An interview with: Bill Haas

MARK STEVENS: I’d like to welcome Bill Haas.  Bill, you just got done playing the Pro-Am.  If you want to talk about the course.

This is your 7th start here.  Hard to believe.  If you want to talk a little bit about the course and then we’ll have a few questions.

BILL HAAS:  The course is in probably the best shape I’ve seen it.  The rough is up, it is pretty thick and so you drive it in the rough it’s go to be hard to make pars.

But the greens are nice, they’re not that fast, just because of the heat.  There will be a lot of birdies like you’ve seen every year but the course itself, it can’t be in any better shape than it is.

MARK STEVENS:  Also you’re 15th in the FedExCup Points.  Obviously The Playoffs start next week.  Talk a little bit about your goals going into next week and obviously the more points is always the better.

BILL HAAS:  Absolutely.  This is — I just decided to play this week, this is a good opportunity to do that, to put yourself in a better position in the FedExCup race and it’s turned out to be an unbelievable field with some of these guys that have committed late, and just being close to home is a place that I always say that I probably go to no matter what.  We’ll see.  I like where I stand now but it would be nice to be lower.


Q.  Bill, kind of sticking right with that, a lot of people are saying you and Webb might be two of the guys to beat this week being that you’re both Wake Forest guys.

Can you talk a little a bit about the Demon Deacon connection and what would it mean to you to win here basically somewhat in your home town here.

BILL HAAS:  Yeah.  I mean it’s a home game for you and I’ve never lived near Greensboro.  I’ve always lived in Greenville, South Carolina which is three hours down the road; just with Winston being 30 minutes up the road and we never came here when we were in college and played or anything but you just get a lot of “Go Deacons” out there in the fans and I like to go up to the campus at least once while I’m here and just ride through campus and feel like I’m younger and enjoy that.  I don’t know.  It was the best time of my life without question.


Q.  Better than now?

BILL HAAS:  Absolutely.  I would trade everything I’ve done on Tour to go back to college for four more years (laughter).


Q.  Bill, you mentioned the quality of the field.

Were you surprised by that when you saw it kind of unfold?  What did you think?

BILL HAAS:  Not at all.  I think players have heard a lot of good things about this course.  You know, people see red numbers and think oh, it’s easy and all that.  That’s not really the case.

There’s a lot of good scores if you play well.  There’s plenty of guys not shooting great scores, it’s just — it’s in perfect condition.  The greens are attackable, pins are attackable zoo if you play well you do score well but it’s a fun event.  This year I think it just happens where there’s a few big names that are fighting for better position on the FedExCup and I think that’s a testament to what they feel about the FedExCup, trying to dash they don’t just say I’ll get it next year.  They really want to be in these tournaments and — not just be in them but they want to be higher up, the higher the better.

I think hopefully the people of Greensboro, Mark Brazil hopefully he levers seeing that his turn all of a sudden becomes pretty important on a bigger scale than maybe people thought.


Q.  Staying with what you said about the scoring, would you rather play a course like that where you can go low or something more difficult?

BILL HAAS:  I don’t know that it matters.  I mean everybody — whether it’s easier or harder, it’s easier for everybody and another one might be harder for everybody.

I guess you have a mindset of birdies, birdies, birdies or whatever but on a harder course you have the mindset of pars.  So it’s a mindset thing.  I think you change it.

It’s pretty easy to flip that switch on the first tee Thursday just because it’s just what you have to do.  The guys out here are good enough to be able to do that.

Atlanta Athletic Club there’s so many penalties for errant shot that you just — you have to play safe a lot and out here it’s just — it’s more right in front of you, it’s old school, there’s not rock walls built around greens because that’s not natural.  This is a natural, beautiful course.

I think just fans like it because it’s pleasing to the eye as opposed to — I’m not knocking the Atlanta Athletic Club.  It’s very hand-made, bulldozer built.  But it’s a great course.  It’s just different.


Q.  Bill, you are just one of a few guys that have made the cut in all four Majors.  Is that where you kind of see things going here, kind of the next step in your career, maybe contending more in Majors?

BILL HAAS:  I think so.  You want to first get in them.  This is the first year I played in all four so that was obviously a goal of mine was when you tee it up to make the cut and play all four rounds in them.

But I saw that stat but I was also 9th out of those 11 in total score, like in my added up scoring.  That’s not that good.  Nobody wants — nobody is talking about that, thankfully, but I want to keep doing what I was doing this year but maybe trying to be more consistent, more competitive.

I was close this past week but never really was knocking on the winner’s door, you know, so — you got to play in them, I guess, Keegan Bradley doesn’t need to play in them.  He’s fine with winning the first one he ever plays in.

But it’s just nice to be there on Sunday and have those feelings no matter where your in the field of, all right, I one day I might have this putt on the 72nd hole to win.

I actually thought about that last week.  I had about a 5-footer, maybe four feet to finish under par for the tournament.  For some reason that meant something to me and I got nerves over that putt and if I have this putt to win I’m going to be a lot more nervous.  Let’s use this to try to gain experience and maybe I can rely on it one day.

You have those thoughts in certain tournaments, that may help you down the road.


Q.  Bill, the FedExCup is still a relatively knew phenomenon.  How much does it change the mind set of players and how much do you guys think about that during the year?

BILL HAAS:  I don’t think you think about it tournament to tournament maybe but it obviously is playing a role in fields of tournaments and this is a perfect example this week of the field changed on the Friday before.  I know that happens every week but this week much more than normal and I think it’s great to see.

It shows the competitive nature of all the players out here.  Everybody wants to play in these Playoff events and give theirself a shot because anything can happen.  It’s been proven every year that The Barclays, becomes — almost becomes one of the most important tournaments of the year.

If you Top-5 in that, you’re almost guaranteed through East Lake which is kind of hard to believe for a guy that barely makes it but a guy that’s barely made it every year has made it to the Tour Championship, I’m pretty sure.

But that’s what The Playoffs, that’s what that means, play well at the right time and even though maybe you didn’t play great all year you’ve earned it to be in The Playoffs and you’ve played well then.

It definitely makes for excitement for the players.  I don’t even know if the fans gets to — I don’t know if they appreciate it yet.  Maybe one day they’ll start seeing it and something like that will happen to maybe a great player or to a big name — they’re all great players — but to a big name and they’ll realize how much it can affect.

MARK STEVENS:  Just a couple more.  Okay.  Thanks a lot Bill, good luck this week.



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