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August 5, 2011

Hunter Haas


THE MODERATOR: We'd like to Hunter Haas into the interview room here after a 5-under par 67. Great round out there today. Just get your comments.
HUNTER HAAS: Thanks. Well, I'm hitting the ball well and I'm driving the ball well. I'm building some confidence the last few weeks. I took a week off and played better than what I scored last week.
But brought that into this week. It's just a matter of getting my distances dialed in because it's kind of different. This morning was a little cooler than yesterday, and the ball was just going so far yesterday it was ridiculous.
But today's round, I think I missed one par-5 in two. I think I was on the fringe on 8. I was on the left fringe, and actually got -- basically putted from the fringe and birdied.
But the second hole I knocked it on; had an eagle putt.
13, hit a 6-iron on, had an eagle putt, and then I had an eagle putt on the last hole, 18.
So makes the round a little easier when you're hitting good approach shots from 270, 80, 300 yards, whatever it is the ball is going.
THE MODERATOR: Talk a little bit about your season up to this point. Recently finished tied for fourth at the Viking Classic. Talk about your year.
HUNTER HAAS: The year's gone pretty well. I'm still -- winning tournaments alluded me. That's my ultimate goal every week is to try to get myself in position to win.
Did that in Puerto Rico and Mississippi, and I guess I'm doing it here. So I've had a few other decent finishes, close to Top 10s, maybe a shot away at some other Top 10s.
Other than that, a pretty solid round. Nothing to really get on the highlights of ESPN, but just pretty solid.
THE MODERATOR: Okay. Questions.

Q. What has been working well for you? You had a good season on the Nationwide Tour last year; it's going well this year. What's working?
HUNTER HAAS: I'm just hitting the ball better and I'm believing in myself. You got to hit greens, you got to hit fairways. I'm driving the ball better than probably I ever have, and that's including last year.
Just I'm a more confident player in myself. I believe in myself. Just try to be more positive, and it turns out good things happen.
Statistically, I'm better in a lot more categories. Some might have regressed, but I've always been a pretty good putter. So the other stats pick up where they're lacking, you know, I should start having better finishes.
I think that's what happened. Last year I played well and got on a stretch, and I just didn't feel like I could do anything wrong. Just a matter of confidence and believing in yourself.

Q. You've had one round on each, morning, one in the afternoon now. How big of a difference - one shot, two shots - do you see between teeing off in the morning compared to the afternoon?
HUNTER HAAS: I'll be honest, we're playing on two different types of grasses on the putting surface. In the afternoon, the poana grass grows a little faster and you're dealing with it and it just -- it becomes more difficult with the heat and the wind. They start it dry out. It's more difficult to putt in the afternoon that's than it is in the morning.
With that being said, there were some pins yesterday afternoon that felt like they were really hard to get to. Today that might change because they're different pins. So I mean, depending on the wind, the afternoon round could be -- it could be slightly easier.
You don't know, it just depends on where the placements are. But I would say that the morning is definitely a little easier as far as the putting conditions are.
But the afternoon, we'll see what the wind does. Felt like it was blowing slightly up the hill, and this afternoon it's probably going to be blowing down the hill, if that makes sense.
I don't know why it does that, but it's something meteorological or something.

Q. That was the forecast.
HUNTER HAAS: Was it? Blow up, blow down. I saw the balloons lighting up this morning.

Q. So you must have felt pretty good about your round yesterday.
HUNTER HAAS: Well, yeah. I came off the course and, you know, I was 2-Under par and just kind of scraping around. I said if I'm in the top 20 -- well, I think I was about 18th when I finished. Then when I looked this morning - I didn't look last night to see what I was - and I was still 18.
You know, I guess I had to kind of pat myself on the back. It was a better round than I thought. So just got to keep playing the par-5s good.

Q. You had three birdies in a row, 7, 8, 9. Kind of a wild ride you had, and then that bogey on 12.
HUNTER HAAS: Yeah, I was just kind of...

Q. Then a couple more birdies, another bogey.
HUNTER HAAS: Right, right. Well, the two bogeys were -- I had pitching wedges in my hand. It wasn't like I was hitting it out of play. I had pitching wedges in my hand. One was out of the rough and one was out of the middle of the fairway.
Just a matter of trusting that distance. You're hitting a pitching wedge from 175 yards or something like that. You're used to hit it a pitching wedge 140. That's kind of hard to trust.

Q. So how much is your caddie involved in that? Did you guys come with a game plan?
HUNTER HAAS: He's doing all the math. I just said, Do the percentage, do the downhill, add a little wind, sprinkle some sugar on it, and just tell me what club.
It's a lot of guesswork, but we're trying to be as accurate as we can, and consistent. Like this morning we figured we would play 5%, and once it started warming up we would creep it up a little bit. I think a couple shots I hit where on both sides. It was a little too early and one was a little too late.
It's a guessing game sometimes, especially when you're trying to -- how about if we went from here to Pebble Beach. Guys wouldn't know what to do. You feel like your ball is a going nowhere.
But I've always been pretty good at adapting to altitude, so I've had some decent success in dealing with conditions that come up with these mountain courses.
THE MODERATOR: Anything else? Hunter, we appreciate it. Oh, one more.

Q. (Question regarding the 18th hole. )
HUNTER HAAS: Honestly, we're not even looking at the distances. It doesn't matter, because we know -- I know 18, if it's a little into the wind you can hit driver. Yesterday it was downwind and I hit 3-wood. Hit 3-wood, 4-iron just short.
Today I hit driver, and the wind kind of gusted in my face. I got down there and I was 315 yards from the middle of the green. But I hit a pretty good drive. Then I hit a hybrid from -- I adjusted, and it was 240 to the front. I mean, I knocked it on the green.

Q. (No microphone.)
HUNTER HAAS: Yeah, if you played this course every day you wouldn't even think. You would know the clubs, know what to do. Oh, it's downwind here. I can't hit driver here.
But not playing this course that much, the conditions change, it heats up, you're trying to pull out a round a little bit.
THE MODERATOR: All right. We appreciate your time. Keep it going this weekend.
HUNTER HAAS: Yep. Thank you.

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