MORE INTERVIEWS: Hyundai Tournament of Champions transcript archive
JOHN BUSH: We welcome Bill Haas to the 2012 Hyundai Tournament of Champions. 2011 was a great year, Bill, reflect on that, and also being back at Kapalua.
BILL HAAS: This is the best way to start the year. I remember saying that last year, I love to start every year in Kapalua, which means you won. I took till the last tournament to do it, and very fortunate to do so and love every minute of being here.
JOHN BUSH: Talk a little about your goals for the season and for this week.
BILL HAAS: Yeah, this week, you know, I feel a little rusty, but then again, I didn't play a ton over Christmas break. But it was only 2 1/2 weeks ago that I was playing in Sherwood, and I did some good things there. I didn't finish great but was playing okay, and I don't feel too rusty just because I feel like with The Presidents Cup and Tiger's event, I feel like I played through the whole off season.
So as far as being tournament ready, I feel like I am. Is the golf game there; is it ever? I don't know. You're always working on it. You're always trying to improve and this week is no different, but I feel tournament ready I guess.
Q. Did you spend all the money yet??
BILL HAAS: All of it. It's all gone. (Laughter).
Q. I wanted to ask you about how many times you've seen the shot out of the water. I assume you've seen it a few times. Has it been a lot??
BILL HAAS: Has not been a ton. I've seen a couple replays, just like bits of it on a commercial for the Golf Channel, but I've replayed the coverage just to watch it one night. And just that's it really. I mean, different pieces of it here and there. But only a few times afterwards, because it's fun to watch.
I like looking back on it and I tried to learn from it, obviously the recovery shot, but I try to take it all into the learning process. I didn't learn that I can hit out of the water every playoff; I learned that I don't need to hit I got lucky there. I got fortunate to get it up and down, but you know, next time if I'm in that position, what am I going to do differently and hopefully I'll get to draw on that experience.
Q. How is it possible that you didn't know you had won the FedExCup??
BILL HAAS: When I got finished in regulation, we signed the scorecard and Mike came in and said, "You guys both have a chance to win the FedExCup."
Well, at that point, a few people made bogey. I knew I was up for it. But then other people made bogey, and for me to even get in the playoff, so I just assumed Luke Donald who I was playing with, I just figured he won.
So I didn't even ask anymore questions. I went to the range, hit balls. My dad was there and we just talked about what I had in front of me. Lived in the moment. I tried to tell myself how great it is that I'm in THE TOUR Championship and in the playoff, and as nerve racking as it was, I tried to stay in the moment.
I felt like I did that, because even when I putted out, I 100 percent thought I had just won THE TOUR Championship, and that was all I cared about. The bonus is an unbelievable bonus, and that's what we play for, and a season long thing that is great; but winning golf tournaments is what we focus on. I'm not going to say I didn't know 100 percent, but I didn't not know 100 percent either, if that makes sense.
I guess in looking back, it's so hard to believe that it happened, just think that that kind of thing happens to somebody else. Just the way it all went down, when I look back on it, I was very fortunate.
Q. (No mic).
BILL HAAS: I'd like to say no but I don't know. Hopefully I'm in that situation again next year. Hopefully I'm in a playoff and I know that I'm playing for ten million. We'll see how I handle it.
But it was just one of those things where fortunately, my mentality was somewhat there. It wasn't all the way there because I hit some poor shots on 18, and the second shot at 17 was not a bad shot. I did not pull it. I hit it right at it and went right over the flag and just happened to go in the water.
So actually, if I would have lost there, I wouldn't have been that disappointed because I felt like I hit the golf shot that I needed to hit, because he's in the middle of the fairway, I'm thinking he's going to hit his close; so I was aggressive and felt like I did some good things there.
Like I said, I don't know if I would have handled it differently, because I don't know.
Q. You won the only tournament you're not guaranteed to return as the defending champion; your thoughts??
BILL HAAS: Oh, I won the tournament I was thinking you were talking about here.
No, that is a goal. Start of the year, the goal is to be consistent and try to get back to THE TOUR Championship to give myself that chance to defend. Unfortunately another tournament that I won, the Viking Classic, I would love to go back there but I don't get to go there. They changed it and it's opposite the British, but that's for a good reason; that I'm in the British Open.
So it will be if I don't defend, hopefully it's because I finished 31st and my year was still somewhat successful. We'll just see how I'm feeling about that in October.
Q. Are you surprised by the 11 guys who are not here, six Top 10 guys; are surprised by that, those numbers??
BILL HAAS: A little bit. I know I would never miss it. But then again, I've won three times in my career and maybe some of those guys have won a lot more than that.
