April 13, 2005
HILTON HEAD, SOUTH CAROLINA
TODD BUDNICK: We thank Jay and Bill Haas for stopping in with us today at the MCI Heritage, Jay's 29th visit here to the tournament; Bill's first. We thought it was interesting along with the Stadler's are the first father-son combo to play in this tournament.
Jay, we'll start with you and talk about how great this tournament has been for you. You've been here 29 years, met your wife here.
JAY HAAS: Yeah, obviously for me, this for me is my favorite tournament other than a major tournament, and I wouldn't be too sure that it wasn't my favorite tournament overall.
In 1977 I got an exemption here, my uncle Bob had won in '70 and was able to secure an exemption for me. I met my wife here, just a very fateful week for me. Now through the course of time we've got five children. This is Bill's first time playing the tournament, but he's probably been here another 12 or 15 years at different times, other than with spring break and things like that.
People ask me all the time did you ever dream of this happening, and I honestly say no because when I first started playing, there weren't guys in their 50s playing. There weren't many guys in their late 40s playing. It just didn't make sense financially. Not many of the guys were competitive at that age, so you just couldn't afford to stay out here.
Now with the Champions Tour, I just never would have believed that I would have been playing this long, much less have a son that warrants having an exemption in this tournament. But it's just unbelievable, a great week for me, love coming here at any time.
TODD BUDNICK: Before we jump over to Bill, talk a little bit about the season. You've got one Top 10 and you haven't missed a cut yet. Are you happy with the way the season is going?
JAY HAAS: Yes and no. I've played a lot of good rounds, haven't played as consistently well as I did the last couple years, but I'm close. I honestly haven't putted very well the last nine to 12 months, and I think that's bothered me a little bit scoring-wise obviously. That's been one of the keys to shooting low scores.
You know, I'm confident that I am playing well, hitting a lot of good shots, good enough to make cuts, but not good enough to contend week in and week out. So hopefully I can get things going this week. I'm disappointed with last week's event. I made the cut there but finished poorly, but this is, as I said, always a special week, and hopefully some magic can work here.
TODD BUDNICK: Bill, how about giving us an idea on your thoughts of your first appearance here, especially playing with your dad this week.
BILL HAAS: Yeah, it's a great week. I remember growing up I was always -- 12, 15 times I've probably been here. The fairways look a lot tighter from the tee box than they do from the ropes (laughter).
Yeah, I always said if this is what I want to do, I'll obviously want to play here. I've seen it a bunch, and I'm just happy to have that opportunity.
TODD BUDNICK: Give us an idea of your season so far on the Nationwide Tour. Are you happy with the way things are progressing for you?
BILL HAAS: No, I've struggled so far. I started off pretty hot on this tour when the Nationwide Tour wasn't going, but then I've only had -- I guess there's been four events, only one of them in the States. I would say I haven't had a chance to get in a rhythm or get a feel for how the year is going.
I think starting this week I'm in a good stretch on that tour and this tour, and hopefully I can go strong.
Q. Bill, you had an exemption here last year --
BILL HAAS: Two years ago, I think?
Q. How disappointing was that not to be able to play?
BILL HAAS: It was very disappointing, to feel like I've earned it. THE PLAYERS, they give an exemption for the winner of this tournament. But this week, Wake Forest, they have their ACC tournament, that was something I wanted to do, something I wanted to play in just as much as I wanted to play here, and I felt like I needed to honor the school and represent them, so I couldn't play.
Q. What events have y'all played in together?
JAY HAAS: I guess this is our tenth time maybe, so we played six together last year, played the U.S. Open, probably another five TOUR events other than that, the John Deere, Castle Pines, The International Tournament, we played San Diego, Bob Hope and Phoenix this year. I don't really remember what the other ones were.
BILL HAAS: Greensboro a couple times in college.
JAY HAAS: The Open we did last year, both made the cut.
BILL HAAS: San Diego, the Hope.
JAY HAAS: And Castle Pines last year. Did you get to Sunday last year?
BILL HAAS: Uh-huh.
JAY HAAS: Yeah, you did. Yeah, we've done that a few times.
Q. Does the whole family stay together?
JAY HAAS: You know, it's just tough with -- the kids are kind of everywhere now, we've got a couple still in school at home, so they're not here this week. They don't have spring break. But Bill and I are staying together this week. Last year at Castle Pines we all stayed together there. Two of them weren't there last year of our family, but when we can, we do, but generally it's just Bill and I.
