What they said: Jay Haas

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May 07, 2011
PGA TOUR staff

MORE INTERVIEWS: Regions Tradition transcript archive

MODERATOR: Well, Jay, 4-under 68 today, 205, 11-under. Right back, a lot of changes today, just one back going into tomorrow. Maybe just talk a little bit about your day.

JAY HAAS: I played very well again, hit a lot of fairways, lot of greens. Maybe left a few out there, but also made a couple nice putts, too. Very encouraged with the way I'm striking the ball. I think out here you have to play well, you have to hit the ball well to score. That sounds pretty obvious, but at the same time there are certain courses that maybe you don't have to be quite as sharp and you can still get away with a few things, but out here you can't, especially coming into the green, a lot of undulations, a lot of little drop-offs, bunkered very well. So if your irons aren't sharp, you're going to struggle. If I'm not driving it in the fairway, my irons aren't going to be good, so I've managed to do that quite a bit and that's been leading to some good scores. I've had a lot of opportunities, so I need to do more of that tomorrow.

MODERATOR: Were you able to follow what was happening on the scoreboards today with everything??

JAY HAAS: You know, it's funny. When I was walking off number 11, I didn't birdie 11, I was 9-under at the time and I think Calc was maybe 15 going in there, and I thought they clapped like he knocked it on the green. So I don't know if he three-putted there or made birdie there and then made a couple big numbers or something. I just assumed that he was 15 or 16 and I was just trying to get 10, 11, 12, something like that, to have some type of chance tomorrow, and then I birdied 13 and 14 and I looked up and I was only, I don't know, two back, three back, something like that, then parred in, and I guess he made another bogey or two coming in. So pretty fortunate for all of us for him to have backed up like that, gives us some bit of hope.

MODERATOR: Birdies starting at number 2??

JAY HAAS: 2, I hit a really nice shot, a wedge into about eight feet, made the putt. 3, I was right in front of the green in two and pitched it to about three feet and made that. Then I bogeyed 7 -- no, 8. I kind of misclubbed there. I hit too much club and pushed it just a little bit. It went over a hill. There's no -- it's kind of a hard pan and it just got running, went all the way down in pine straw and I didn't get that up and down. I was lucky to get it on the green actually.

MODERATOR: What did you hit??

JAY HAAS: I hit a 6-iron. But then hit a beautiful 8-iron on number 9 to about six or seven feet and made that. The pin was on that little shelf on the left side there and I don't know what made me go at it but I did and hit a good shot, so that was a nice payoff there. Then I hit a beautiful 7-iron at number 13 to about 10 feet and made that. Then the next hole, good drive and a gap wedge to about three feet and made that one. And that was -- but had some nice chances, didn't miss many greens today but, you know, hit some good putts that didn't go in, but again, I'm encouraged to have those chances. I haven't been doing a lot of that, so it's a nice feeling to look up and see the ball going in the fairway and on the green.

Q. Jay, you mentioned on TV that maybe a bit of a reason you've not been up to your old standards in the last year, the driver, having trouble finding a driver that really fit. Could you talk a little bit about that??

JAY HAAS: That might have been part of it. My driver broke a couple years ago, a certain model that I used, a Titleist driver, and the face cracked. I re-headed it and had different ones. It was kind of like an old friend, it just went away and it didn't come back. Then I just -- I just was struggling with shafts and feeling comfortable with drivers, but to be honest, nothing was very good last year from tee to green. I played really well at the end of '09 and won at The Players Championship and that was probably some of the best golf I've played.

But then all of last year I was just not very good. I didn't drive the ball well. I can't really use the driver as an excuse, or not finding a driver, because the one I have now, I'm usually -- I raise my hand when it's my blame, you know. I don't look, well, it's the driver, it's the irons, it's the ball, you know. To me, if you played well, if I played well with a club or clubs in the past, then it's just my swing, I need to work on my swing a little bit better. We look for excuses sometimes, but they're usually -- look right here.

Q. You know, you're in your mid 50s, the old wall that was there before, it's sort of been passed by some guys, but did you feel last year that maybe, you know, it would be more than a one-year, you know, slump??

JAY HAAS: I guess I felt like I'm aware, you know, 57 now and I'm aware that guys -- you know, the statistics show that guys don't win as much as they get into their late 50s and on, but I really just didn't feel like I played well. If I felt that that was the best I had, then I would be kind of discouraged and it is the end, but I felt like -- I still feel like I'm not playing my best golf and finishing 25th in the tournament.

