trying to let my clubs do a little more talking than they've done in the past.

Q. Let's go through the card. The bogey on number 11?
BILL HAAS: Yeah, 5-iron. I was in between 5 and 6-iron, but didn't think a 6 would get there, and sure enough the 5 flew at least pin high. I was behind that hole, couldn't get up and down. Could have, had eight feet for par, but that was about as good as I could do, and I missed that.

Q. And three in a row starting on 12.
BILL HAAS: The three in a row, hit a nice 6-iron into 12 about 15 feet and made it. 13, hit 4-iron and a nice drive on a 4-iron that went just over the green. An easy little pitch that got that up-and-down.
Then 14, a perfect 3-wood and a 9-iron in there, landed about a foot from the hole, and it was six feet behind the hole and made birdie. So those were relatively simple.
18, I hit a good drive and then a bad lay-up into the rough. Got lucky. I had a decent lie and was able to get on there about 20 feet and made a 20-footer down the hill, so that was a lucky break there.
Then drove it in the left bunker at 1, and then hit a 7-iron out of there about four feet. Hit a great shot there. 2, hit iron off the tee, and hit a 9-iron in there about three feet. Nice shot there.
Then 3 was a 7-iron, and hit it right at it, and it was about eight feet under the hole there and made that one. So all those little holes there, those were all kind of you could miss them, but they weren't 25-footers.
JOHN BUSH: Okay, number 6?
BILL HAAS: 6 was another nice putt. A par-5, but got a lucky one. Hit a drive in the right rough, and chipped that by about ten feet onto the fringe, and made it from the fringe there.
JOHN BUSH: And the bogey on number 8.
BILL HAAS: Bogey on 8, I was in between clubs, hit a hard 8-iron, and I left it out to the right. I came back into the bunker. I actually hit a great bunker shot there up to three and a half feet and hit a decent putt but just missed it left.

Q. With all the success you've had over the last year or so, do you feel like you're being recognized more now as Bill Haas the golfer, as opposed to Bill Haas, Jay Haas' son, kind of creating your own identity a little?
BILL HAAS: Maybe a little. The more I play, and the more he's playing on Champions Tour, and the more I'm playing out here, then I'm going to have more of an identity out here. But I honestly I can say I hope they call me Jay Haas' son the rest of my career. That's fine with me.
He had a heck of a career out here. I told people if I could have half the career he had, it would be an unbelievable one.

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