Bill Haas has finished fourth at the Wells Fargo Championship twice.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- If Bill Haas sees a rules official approaching his group at Quail Hollow this week, and neither he nor his playing partners requested a consulation, you'd better clear a path to the parking lot. Fast.
"I'll probably know something's up," Haas said with a wry grin.
That's because the birth of Haas' first child, a son, is imminent. The due date is May 17 but he and his wife Julie have scheduled a c-section for May 13, which is the Monday after THE PLAYERS Championship, a tournament Haas also plans to play.
So it's safe to say Haas is on high alert for the next two weeks. He's 90 minutes from his home in Greenville, S.C., as he plays in the Wells Fargo Championship, and he'll have a plane on the ready when he heads to Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., for THE PLAYERS next week.
"I think it could come any day, her being a small girl and the guy's not in the right position," Haas said, adding that the baby is breech. "I feel like he's going to want to get out of there soon."
Haas' father Jay, who will be an assistant captain for the Presidents Cup team this fall, has faced similar situations. Five times, in fact. The elder Haas even played the Memorial Tournament three days after Bill was born on Monday -- and tied for eighth. So the family knows how golf and life can collide.
"I think it was just a little different back then," Bill said. "My dad played 30 events a year. Today's day that's a lot. Certainly I think they had close calls."
Haas said he and his wife will likely name their baby William Harlan Haas, Jr. but the soon-to-be dad is quick to say they'll call him William.
"I'm a little nervous," Haas acknowledged. "But I think I'm just exited. I want to be a dad. I'm nervous to do the wrong thing with him. But other than that I'm just fired up to get it started."
Julie Haas has been in Charlotte this week but plans to head home after the first round. Haas will join her after the tournament is over and likely won't go to Ponte Vedra Beach until Tuesday night.
"THE PLAYERS is a big deal for us but the baby's obviously a bigger deal," Haas said.
Maybe it's an omen that the final round of THE PLAYERS will be held on Mother's Day.
No player putted better in 2012 than Brandt Snedeker. (Martin/Getty Images)
By PGATOUR.COM staff
No one can dispute the fact that Brandt Snedeker and Steve Stricker are among the best putters on the PGA TOUR.
Last year, Snedeker ranked first on TOUR in strokes gained-putting en route to winning the FedExCup, and currently ranks 11th in that category this year. Stricker has yet to play the minimum number of rounds this year to qualify statistically (he's played just seven; the mininum is 14), but unofficially he ranks second. And of course, Stricker gave a well-documented putting tip that Tiger Woods as put to good use lately.
This week's first two rounds of the Shell Houston Open offers golf fans a chance to watch Snedeker and Stricker match their putting talents head-on, since those two will play in the same group, along with another former FedExCup winner, Bill Haas. They tee off at 2 p.m. ET on Thursday and 9 a.m. ET on Friday.
Although Haas doesn't have the putting credentials that Snedeker and Stricker have, he certainly can hold his own in terms of hitting greens in regulation.
Haas currently ranks sixth in GIR, hitting 71.58 percent. Snedeker, meanwhile, is first on TOUR at 74.07 percent. And Stricker, if he had enough rounds to qualify, would be first at 76.19 percent.
Hitting greens has always been a big part of Haas' game -- he ranked 21st in the category in 2010 and 11th in 2011 -- and he seems to have found his groove again after struggling in that category last season.
Snedeker, meanwhile, has made a dramatic improvement in that area. In the previous four years, he never anked better than 113th in GIR, and last year he ranked 132nd.
Haas is in contention entering the weekend at Bay Hill. (Cannon/Getty Images)
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
ORLANDO, Fla. -- When Bill Haas reached down to pick up a towel the week of the Northern Trust Open, he tweaked his neck and shoulder to the point he almost withdrew from the tournament.
How much it's bothered him, however, is a matter of perspective.
"I shouldn't even have mentioned that," Haas said. "It's not bad. I can honestly play. I can make a full turn. Sometimes when I look to the left it kind of tightens in the back of the neck.
"We should call it a sore neck, not an injury. When you're playing poorly, it hurts, and when you're playing well, it doesn't hurt."
Through two rounds at Bay Hill, Haas has done the latter, which not only eases the pain in his neck but also comes as a bit of a surprise.
For one, Haas hasn't played well of late with a first-round loss in the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play and a near-last place finish at the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship.
For another, he's never played particularly well here. In five trips to Bay Hill, Haas' only top 25 was a tie for 17th and twice he's missed the cut.
Friday, however, he was flawless with four birdies, an eagle and no bogeys en route to a 66 that has him at 9 under and in contention heading to the weekend.
When Haas, whose wife is due with the couple's first child in eight weeks, arrived here on Tuesday, he found something in his swing while working with his brother (who's also his caddie). In short, his head was moving backward at the top of his swing and he was getting underneath the plane.
Swing problem behind him, Haas now hopes he has a different interaction with Arnold Palmer -- who, like Haas went to Wake Forest -- when he walks off the 18th green on Sunday.