Am I going to win 10 times again? No, I don't think so, but I would like to have some more chances and I think that I'm capable of getting into position and I'm showing that this week. But I don't know. I feel pretty good. I feel maybe not like I'm 37, but I don't feel like I can't do it anymore. I just don't feel like I've played my best golf in the last year. 74 and 3 and 5, if that's the best I can do, then I'll say see ya later, but I think I can do better than that still.

Q. I'm just wondering what kind of conversation you'll have with your son tonight. You guys are both in contention.

JAY HAAS: Yeah, we talked last night. He talked about how good he played. You know, I don't really have a lot of advice for him. I usually just say, you know how to play, you've been there, you've done this, love it, you know, this is -- you want to get into positions to win, that's what you work for, just positive things. He's obviously playing very well. Hopefully he can finish off well today and have a chance. I know he's four back right now, but a couple birdies coming in and he can still have a chance and then you go out tomorrow and post a good score. It's a tough course to finish on when you've got a lead, I might say something like that. But yeah, we talk. Usually it's just kind of positive things, how did you hit it, what did you do there, great shot on 12 or whatever. Just keeping pumped up because I know you can't say, well, get your mind off of it because you can't keep your mind off of it. When you're playing well and in the hunt, you're thinking about it. You wake up in the morning, you're thinking about it, at least I am and I think he is, too. I think most people are thinking about what they need to do and what they would like to do and things like that, but I usually just tell him to love this position. If he was in 50th or missed the cut, he wouldn't be nervous at all, but enjoy being nervous.

Q. This has happened once and twice, the Duvalls and maybe the Stocktons, father and son winning on the PGA TOUR. How cool would that be??

JAY HAAS: That would be very cool, that would be unbelievable. If I could choose, I would choose him to win, but you know, I'm going to go out and give it my best and both of us need to shoot a very good score for it to happen, but at least we have somewhat of an opportunity to do it.

Q. One more. You mentioned earlier about seeing Calc, watching the scoreboard a little bit?

JAY HAAS: Right.

Q. When a guy's doing that, do you have to kind of guard against trying to do too much, try to stay within yourself??

JAY HAAS: Yeah, I think definitely, and that was kind of what I thought. Here we still have, you know, 20-some holes to go at that stage and just don't get too excited, just try to put some pressure on him. But, you know, golf's not the kind of game where you can go into a full court press and throw the ball on every play. It just doesn't work. You can have those great game plans in your head, but if you go out and you just don't pull off the shots, then -- you know, there was a chance on number -- well, number 11, for example, I could have maybe gotten a 3-wood to the green there over water, but it just didn't feel like it was a great opportunity for me. I thought I could get a 10- footer or less birdie and I kind of did, 10- or 12-footer, I guess. I didn't make the putt, but yeah, I have to definitely guard against thinking that I've got to make it up right now. There's a little bit of a ways to go and somehow put some pressure on him, but he did us all a favor by coming back a little bit.

Q. Jay, one last one. I would like to get your impressions. Obviously first year here for this event. You do have parallels; you have the Senior Open, the Senior PGA.

JAY HAAS: Right.

Q. Could you see this developing here, if it continues to improve here, into a true Senior Masters??

JAY HAAS: I sure hope so. I'll tell you, from what I've seen -- I didn't play at Desert Mountain I guess is where it started maybe, but I did play in Oregon. Beautiful places and everything, but it just -- it didn't have the same feel, to be honest with you. You know, as soon as we came in the door this week, it felt like we were back at the PGA in 1990. Volunteers everywhere, signing the scroll. We did all that stuff before, but I'm telling you, it feels different here. The crowds are great, the weather's been great. The guys know the golf course and they know there's been a major on it so I think that has a little bit of our mindset in the fact that it's hosted a major tournament before on the PGA TOUR so I think that lends a lot of credence to it. But I think to a man we're all excited to be here and hopefully this is long-term, and yeah, this would be something that the Tradition would have a tradition of coming to Birmingham every year.

Q. How happy are you that there's not four-inch Bermuda --

JAY HAAS: The two times I played, I think I made the cut in '84, but I know I didn't in '90; I shot 190, I think, and chipped out on every hole it seemed like. I drove it in the rough on every hole. I kind of came here with the shakes almost. Thankfully, the Bermuda hasn't grown too much yet this spring. But yeah, I think we're all excited, the fact that we can advance the ball most of the time out of the rough this time.

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