Q. Who pays for the housing?
JAY HAAS: That's a dumb question (laughter). No, I'm just kidding. We were playing the last three holes yesterday for dinner, and we tied, so I bought (laughter). Tie goes to the winner over here. That's okay.
Q. At the events that you play together, how much do you find each other tracking each other's scores? Maybe at the end of the day do you look at the list?
JAY HAAS: I know I do. If Bill is playing the same time that I am, I'm certainly looking at the leaderboard, hopefully seeing his name flash up there. But once I'm overshot or focusing on a shot that I have to hit, I'm pretty good about putting that aside. I'm wondering and aware of what he's doing, and I think he probably is me, too, but I don't think it really affects our game in a bad way.
Q. Do you find yourself --
BILL HAAS: I do. I'm a scored board watcher, I think. I don't know if that's good or bad. It mainly is probably because I want to see my name and his name up there. And then after the round, we go through hole by hole. We used to do that all the time. I used to ask him how he did, and he'd go hole by hole, and I'd do that in college. I just liked doing that after the round and hearing about where he hit it and all that stuff.
Q. When you were Bill's age what traits did you have in common? Are there any of his strengths that you had just coming out of college?
JAY HAAS: You know, people didn't really talk about length 30 years ago like they do now I don't think. There were a few guys that were really long, but most of them were kind of wild. You just didn't hit the ball that far back in the late '70s, early '80s. You know, our games are not real similar I don't think. He's a much longer player. I was never long. I was middle-of-the-pack to short. He's always been one of the longer hitters, so in that regard, it's quite a bit different.
But I think both of us -- you know, I see him getting fired up and mad and things like that, and I try to tell him to calm down and all that, but at the same time it's exactly the way I was. I think our demeanors are quite similar, but our games don't really mirror each other.
You know, he has that passion and fire, desire that he wants to be there and can't believe it when it doesn't happen for him. I was the same way and still am, I think.
Q. What are some of the traits that Jay has now that you wish you could have, the 25-year gap between the two of you?
BILL HAAS: I don't have patience. He's definitely more patient than I am. I'm not seeing results right now that I want to see and that's frustrating. It seems like for him it's kind of always there.
I don't know, his ability is consistency -- he hasn't missed a cut this year. That's impressive. Something like that, consistency, patience, experience.
Q. Has he given you any advice about playing Harbour Town this week?
BILL HAAS: Yeah, a little bit. We played yesterday, 18 holes, and there was holes out there where he said this is this, this is that, but I think he lets me be, and I ask him for advice when I want it, but he gave his -- I want to hear it. Obviously this is his 29th year, I think, so there's more to know from that than just one year and seeing it a couple times?
JAY HAAS: It's hard to know when to butt in and when to keep my mouth shut. As a pro student, say, it's almost easier to instruct as a dad and son. When I was his age I didn't like to listen too much, and so I catch myself going overboard sometimes, some holes. You've got to watch out for here, this, that and the other. Most of the things that I've learned are self-taught. It's like don't touch that hot stove. Well, I've got to prove it to myself. Don't hit it down there because you're going to make a double, and until I do, then I don't -- it doesn't hit home that that's not where you're supposed to go.
So experience is -- you can't teach experience, and that's kind of what Bill is lacking now. It's just a matter of time.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about the field? None of the Big Four and I don't think there's anybody in the Top 10 here. Can you talk about how schedule-making has kind of evolved on TOUR and the mindset of playing the week after a major?
JAY HAAS: You know, scheduling, I guess I've never really thought about it a whole lot. I was on the board for a couple terms, and I know we talked about it all the time, but to me the schedule is kind of like the Rubik's Cube. If you switch a little bit around, now you've screwed up the other parts. How do you satisfy every single tournament? You just can't do it. I think this is a great time to play this event. I think over the course of time, this tournament has had outstanding fields, and even though it's not as top heavy this year as it normally is, somebody asked me who's the favorite this week, and I said, well, I couldn't come up with ten but I could come up with 100, say. There are so many guys capable of getting hot, and when one guy does play well, it's like, "yeah, he's a good player." It's not a surprise anymore.
Scheduling, you know, you look at Atlanta, a lot of the international players come there because they want to get ready for Augusta, and now they've played TPC, Atlanta, Augusta, and they want to take a little time off. Others don't play the week before Augusta, so they add this tournament to their schedule. For me scheduling is about the golf course and how I've played in past times, and I think most of the guys -- they don't look at the purse; they look at the golf course and maybe where it falls in the schedule.
