By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
MELBOURNE, Australia -- Jay Haas knows his son Bill will be nervous when he steps to the No. 1 tee at Royal Melbourne on Thursday.
But the U.S. assistant captain wants the reigning FedExCup champion -- and the two other Americans who are making their international team debuts -- to embrace the experience. And most of all, enjoy it.
"He said he's nervous and he's excited, all this stuff. I said, 'You should be,'" the elder Haas explained. "This is about as big a stage as it gets, and try to relish that role. He and all of the other guys, they all know how to play golf. I can't really tell him anything other than to enjoy it and just to look around and look at these 11 other guys that you're in the room with. That's about as good as it gets out here."
Bill Haas became one of Fred Couples' two Captain's Picks the day after he won the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola -- and the $10 million FedExCup bonus, in the process. Jay Haas is making his second appearance as an assistant captain after competing in two Presidents Cups and three Ryder Cups during his prime.
The last time the Presidents Cup was played in Australia there was another father-son duo on the U.S. Team as Jack Nicklaus had his son Jack II as his assistant. But this week marks the first time one is competing, and Haas isn’t sure there’s a way to prepare his son -- or Nick Watney or Webb Simpson -- for the first-tee jitters.
"It's just different,” Jay said. “ ... So to me, when you're in that situation, you should be nervous, because you care. If you didn't care, you're on your way through and you get your butt handed to you probably.
"So you know, about all I can tell him is to embrace this situation. You've got to love it. You've got to love not being able to spit and not being able to think and walk and talk; it's the best. To be that uncomfortable, there's no other feeling like it. You've got to love that feeling, and talk yourself into it I think, more than anything."