By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
SAN FRANCISCO – The Presidents Cup isn’t here yet, but U.S. Team captain Fred Couples and assistant captain Jay Haas unintentionally got into the team spirit Friday at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship.
When they arrived on the first tee, fans got a chuckle out of the outfits: black pants, blue golf shirts, gray v-neck sweaters and white hats for both players. Only the sponsor logos were different.
“Everyone noticed we were dressed exactly alike. We heard (remarks) a lot,” Couples said. “In two weeks we’ll have the same thing on every day.”
Couples then gave one clue to the U.S. Team’s President Cup outfits – they won’t look like this.
Many more birdies are available today at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship under blue skies and temperatures near 60 degrees. David Frost is taking advantage, surging into the lead at 5 under with a round that includes four birdies in a five-hole span from the eighth through 12th holes. He bogeyed the 13th, however.
Bernhard Langer, the 2010 Schwab Cup winner, is at 4 under along with Kenny Perry at TPC Harding Park.
Jay Haas double bogeyed the 12th to fall back to 3 under; he had led earlier in the day. Playing partner Fred Couples, who also shared the first round lead with Haas, is 1 over on the day. He began his second round with a double bogey at the first and has one birdie since then.
Points leader Tom Lehman is tied for 10th, even for his second round. Mark Calcavecchia, second in points, shot 68 but let a few get away late in the round. He’s at 3 under and tied for fourth, though he needs to finish in the top two to have any shot at stealing the points title from Lehman.
SAN FRANCISCO – There may be a race for the Charles Schwab Cup after all.
Tom Lehman, who came into the Charles Schwab Cup Championship with a 382-point lead, was right where he needed to be after Round 1, tied for fifth with his pursuers all behind. But the points leader double bogeyed the first hole Friday. He birdied the next, but sits at even par for the tournament, tied for 13th.
His closest pursuer in the points, Mark Calcavecchia, is 4 under for the day and the tournament, making three birdies and an eagle on the par-4 seventh hole on his front nine, offset by one bogey. He’s tied for the lead with Jay Haas.
Calcavecchia can win the Schwab Cup if he wins the event and Lehman finishes T2 or worse. He can also win by finishing second if Lehman finishes T12 or worse.
SAN FRANCISCO – The weather is considerably better at the outset of Round 2 at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship. Mark Wiebe is certainly enjoying it.
The Colorado native, a winner earlier this year at the Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn, made his first Champions Tour ace on the third hole at TPC Harding Park Friday. He used a 5-iron from 174 yards to make the sixth ace in tournament history (second at Harding Park). He’s 3 under for his round and back to even par.
First-round co-leaders Fred Couples and Jay Haas tee off at 12:06 p.m. local time, a pairing with plenty of intrigue. The friends will have plenty to talk about, as Couples is the captain of the U.S. Presidents Cup team and Haas is one of his two assistants (the other, John Cook, is on the course already after a disappointing opening 73).
“With what’s going on, we’ll have a good time out there,” Couples said after his first round Thursday.
From a golf standpoint, Couples could close out the best season of the year outside Tom Lehman with a win in the finale. He only has nine previous starts on the season, but has five top-10s and two wins among those, including a record seven-shot romp two weeks ago at the AT&T Championship.
“He’s spectacular. I always say he’s a golfing genius,” Haas said Thursday. “I mean, shooting 23 under at San Antonio, that course was not that easy. I don’t know how many birdies he made that week, but it seemed like every other hole he was making one.”
For Haas, a two-time Schwab Cup winner, a win at TPC Harding Park would be his first in the season finale. It would also be his second win of the season, after taking the 3M Championship in August.
Of course, Haas has had a great year in other ways – he was on hand to watch son Bill win the FedExCup with a thrilling win at the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola. All over Harding Park, he still hears about it from fans.
“So many people this week have been saying congratulations to me, and everybody I see from then on, seemed like they all congratulated me on Bill’s victory and things like that,” Haas said.
“But I won’t say that made any kind of difference (on the course) … I have been working hard on my game, and I want to play well at any time.”
By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
SAN FRANCISCO – Coming into the Champions Tour’s final event, it was going to take a minor miracle for Tom Lehman to be beat in the race for the Schwab Cup.
Through one round at TPC Harding Park, that looks unlikely.
Four pursuers have to essentially win the event and hope Lehman falters, and Thursday’s play showed that the points leader isn’t going anywhere. Lehman shot 1-under 70, one of just seven players in red numbers on a cold, windy and rainy Bay Area day. He’s two shots back of leaders Fred Couples and Jay Haas, who shot 68s.
