What they said: Bill HaasJanuary 26, 2012
PGA TOUR staff
MORE INTERVIEWS: Farmers Insurance Open transcript archive
DOUG MILNE: Billy, thanks for joining us. Great 9-under 63 today. 9-under through 14 and then pulled it back, managed a 63 nonetheless. Obviously got to feel good about your start today.
BILL HAAS: Yeah, I do. Great start mainly with the putter, and today it felt really good, which is surprising because these greens probably the toughest to putt on so far that we've played.
But got off to a nice start. I wish I could have number 6 back, but overall did a lot of good things.
Q. Did you do anything different this week with the putter as far as preparing for this??
BILL HAAS: Well, I started with a belly putter in Hawaii, and I didn't use the belly putter at the Hope, and then I'm back to the belly putter this week. But I changed it. I cut it down an inch. So it's an inch shorter than what I used previously.
It just feels a little different. I don't know if it's the answer, but sometimes just being a little different it's a little more comfortable.
Q. Why did you even try it in the beginning? What was the reason for trying?
BILL HAAS: Well, I thought it was too long, and I felt like I couldn't get my eyes over the ball. The longer it is, the harder it is. The putter has to go further away from your feet. So it allows me to get over the ball a little better and maybe see the line. That's my theory.
Q. Is that the same one that you had at the Tour Championship??
BILL HAAS: No. This is an inch shorter than that one.
Q. No, I'm talking about when you changed first, the first week at Hyundai, is that the same one??
BILL HAAS: Yeah, the one I used at Tournament of Champions is what I used at the Tour Championship. Today was shorter than both.
Q. Did you have a number in mind when you shot today and did you get that number??
BILL HAAS: Yeah, I would say I surpassed that number. I just was hoping to play well. I knew on this course it's somewhat more gettable than the South. I think you can still shoot good scores over there too, but it definitely plays longer.
Instead of 9-irons, 8-irons, wedges, you have 4-irons, 5-irons, and 6-irons over there. So you can still shoot good over there and shoot well, but you can't attack it like you can in the North.
Q. With the rain we had the other day, has it dried out yet or is it still one of those things where it's not really rolling??
BILL HAAS: I would say the ball is rolling a little bit, so it's dried out there. But the greens are still soft. That is the reason you see those good scores. When it plays short and soft on the greens, there's not much defense.
Q. There was a lot of talk about year about the fairways being almost too narrow on the North, I think it led the TOUR in missed fairways all season. Does it look any different out there this year and maybe because it's softer are balls staying on the fairway more??
BILL HAAS: To me, it still looks narrow. I heard they widened a couple fairways from last year. I didn't play a practice round on that course, so today is the first day. Usually in tournament rounds the fairways shrink a little bit anyway, so they seem small enough to me.
But if you drive it well, like I said, it's not a long course. So if you do drive it well you have a lot of wedges from the fairway.
Q. It was a near perfect round today except that one hole.
BILL HAAS: Yeah. I just hit a bad iron shot. It plays 30 yards downhill, so the ball's in the air for a long time. And the wind was a little bit off the right. I occasionally can hit a hook and just told myself don't do that. Let's just go to the right side of the green is fine, and I just hung on to it even more than I should have. It was just a terrible shot.
But easily could have made a four and not a five is what I should have done. I just tried to get cute with it and I didn't hit it hard enough out of the rough. Didn't even get it on the green.
Q. Do you ever recall an 11-hole stretch where you were 9-under par??
BILL HAAS: Maybe, not really. That was a fun stretch. But 10, 11, 12, 13, are four of the harder holes on the course. I made it on 13 I hit it to about a foot and got to 1-under. So I remember telling myself, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 1, 2 are all birdie holes. So I was like go with it. See if I can get it a couple under. It seemed like every hole I gave myself an opportunity. I wasn't making crazy long putts. I two-putted for two of them for birdies.
Number 13 and number 16, I hit them both six inches, you know, tap-ins. So that made it seem easier than that. It wasn't like I was making 9 to 12 footers, you know? But that was nice.
Q. What do you think of a tournament that has-- this isn't Humana where you can score everywhere. This is you play the North, you go as low as you can, and then you go for the south and you battle it??
BILL HAAS: Right.
Q. Do you like that kind of yin and yang of a tournament??
BILL HAAS: Yeah, maybe. We don't play many like this. I think the North played as defenseless as it usually does. If we have a little bit of a breeze, I don't think the north is that much easier. I looked at it, and it averages right at 70, and the South is right at 72. That's not that much difference.
It adds up over a course of four rounds or whatever. But it's still can you shoot a high number on that course. I think they're two great courses. Anybody that ever played it, your average guy, your 10 handicap would struggle on that course, I think.