Q. Talk a little bit about you and Bill. How about Jay, Junior? What's he doing now and this week?
JAY HAAS: I think he's home this week. He's going to try to qualify for the Hooters event next week, and he's played a tournament up at the Tarheel Tour around Charlotte, I guess there's a bunch of events, and tied for 3rd the week of Augusta. That was his best finish as a pro. He didn't win a lot of money, but he was there. He needs more experience than Bill needs. He's kind of just scratching the surface and more or less a novice at the game competition-wise, but a very good player and it's kind of up to him. He's got the ability, he doesn't have the real drive that I had say at his age or the vision that that's what I wanted to do. I don't know that he has decided yet that that's really what he wants to do. But he's a very good player, very talented player, and I think that Bill and I get frustrated with him because he is so talented that he should be out there just the same as us.
But you can't make him do it. But he's trying to play, and he could be very successful at it.
Q. You've played a lot with Tiger and watched him. What did you see this weekend, and where do you put that on the scale of his sort of return to being Tiger?
JAY HAAS: Well, I saw good and bad. I saw that -- some of his comments about how excited he is about he's playing better now and all this hard work is starting to pay off, and then I look at some of the other side of the coin and somebody said he was 49th out of 50 in driving accuracy, bogeyed the last two holes to get into the playoff. That's un-Tiger like. I think he would have won by two three or four years ago. He wouldn't have been close, there wouldn't have been a playoff. But at the same time, I don't think he could have hit a better 3-wood or better 8-iron to whatever he hit into the 18th hole in the playoff hole and hit a better putt. When the time came, he was the old Tiger.
So I see good and bad.
Now, would he have been there had it been the U.S. Open being 49th out of 50th in driving accuracy, he's still unbelievable. If he's driving it as poorly as everyone says he is and still winning majors and winning golf tournaments, that's pretty unbelievable. I don't think he's back totally to where he wants to be, but I think that's just a testament to how great he is to be able to win a tournament like that.
Q. I was wondering what you both think about professional golf being the only sport that really takes calls from the outside that could affect the outcome of an event and whether the two generations see it differently.
BILL HAAS: To be opinionated -- I guess that's what you want -- I disagree. I think if the player doesn't catch it and the playing partner doesn't catch it and after the round is over with, I don't think it should be able to be changed. Then again, you see the other side of the coin, if it's physical evidence, you see it on tape there and he did something illegal. I guess if a guy does something illegal and knows it, then he shouldn't get away with it.
JAY HAAS: It's a hard call. I mean, there's so many things that -- so many rules that really don't matter in golf. If you're hitting it from there to there and there's no tree in the way or anything like that, did that really affect the outcome of the shot? But if the ball moves a tenth of an inch or ten feet, it still moved. Now, if you've taken an illegal drop but you don't know -- what Bill is talking about, if you took an illegal drop but don't know you took an illegal drop, you kind of blanked out or there wasn't an official around and two days later you get DQ'd, I don't necessarily agree with that because I think you can just as simply add two strokes to the score. You didn't know you signed for a wrong score. It would be one thing if you knew you had 74 instead of 72 and then signed the card, but you didn't know.
And then if it happens on Sunday and they find out Monday, then it's no big deal. So there should be a consistency level there. But there are so many dumb rules, I think, that need to be addressed. Golf is about integrity. You don't tee it up in the rough because you don't tee it up in the rough, that's the rule.
So certain rules they say were in place so you don't break the rules. Well, we don't break the rules, so why are they there? It's kind of a Catch 22. It doesn't make a lot of sense to me sometimes.
Q. You've been coming to Harbour Town for some many years, probably since before you can remember. What does it mean to play with your father in this particular event?
BILL HAAS: It's great. We used to come here -- there were many years where we didn't go to the golf course. We weren't here to go to the golf course; we were here to ride bikes, go to the beach, down to the harbor there, the lighthouse and all that stuff. It was always during spring break in high school, so this was just a week for me to go have fun and for me now to do it as my job, and the reason we came for his job is pretty neat.
Yeah, at the beginning of the year, if I could get in here or play here and they'd have me, then I would definitely love to play. It's great.
Q. Did you ever do anything during those days when you weren't coming to the golf course that you didn't want your dad to know about?
BILL HAAS: I don't think so because I was probably with my mom, so I didn't do anything crazy?
JAY HAAS: That happened in college, those things that we're not going to talk about.
TODD BUDNICK: Jay and Bill, thank you very much.
End of FastScripts.