Mark Calcavecchia and Peter Senior, second and third in the points race, shot even-par 71s. Russ Cochran, fifth in points, shot 74.
Perhaps most surprising, two-time defending champion John Cook (fourth in points) shot 73. In winning this event the previous two years, Cook shot eight straight rounds in the 60s. Over those two years he made four bogeys in all – he had four bogeys in his first six holes on Thursday.
Lehman came into the week leading by 382 points over Calcavecchia. His projected lead after Round 1 is 475 points over Calcavecchia.
By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
SAN FRANCISCO – When Michael Allen plays TPC Harding Park, the memories of youth come flowing back.
Coincidentally or not, so does great golf.
The San Mateo, Calif., native shot 2 under in Round 1 of the Charles Schwab Cup Championship, one shot back of Fred Couples and Jay Haas.
He had a small but vocal fan contingent following him on the cold and windy day, all while remembering good times around the famed muni.
“Like the city tournament we used to come out here … I remember the time I was actually a medalist,” said Allen, who grew up a few miles down the road from Harding Park. “I think we had 13 or 14 temporary greens. Just a mud bowl and it rained the whole way.”
Of course, Harding Park is considerably nicer today, and on the new incarnation Allen has good memories too. Last year he shot 61 in the third round of the season finale, the course record by three shots. He didn’t win the tournament, shooting 70 on Sunday to John Cook’s 67, but doesn’t appear convincing when he claims to be upset about that outcome.
“You know, the thing is, when I come to this area and play, I just enjoy the golf here. I grew up with it. I love seeing the trees and the color of the grass,” Allen said.
That doesn’t mean he still doesn’t want to take a trophy home Sunday afternoon. The 52-year-old won his first Champions Tour start in 2009, the Senior PGA Championship, but hasn’t won since. This year he finished in the top-10 in half of his 18 starts, but didn’t finish higher than third.
“It’s been a frustrating year in a way, that I haven’t won. I’ve had some good opportunities,” Allen said. “I’d like to get a win before the end of the year, for sure.”
At TPC Harding Park, it would just be another entry into Allen’s memory bank.
By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
SAN FRANCISCO – To get a sense of how different Round 1 was in the Charles Schwab Cup Championship compared to a glorious two days of practice and pro-am, Jay Haas offers two versions of the par-4 14th at TPC Harding Park.
In great weather Wednesday, he had 168 yards to the green. A 7-iron.
In the cold, windy, drizzly Thursday, off what he called a “smashed” drive, he had 221 in. A 17-degree hybrid shot.
Then again, Haas knocked the hybrid on the green (one of just a few to do so Thursday), a microcosm of his 3 under day in the opening round. The former Schwab Cup winner, who is still hearing congratulations from the gallery for son Bill’s FedExCup title, made four birdies with just one bogey on a day were just seven of the 30 players were under par. David Frost and Michael Allen are at 2 under.
“It was a very difficult day,” Haas said. “The last few days kind of teased us a little bit. Just the cool, the wind, the rain, makes this place pretty difficult.
“Ball just does not go very far out here, so we’re hitting one or two clubs more than maybe we would somewhere else where it would be above room temperature, I guess you would say.”
Fred Couples also shot 3-under 68 and will be paired tomorrow with his Presidents Cup assistant captain.
Couples, a winner in two of his last five starts on the Champions Tour including a seven-shot romp two weeks ago at the AT&T Championship, got to five under at the turn Thursday but had three bogeys coming in, offset by a birdie on No. 18.
“I have no problem with shooting a couple over on the back; it was nice to get off to that kind of start,” Couples said. “The most exciting thing is that I’ll be playing with Jay tomorrow. We haven’t played much this year and with what’s going on, we’ll have a good time out there.”
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
ATLANTA -- We won't know Fred Couples’ final decision until that teleconference on Tuesday at 5 p.m.
But Bill Haas certainly put himself at the center of the conversation about who will be the U.S. captain's final pick for the Presidents Cup when he won the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola in a playoff on Sunday -- and with it, the FedExCup and it's $10 million bonus.
Couples will likely choose from between Haas, who finished 12th in the Presidents Cup standings; No. 11 Brandt Snedeker and rookie Keegan Bradley, who has won twice this year, including the PGA Championship. Couples has already announced that Tiger Woods will get the other Captain's Pick for the biennial matches that will be held in November at Royal Melbourne.
Haas, for his part, is just happy to have put himself in serious consideration. Bradley tied for 11th on Sunday while Snedeker was tied for 16th.
