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January 29, 2011

Bill Haas


THE MODERATOR: Bill, thank you for joining us for a few minutes. You're right where you want to be as we head into the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open tomorrow. Just a few comments on the day in general, and we'll open it up and take a few questions.
BILL HAAS: Yeah, today I played okay. Obviously wasn't a 66 like the day before. But three-putted 3, with not a great iron shot, and I hit some good drives on the next few holes, but it just trickled into the rough and wasn't able to get many shots close.
Then I hung in there and birdied 9 and 10 to get it to 1-under for the day, then just kind of hung in there the rest of the day. Got to 2-under and disappointed with the 6 at the last. But, like you said, in a decent position for tomorrow.

Q. Obviously an exciting and crowd favorite pairing with you guys tomorrow. Have you played much with Phil in the past?
BILL HAAS: I've played maybe three or four times with Phil and looking forward to it. Obviously, he lives here, and everybody loves him. I can see he's the group in front, so we've got a little taste of that today. It's just another challenge that I'm looking forward to, that if I keep playing well, I'm going to get to play with him a lot more hopefully. So tomorrow will be fun.

Q. In terms of what you shot and where your name was all day on the leaderboard, did that teach you anything going into tomorrow some?
BILL HAAS: Yeah, obviously, I hung in there, I guess that's what you're saying. I saw my name up there most of the day and was able to hang in there and hold the lead for some of the of back nine there. I hit a lot of quality shots on the back nine. Even like 16 there, I hit a 4-iron that was right at it, and came up short. But I hit it nice.
Hopefully, tomorrow, if things aren't going right, you've got to be patient. I can tell myself that I did it yesterday, I can do it today. Just tell myself I've been striking it nice and keep going.

Q. Are you just more used to being in these situations now?
BILL HAAS: I don't know. I mean, maybe a little. I think that's the goal is to one day be on Sunday in the lead group and not have any kind of jitters or butterflies or anxiety at all. But then again, the reason you have all that is because you're playing well and you're in the last group and those are good things.
I think everybody has them a little bit. I don't know. But maybe a little more comfortable, but I haven't been there as often as a lot of these guys. Tomorrow is just another stepping stone. I'm just trying to improve.

Q. When you play guys like Bubba, especially Bubba and Phil, who hit a lot of spectacular kind of shots, does it change from your game plan? Do you feel that you on -- if they start doing stuff like that, you feel like okay, I've got to press it a little bit. I've got to do something or got to hit it close, or do you feel like you can stay within yourself?
BILL HAAS: Yeah, I think I'll stay within myself. I mean, I'm like you guys or the fan that I enjoy watching those shots too. I remember watching Phil today, I was on the tee. And on 15, he seemed to really hit a big carve in something in there about 10 feet, I don't know.
But it was a shot that I don't have, or if I didn't have it, I wouldn't try it (smiling). It's easier for him left-handed to kind of hook it in there. I tried to hit my 7-iron up there in the middle of the green and go from there. Yeah, and Bubba's the same way. They both hit extraordinary golf shots.

Q. I was wondering how old you were when you first met Phil and whether you met him with your dad when you were a teenager or something like that? Whether his legend sort of impressed you at that age?
BILL HAAS: I don't know exactly when I met him. I feel like I played the Open when I was maybe a sophomore in college, so I was 20. That is probably the first time I remember meeting him. Because if I ever came out to watch my dad, I went to the range to watch him, I went to the course to watch my dad play. I wasn't running around in the family dining or anything.
So I was older, but at that age I was definitely old enough to respect how good he is and what he's done I still don't know if I quite see myself -- I'm on the TOUR, but he's got 50, or 40-something wins, so that's another level.
All these guys, Tiger and these guys are on another level than us young guys. But we're young, we're building up and trying to catch guys like hem.

Q. Once you hit a wedge on 18, and I guess you figured if you're going to hit it to the green and it just kept going?
BILL HAAS: Yeah, I actually hit a pretty good shot there. I don't know, the wind kind of got behind me a little bit. I actually thought I had a perfect number. I laid up to that number on purpose. I felt like I did everything right on that hole and made 6. So I'm hoping I got that one out of the way and tomorrow it won't happen.

Q. I'm sure you heard the roar of Phil's birdie at 16. You saw the shot in there, and you seemed to make your putt just 30 seconds later, if it was realtime on TV. Was it kind of exciting to kind of top him quickly?
BILL HAAS: Honestly, I did notice -- I remember looking at the board after I putted and they had already changed my score and I had a one-shot lead. And I was like Phil must have birdied 16, so I did not hear the roar. Or maybe I did, but it could have been anybody. It could have been Bubba or not.
But, yeah, it was nice to know that just to make a putt. I felt like I hit a lot of nice putts today that just hit the edges and that one went in for me.

Q. You played a sensational round last week in the desert, final round. What's it going to take to have such a round to recall?
BILL HAAS: Yeah, playing in the desert and playing Torrey are a little different. But 66, I don't want to say will win, but that will give me a really good chance. But there are a lot of pins on this course that you just can't hardly get to. And so tomorrow a couple under will be a really good score, I think. We'll see.
Yeah, you've got to play solid and you've got to hit fairways in order to hit greens. Then you've got to hit good iron shots in order not to short shot yourself. We'll see.
It will be a different round than Sunday at Bob Hope, but it will still take more of the same, good ball striking.

Q. Is there anything that you can put your finger on and what's brought you to where you are now compared to a year ago?
BILL HAAS: I don't know. I don't feel a whole lot different. Physically I feel about the same and mentally I feel about the same. I've still got the same stuff going on out there in my head.
I just had a nice finish to the end of the year last year, which was really nice. I was able to rest on that in the off-season. Then you start in Kapalua and there are only 30 guys, and you play decent there much then you go to a place where you won last year, and you feel really comfortable there. So it's been a nice run for me tournament-wise.
I'm not a huge fan, and I don't play well at PGA national, and if I go play West Palm for the Honda Classic, I don't know if I'll feel as comfortable as I've felt in the last few tournaments. But the key is to get to that level where it doesn't matter the course, you still feel comfortable with your game.

Q. You're not going to West Palm?
BILL HAAS: I don't know. I don't think I'm committed yet.

Q. Phil said that one of the keys for him this week has been managing risks. That he's been dialing back his game. The course is obviously playing long and fast and hard. Do you feel the same way?
BILL HAAS: Sure. I mean, there's a lot of pins like he's saying that you can risk it, and hit a great shot, but you may bogey instantly if you don't pull it off. The course is playing different than I've played it. It was only my sixth one, maybe.
But the fairways are really running fast, but then there is rough that is really thick. So the balls are running to the rough. Now if you're in the rough, you can't really hit the green because they're firm and fast, faster than they've ever been or firmer.

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