For me, this is not a tournament I would want to pass up. Mainly it's a vacation spot. It's beautiful here. We have had a lot of fun. I came here for New Year's and had a little fun prior to this week. I would never miss it. Unless I'm injured, I won't miss it. So in that respect, yes, I'm surprised.
Q. With the schedule, The Race to Dubai and Abu Dhabi, is this tournament in a weird spot, along with Sony, in maybe upcoming years??
BILL HAAS: I don't know. I think we chase good weather. January, there's not many spots in America in the Upper 48 that is that what you call them? The Mainland. (Laughter).
There's not that many spots that are that golf friendly right now. I think this is great spot to start the year honestly. But maybe if you're trying to get better fields, maybe. But if you ever play in Hawai'i, it's going to be hard to get certain guys here because of travel.
I don't know. Still a great field with the people we've got here.
Q. From an evolutionary standpoint, are there other answers that if the players talk about before this tournament, maybe extending Tournament of Champions, you get a two year exemption if you win, maybe you get into this tournament twice or something like that; is there any discussion among you guys??
BILL HAAS: I know the Champions Tour does that; if you win one year, you get a two year exemption. I know that works for them very well.
I don't know. I don't know what I think of that. I think if you win a golf tournament, you're rewarded with this golf tournament. Doesn't matter what the field is or who is here. What it matters is the people that are here are the people that won, right?
So if every player that wins next year are rookies, are we going to be talking about we're not going to be talking about the main guys that won. Does that make sense? You're rewarded to be here because you won. Should you be rewarded another year for that? I don't know. You could lose your card you couldn't lose your card but you would get I don't know. It has worked for a long time the way it is. I guess the only way is get a bigger field I don't know if that would make it better.
But it's certainly up for discussion and I'm okay with it. I'd be okay with it. I wish they would have maybe started it last year and I'd be guaranteed to come back next year. (Laughter).
It's just an extra added bonus. I look at it on PGATOUR.com, there's a little ad for Welcome to Hawai'i for the guy that won Sunday. That's pretty cool. It's pretty neat to have that for the one year I guess. I'm okay with the way it is but I don't think I would hate it if it went to two years.
Q. Do you think it would make a difference if they moved the tournament from here to the Mainland or something, or is part of why you are here.
BILL HAAS: That's part of it. It's just an honor to be here. You earned it. It's a short field. You're only playing against 30 guys, and me personally, I'm going to be here. I guess I see their side of it, the travel, maybe they play so much, certain guys win so many times. It's no big deal not to be here, I don't know.
Q. Would it help it if the tournament moved to the Mainland??
BILL HAAS: I don't know if it would help it. How cool is it that you are here? Would you want to go to Houston and play right now, or wherever? I don't know if it would help it.
Q. Your off season, a lot of guys for you, it's going to be a little bit different because you won the FedExCup, No. 1, coming into this event. Is there anything that you change or wanted to improve on for this year? I know that's kind of a silly question almost, but guys are always talking about things to improve on in the off season; are there things you wanted to improve on?
BILL HAAS: No, my off season was pretty short. It was basically six or seven days before Christmas when I packed up the clubs to come home. Spent Christmas with the family. Then we left the 30th to come out here. So there was not much of an off season.
But, I realize that next year, if I'm just going to go on, I have to finish higher or lower to make it a good year; it's going to be easy for it to be a down year, because you might not finish No. 1 with how good these guys are.
But, I also know that it's a weekly it's a year long thing. I just want to try to be as consistent as I can, compete for more tournaments on Sunday, maybe just start with a Top 10 in a major, I haven't done that yet. I think I finished 11th at the PGA and I was pumped about that. I would just like to contend in the bigger tournaments more often, so that's my goal.
Q. A lot of guys answer this question the same way, they are seeking consistency, and I guess it's a two part question. How do you define consistency and why is it I guess why so hard to be consistent??
BILL HAAS: Because golf is for those select few that can play well all the time, your Tigers, Phils, Vijays, Ernies, they tee it up, whenever they go to a tournament, they know they are going to be there on Sunday, seems to be.
But, for everybody else, I think it's just a difficult game. You never know what can happen. Elements affect it. I don't know.
But you've got a guy like Matt Kuchar who has been so consistent for two years, has not necessarily won four or five times, but almost everybody out here would take his last two years over winning maybe twice and not playing well the rest of the time.
Q. (No mic).
BILL HAAS: Could be both I guess maybe. For me, I felt like I did a pretty good job, made a lot of cuts last year, but I had some poor Sundays. For me, that's not necessarily consistent. Even though I was up there on Sunday, I didn't have great Sundays.