"He's there early when I finish," Haas said. "He always says thanks for coming and I'm always saying I really would like to play better and see you later."
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Bill Haas' neck and shoulder still hurts since he strained them the week of the Northern Trust Open. Just not as bad as three bogeys over his final five holes Thursday.
Haas played his first dozen holes at Bay Hill in 6 under with four birdies and an eagle, putting him within one of leader Justin Rose.
Then he missed the green on the par-3 14th, where he failed to get up and down, missing from 9 feet to save par.
Three holes later, Haas went long on the par-3 17th and into a bunker. He hit poor pitch, landing 42 feet past the hole and two-putted for another bogey.
Things looked promising on the 18th -- until he three-putted from 8 feet for the final blow.
"It is disappointing," Haas said. "I had a really, really good round of ball-striking."
To his point, he hit 12 of 14 fairways and 14 greens in regulation.
As for his neck, Haas hasn't had any X-rays, but says it hurts when he turns his head to the left. "And when you swing, you look to the left," he said.
Haas strained his neck and shoulder the week of the event in L.A., when he was bending down to pick up a towel off the floor outside the shower.
He took last week of to rest it, but it didn't help.
"It still feels bad," Haas said. "It certinaly hurts more when you make three bogeys. It's one of those things when you're playing well you don't feel it and when you aren't you do."
MARANA, Ariz. -- Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium, a 10th seed, defeated American Bill Haas, a seventh seed, 5 and 4, in their first-round match at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship.
Colsaerts advances to play the Justin Rose-K.J. Choi winner in the second round of the Hogan bracket.
Colsaerts entered the day 3 up through eight holes. He parred all six of his holes Thursday. Meanwhile, Haas bogeyed the par-5 11th when he was forced to take a penalty stroke after an errant tee shot, then bogeyed the par-4 14th after a poor approach shot left him in the native area.
Haas had just one birdie against five bogeys on his scorecard.
"Bill didn't really play his best," Colsaerts said. "We've seen that. But I was just making sure that I was putting myself in position and maybe put a little bit of pressure on Bill. That seemed to have done the trick."
Colsaerts is making just his second appearance in this event. He lost in the first round last year but he won the Volvo World Match Play on the European Tour last year.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. -- On a glass half-full or half-empty kind of Sunday, Bill Haas smartly chose the former.
Make no mistake, he was disappointed. But even after squandering a three-stroke advantage in a seven-hole stretch where he made five bogeys, Haas reversed course and still finished just one shot out of a playoff in his title defense at the Northern Trust Open.
"Maybe next time I'll handle it better but I know I'll be nervous again," said Haas, who birdied his last two holes to get into a tie for third. "That's part of the deal but hopefully I can handle it just one shot better, one shot better today I'm in a playoff and two shots better I win the tournament.
"Positives to be taken but overall, you don't get this many opportunities. A three-shot lead at one of the best tournaments of the year is great opportunity that I squandered."
Haas appeared solid early on Sunday as he two-putted the first hole from 37 feet for birdie and bounced from a bogey at the second with a 30-footer at No. 3. In hindsight, he wishes he'd kept the driver in his bag at No. 8 and the always-tempting 10th, and he'd love to have had a mulligan on his second shot at the par-5 11th that turned a much-needed-birdie-to-stop-the-bleeding into a par.
"Those three shots stick out in my head as, if I could do those over again, maybe it turns out something different," Haas said.
The soft-spoken South Carolinian, who picked up his fourth PGA TOUR win at Riviera a year ago when he beat Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley in a playoff, had played well all week. The 64 he shot Saturday was stellar on a day when the venerable course was playing extremely firm and fast and Haas had what appeared to be a comfortable lead heading into the final round.
"I really felt good," Haas said. "Didn't think I could shoot over par, and then all of a sudden to be 4 over par for the day (on the 14th tee), just kind of hit me and every shot, I wasn't comfortable, and didn't hit a good shot. So I deserved it."
Even so, the tie for third with Fredrick Jacobson and Charl Schwartzel was Haas' third straight top-10 finish so he'll head to Arizona for the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship with momentum for his first-round match with Nicolas Colsaerts.
"Absolutely," Haas said. "Even just the last two holes there, to finish birdie, birdie putts at least somewhat of a good taste in my mouth."
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. -- Consecutive bogeys at the seventh and eighth holes have turned Bill Haas' comfortable three-stroke lead into one.
Haas found a fairway bunker, then chunked a chip at the eighth hole, leaving himself 35 feet for par. When he two-putted for just his fourth bogey of the week, Haas dropped back to 11 under.
Charlie Beljan, Hunter Mahan, John Merrick and Fredrik Jacobsen are Haas' nearest competitors after making the turn in 32 31, 34 and 33, respectively. Webb Simpson was also at 10 under until he hit his drive at No. 8 well left and into a bush, where he had to take a drop on the way to a bogey.
Simpson is tied with playing partner Charl Schwartzel, who is even for the day, at 9 under.