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August 21, 2013

Bill Haas


JOHN BUSH:  We'd like to welcome Bill Haas into the interview room here at Barclays, No. 5 in the FedExCup standings.  His season has been highlighted by his win at AT&T National.
Bill, first of all, welcome back to the FedExCup Playoffs, if we can get your comments on being here.
BILL HAAS:  Yeah, really excited for these next four weeks.  Golf course is fantastic.  I think they did some tweaks on some holes.  I think a lot of the players are saying a lot of good things.  Won't have as much griping out there maybe and just go play golf.  Scoring will probably be decent at times but if we get a little breeze off the ocean, I think it will play pretty difficult.  It will be a great week.
JOHN BUSH:  Being back here at Liberty National, just talk about the conditions you saw out there today in the Pro‑Am.
BILL HAAS:  Today was perfect, not much wind at all, until the last couple holes it started blowing a little bit.  If you're in the early morning, I think you'll see some good scores, and then later in the day, it will play a little more difficult maybe with the breeze coming off the ocean there.
But the course is in exceptional condition, like we expect, and they did a great job keeping the rough down a little bit.  You'll see some good scores, but as the week goes on, I don't think it will be crazy low winning this golf tournament.

Q.  Can you talk a little about your game right now, and you've been incredibly consistent all year, and you know, just the Playoffs?
BILL HAAS:  Yeah, I think the game feels pretty good.  Putting is a little streaky.  Last week it wasn't like I would like it to be, but it still feels pretty good.  I'm expecting to make putts, so that's all you can ask for, and hopefully they go in.
I do think these greens, even though they have been tweaked a little bit, there's still a lot of undulations, and you can see a lot of funny breaks with the greens that haven't settled yet.  I do think you'll see some missed close putts this week, a lot of guys getting fooled.
But overall, my game feels pretty good, I'm confident after some decent weeks, and that's all you can ask for going into a tournament, teeing up on Thursday expecting to win.

Q.  Have the changes that they have made here from 2009, pretty noticeable?
BILL HAAS:  Well, I played the front nine yesterday, and I only thought they changed No. 8, and later somebody said, we changed 1,3,4 and named all the holes.  I guess they are all subtle enough to where it's not that noticeable, even to us, but I think they did a lot of the correct changes.  No.9, that green has certainly been softened a little bit.
But that's what they need, they were a little drastic at some places and maybe quieted down all the slopes and everything.  They looked a little more natural.

Q.  Which of your fellow golfers do you think has had the best year this year, and do golfers have a different mind‑set at this time of the season after the Majors are over than at the end of the season or maybe right before a big major.
BILL HAAS:  Tiger Woods, he's won five times, pretty easy answer there.
I don't think so.  We're playing for a lot here these next four weeks.  They are not a major‑‑ Majors are hyped up.  Over the years they have become a big deal and a status measure among us pros that, you know, he's won a major, he's next level.
I do think that's warranted.  I do think they are that much harder to win, but I also think the best players in the world playing these tournaments week‑in, week‑out, that's a big deal to win the Wyndham Championship last week, as well.
So we all know as players that these tournaments are the best field all year, the people that have played the best; so you're playing against the best competition, and you're playing fantastic golf courses for a big prize.
So if you're not hyped up for this, then you know, something's wrong I think.

Q.  As you enter the Playoffs, do you think back to 2011 and does that amp you up as you enter the first round?
BILL HAAS:  A little bit.  Certainly those are good thoughts back then.  I've tried my best this year.  Maybe my goal the next few weeks is to not fall back too much, Because it can happen; if I don't do well, I can get leapfrogged by some people, and the goal is to be as high as you can going into East Lake, and that's THE main goal is to get into East Lake and all that.
The year I won, I was 26th, and just happened to work out.  I don't want to be that far down and have to have that many good things have to go my way.  You would rather play your way into Atlanta, and you might as well be as high up as you can.

Q.  When I tell you you're only four wins away from being in the Top‑10 of active all‑time wins leaders on the PGA TOUR, is that surprising somewhat do you?
BILL HAAS:  A little bit, but then again, you say, only four wins.  I've played 260 golf tournaments and I've won five, so I have to play about 200 more to get to those next four, if I keep pace.
It's so hard to win out here.  I think it puts Phil and Tiger‑‑ I think Davis Love has won 20, Ernie Els has won a lot, Vijay Singh.  Those guys are on another level because of how many times they have won.  It's pretty amazing the level of competition nowadays.
You know, one win‑‑ I say that, and my dad and his time, winning out there, was just as difficulty guess.  So it just seems harder and harder to win because there's more and more guys that can win on a weekly basis.
But when you say that, you've got to think about those things to be positive, when things aren't going well, you have to say, hey, wait a second, you can win out here.  Stats like that are fun to look at and only positive motivation for the future.

Q.  As a follow‑up, does that put what Tiger has done to be on the precipice of 80 and to have a chance at getting 100, does that sort of make that number that much bigger to guys who are out here every day and are grinding out, and like you say, you played 270 events, and you've got five wins?
BILL HAAS:  Right, I think that doesn't‑‑ there's five wins this year, and his 80th win, those are not talked about enough.  His lack of winning a major is the only thing talked about, which I think is sad.  I think it's ignorant.  But that's what we are basing his year on; he may even say, oh, I'm disappointed because I didn't win a major.
But deep down, he knows that he played‑‑ and he's not winning‑‑ I'm not going to name any tournaments because I don't want taking anything away from them.  But he's not winning the smaller events, he's winning the WGCs and Bay Hill, (Arnold Palmer's) Invitational, and yes, it makes what he's doing that much more impressive, absolutely.
JOHN BUSH:  Best of luck this week, thank you, sir.

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