Arnold Palmer Invitational interview: Bill Haas

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March 22, 2013

MORE INTERVIEWS: Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard

DOUG MILNE: Bill Haas, thank you for joining us after a successful bogey free, 6 under 66 today, on the heels of a 69 yesterday. Just some comments on how you're feeling as you're heading into the weekend here at Bay Hill?

BILL HAAS: Yeah, obviously, I feel good about shooting two good scores at this place. I didn't know the media tent where it was, I've never been in here. Never had that much great success here, but I've always enjoyed coming. I had a nice week off last week, got some rest, got away from it, and just felt pretty good coming in.

Yesterday, I had it really going well. Hit a nice 4 iron at 17, ended up being the wrong club because it flew in the back bunker, and hit two beautiful shots at 18 and three putted from 8 feet. So to leave, basically giving two away, I think, then basically that was my goal today was to try to get those two back and go from there. So that was kind of my mindset today and then was able to keep it going.

Q. Was part of the issue yesterday what's going on with your neck? Maybe you can just kind of give us the run down on exactly what happened?

BILL HAAS:
Yeah, honestly, I shouldn't even have mentioned that. It's just been like a tweak. I did it picking up a towel out of the shower. Did it in L.A. Almost withdrew from L.A., but then played very well even though I had that going. So I told myself it must just be something sore. You can play your way through it. Then it's kind of just hasn't gone away.

But it's not bad. I can honestly play. I can make a full turn. It's just sometimes when you look to the left it kind of tightens in the back of the neck. It's not anything that's a big deal.
When you're playing poorly, it hurts, when you're playing well, it doesn't hurt. It's one of those. It's not so bad. It's just today it felt good, obviously.

Q. I was wondering if you had to make accommodations for it? If your swing has changed at all to make sure you don't hurt it worse? What are you going to plan to do if it continues?

BILL HAAS:
I haven't changed my swing. It may have changed because of it on accident, but it doesn't it's not so bad that I can't play. So I'm playing through it. Yesterday somebody asked how I felt coming in here, and I said, well, actually my neck's been bothering me. But it's not something that's bothering me. I shouldn't even have said that. It's just one of those injuries that everybody out here has. Somebody's got a hurt foot, hurt knee, hurt hip, and that's just stuff we play through, I think.

Q. Are you surprised by these two days at all? Secondly, was there any thought of skipping this week too? I know last week you took a pass on it to give your neck a rest as well.

BILL HAAS:
No, this is one that I scheduled at the beginning of the year. I just know I'm going to play mainly because Mr. Palmer always gives the guys a sponsor start here when you first get on TOUR. Even if you're a rookie, it's not a week you'd get in, but he gave me one.

That's not the only reason, but just because he is Mr. Palmer and our Wake Forest connection. He's always been great to me. I always planned on coming.

Had a nice week off last week. I actually added Houston, because I didn't want to take two weeks off before The Masters, so I'm looking forward to this week playing the Tavistock Cup with my dad Monday and Tuesday and Webb and Freddy. So that's going to be a lot of fun. Lot of fun golf here trying to get prepped for Augusta.

Q. Are you surprised how well you played these last two? I know you played well in L.A., but given the injury and everything else.

BILL HAAS:
Yeah, yeah, a little bit. We should call it a sore neck, not an injury, because it's not really an injury. It's just a pain in the butt, kind of.

But, no, I was playing pretty nice. Then worked on something Tuesday when I got down here with my brother. And I said how does that look? And then just, bam, everything kind of I just feel pretty confident with my irons, which I've been struggling a little bit with it. So, so far, so good.

Q. What was it that you worked on?

BILL HAAS:
It's as simple as I feel like when I'm in my transition, my head goes backwards. So it makes me go underneath it and get a little flipping. So I just feel like I need my head to stay still. If that makes any sense.

Q. You've obviously had one of the great golfing families in the history of the U.S. Do you remember anything that your uncle Bob Goalby told you early? Do you remember anything that your father, Jay Haas, told you early that you still think about or use today?

BILL HAAS:
Not really. Well, the week I won the Bob Hope, it was his suggestion that I turn my toe out a little bit which helped me turn a little bit.

Q. Your right toe?

BILL HAAS:
Yeah, my right toe, which helped me, I think, turn. That was one swing tip that was actually his thought. I think he mumbled to my dad to tell me to do it.

Q. Bob Goalby?

BILL HAAS:
Yes, that's who you're asking about, right?

Q. Well, Bob and Jay.

BILL HAAS:
I would say everything that I do is through my dad. And even with Billy Harmon, when he teaches me a little, a lot of the influence comes through my dad through what I ask. He's who I go to first. I'll call my dad first about everything in the golf game, especially my golf swing. Then when I'm home and he's home, I always like to go play and just say I need something, and he'll give me something. So I think a numerous amount of tips that I've used, but not anything one specific or anything like that.

Q. When I was talking to Billy Harmon about your golf swing, he said this, and I was giving him grief about it, because he sounded like Confucius, but I said, “What is the best thing about Billy Haas' golf swing?” And he said, "It's uninterrupted rhythm not marred by thought." Is that true? Does rhythm come that easy to you that you don't have to think about it? If so, does technique come to you easily so you don't have to think about it either?

BILL HAAS:
I think rhythm wise, that's not really something I think about. It's more I'm thinking right now a good turn, which I feel like I do with my hips and with actually my right knee. For the longest time I was trying to keep my knees straight and then turn the body, but I just felt like I couldn't ever turn because I'm just not flexible enough.

Then I watched Rory McIlroy, to me, his right knee moves. You know, your knee can move a little. So that's my turn thought. Then from there, I'm just trying to keep my head straight. So there are thoughts there.

I'm not definitely thinking. But tempo wise, I think sometimes I know if I hit a bad one, I can tell that maybe that was quick, so I just say try to slow it down, breathe slower, then that might change that. But I'm never really thinking like 1, 2, or tempo like that.

Q. You mentioned the relationship with Arnold Palmer and so forth, and it's obviously way too early to talk about what it would mean to win. But what does it mean to lead here and have a conversation with your dad saying, hey, I'm leading Arnold Palmer's tournament?

BILL HAAS:
Just to play well here. I've always said Mr. Palmer's there when you walk off the 18th green. He's there early when I finished, and he's always saying thanks for coming, and I'm glad you're here.

I'm always saying I really would like to play better and see you later. It is. It just feels nice to do well, like you say. No matter what happens this weekend, to shoot two good rounds and hopefully get to speak with him about it would be pretty special.

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