So I want to get in that position and be able to handle it better and be more consistent in my finishes on Sunday. Turn my 73s into 70s or 72s into 68s and just see where that takes me for the year. That's easier said than done. I wish you could snap a finger and it worked like that.
I see stats that I need to improve on. My bunker game, the stats are terrible. I would like to improve on that. And my iron game doesn't feel like it once was; and if you improve those things, then little things like that, just improving a shot a round can make you more consistent. So that's the ball striking aspect of it.
Q. I don't have the record in front of me, but would you take his record last year of 13 or 14 Top 10s and where he finished on the Money List, etc., or Keegan Bradley's who won a major, two times, had maybe ten missed cuts and three Top 10s??
BILL HAAS: I don't know. That's an unfair question. Maybe Keegan's because it's a major. If Keegan's was another different win, a normal win I don't want to say normal win, but a PGA TOUR event; I don't care if you're talking about Cancún or the Colonial, a PGA TOUR win is a big deal.
But winning a major and another tournament as a rookie, I would take that year maybe over Matt Kuchar's year.
Q. Would you take 8th on the Money List, if you had a dozen Top 10s and a few times in what we call 'real contention' over somebody who won maybe once, maybe even twice, but didn't do anything the rest of the year. How would you look at that??
BILL HAAS: You could say one is great and one is not as good but you could argue both ways. Winning twice, that might be the difference maker for me. If you won twice and missed every other cut, that might be good enough to out weigh the missed cuts and.
But to have won once and played great the rest of the year, you have that taste of: I know I can do it, I know I can win; but, you know that maybe my game is not always there and I have some work to do. If you are there every week and you are consistent, you go into every week knowing you can win, if that makes any sense, there's something to be sense for that.
Q. FedExCup and TOUR Championship, probably still a good measure of the year??
BILL HAAS: Absolutely. I think so. I think the FedExCup is very close to accurate. There's very few people that get to THE TOUR Championship that didn't have a very consistent, good year. You have your one or two that played well in the Playoffs, but then again they kind of earned it.
I'm okay with that, too; that they played well in the Playoffs, and yeah, I mean, you have your people saying, oh, he shouldn't have won because he only won in the Playoffs; that was the only tournament he won all year and all that. But then again, you don't say anything to the guy that who is the team Butler, that beat the No. 1 seed in the tournament in the third round. You say, oh, that team had a better year, they should get to go on and Butler, you don't get to go on. It's a playoff for a reason, so it's good to have both I think.
Q. As the reining FedExCup champ, curious to get your thoughts about Rory and Westwood taking up TOUR membership this year. Those two guys might make some noise in the Playoffs, you would think.
BILL HAAS: I think they will for sure. They are both are they 1 and 2 in the world? Close, 2 and 3. They will obviously make some noise. It's great for our tour and I think both guys are very likable. I think all of us that have PGA TOUR cards, or have taken European Tour cards, like them as players and as people and welcome them to make this tour better.
Rory McIlroy is fun to watch and I think he is going to be a guy that everybody talks about for a long time. So the sooner he's on our tour, the better.
Q. Any big purchase? Certainly not the whole thing, I would expect, but at least something?
BILL HAAS: Honestly, I don't have much for you. We already have plans to build a house, me and my wife, and we were waffling on whether to put a pool in. We put a pool in. (Laughter).
But we haven't even broke ground yet, so that could even change. We don't even have like serious plans done with it. So nothing big. I would love if anybody knows of a '65 to '70 Mustang out there for sale, I really want one of those, anything in that year. But until I find one I really want, I won't make any huge purchases.
Q. I talked to Harrison Frazar on Monday, and he had been here for four or five days already and he said up to that point, conditions had been pretty different every day. First of all, first part of the question is: Is that going to make things interesting this week, and what do you think is it going to take to win??
BILL HAAS: Yeah, it will definitely make it interesting if it switches up because the course is designed or somewhat designed to be played with the tradewinds I guess with No. 1, 520 yards to be played downwind right to left. And if it switches around, that's a Kona wind maybe, if it goes the other way, all of a sudden you have a 520 yard par 4 into the wind, makes it much more difficult.
But I think that's what it played almost all last year were Kona winds and 22 under won. So I don't know. I think somewhere around 20, if you shoot around 20 under, you have a really good chance on Sunday or Monday.
Q. Speaking of Monday, what do you think of the Monday finish??
BILL HAAS: I think it's fine. It's still a four day tournament. I'm assuming that has something to do with TV. Able to get a good time, a good slot. But I think Monday, isn't that the night of the National Championship game?
Q. Leads into it.
BILL HAAS: I think that's great. Helps our ratings. I think it's good. It makes sense, leading into the National Championship game, that's perfect. So it's a great idea.
JOHN BUSH: Bill, we appreciate your time.