"I'm not going to say it gets me to Australia," Haas said. "It definitely puts me in the talk up there with some of the guys that everybody has been talking about. I did what I could do. I would love to represent the United States in the Presidents Cup and play for Fred Couples, and I just wanted to play well today because I knew if I didn't play well I could easily play my way out of that talk."
Complicating the situation a little bit right now is the fact that Haas' father Jay is one of Couples' assistant captains. "I'm going to stay out of it and I told Fred that same thing for the last couple of weeks," the elder Haas said as he waited for the awards ceremony to begin.
Jay Haas has played on two Presidents Cup teams and is serving as an assistant captain for the second time this year. His son understands that Couples faces a difficult decision.
"It would be easy to say that he's getting favored or he didn't
get picked because he didn't want to look like he was favored,"
Bill Haas said. "It could work both ways. However the media wants
to spin it, it could be spun as Jay Haas's son got picked as
opposed to Bill Haas got picked. But I think winning here helps
eliminate that, and that was all I wanted to do, play well, play
solid, do what I could do for myself to be looked at as a possible
"Like I said, I'd love to represent the United States and go down and play The Presidents Cup. I think it would be a memory of a lifetime and an experience and just another stepping stone for me to try to get better because I definitely have a lot of room to go."
Jay Haas had 67 texts within minutes after the final putt dropped. Several came from his long-time friend Curtis Strange -- "Proud of your boy, congrats, happy for you guys," he said -- as well as Couples and the other assistant captain, NBA great Michael Jordan. Haas thumbed through his iPhone as he talked about how excited he was that his son had a chance to make the American team.
"I know he was really disappointed last week to shoot 42 on the back nine when he could've finished if off there," Jay Haas said. "So I'm doubly proud of him for coming back this week and playing well and coming back from yesterday's finish too, a bogey, double-bogey finish when he was tied for the lead. I think that says a lot for him. It's hard to overlook that.
"You'd think if Brandt Snedeker or Keegan Bradley or Bill wins this tournament they should get that spot, perhaps. But again, I'm going to stay out of it. You can second guess. Any of these 30 guys, the Americans that are here would be a good pick."
Jay Haas also said he likes the passion he sees in the younger players like the three prime candidates for the final U.S. pick.
“I know Keegan's comments were that I think about it every third hole and I think that's great,” Haas said. “I think that is great that the young guys really want to be on those teams. It means so much to them, Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup. …
"I think that's great for the American tour and there's so many great young guys that are capable and the group's kind of turning over a little bit."
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- At first, the partnership was supposed to last for just four weeks. But Bill Haas has played so well with his brother Jay Jr. on the bag that the arrangement might last through the end of the 2011 campaign.
"He seems to be having fun with it, and I'm enjoying having him out there," Bill Haas said.
The first time Jay Jr. caddied for his brother this year was at The Greenbrier Classic -- where Bill ended up losing in a playoff to Scott Stallings. He also tied for 12th last week at the PGA Championship with his brother on the bag.
"That's obviously a nice way to start for him, and for me," Bill
Haas said of The Greenbrier Classic. "He's having a baby in a few
weeks and mini-tour results aren't paying for diapers right now. So
partly I wanted to give him some help, and I needed some help on
the course. He's a good enough player to do that for me."
Jay Jr. played collegiately at Augusta State while Haas played at Wake Forest where he won a school-record 10 tournaments and the Ben Hogan Award that goes to the nation’s top collegiate player. Their father, Jay, won nine times on the PGA TOUR and 15 times on the Champions Tour, including three majors.
While the two are enjoying things, Bill says he doesn't want the dynamic between the two to switch to simply a player-caddy relationship.
"That's why I don't think I want it to go too long," he said. "... But for right now, it's just him being my brother on the bag. And he's hustling. He's working hard for me and we're having fun. A few more good finishes and he can kick me off the bag."
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Bill Haas and his father Jay have both won PGA TOUR events, one of eight father-son pairs to have done so.
Bill has two victories while Jay won nine times. In fact, Bill’s first victory came at last year’s Bob Hope Classic – a tournament his father won in 1988.
The two have a chance to make history again on Sunday as Bill starts the final round of the Wells Fargo Championship four strokes off the lead and Jay trails Mark Calcavecchia by one at the Regions Tradition.
The only time a father and son have won on the PGA TOUR and Champions Tour on the same day was in 1999. That’s when Bob Duval won the Emerald Coast Classic and his son David captured THE PLAYERS Championship.