Northern Trust Open interview: Bill HaasFebruary 16, 2013
LAURA NEAL: We would like to welcome Bill Haas to the interview room, absolutely great 64 today considering the course and the conditions, a lot of people were saying, it's got to be one of the better rounds of the year. I know you must be happy with it. Just talk about your round today and going into Sunday.
BILL HAAS: Yeah, very pleased obviously. Just kind of was plugging along out there and then all of a sudden, made a nice putt at 9, chip in at 10, good up and down at 11. And then made a couple nice par saves.
12, that hole has kind of got my number so far. I think that's going to be a key hole tomorrow, just so I can find that fairway, it will feel like a totally different hole, because I haven't seen it yet.
Kind of was just plugging along. Great save, great up and down at 17. Certainly would have liked to make that putt on 18 after a nice drive and a nice second shot, but overall, very pleased.
Q. Out there you referred to a swing key that seems to be working. What's kicked in and what do you focus on with that?
BILL HAAS: Just try not to get ahead of it. That's kind of my biggest flaw is I don't turn and I kind of get ahead of it. You'll see it a few times, hopefully not tomorrow, but I hit some right shots and just really trying to work on, I don't even know how you want to say it, but hitting it high.
On the range, I try to hit a lot of shots high, like pretend there's a tree in front of me, which if you're hitting a shot high, you can't get in front of it. It helps you stay behind the ball a little bit. It's kind a simple swing key but that's what I'm working on.
Q. How big is the tree in your imagination?
BILL HAAS: Seriously? Just trying to hit it high. It doesn't need to be a certain height. Just the goal was to not slide in front of the ball and then hit that the right shot.
Q. When you were in here last year after winning, you said something to the effect of, I have a way of not of coming back to the field when I'm too far ahead of giving shots back. You have a three stroke lead going into tomorrow. Can you talk about just the opportunity to really like put your foot on the pedal and pull away?
BILL HAAS: You know, very difficult in this game to just pull away from the rest of the field. You've only seen a few guys ever really do that. And those are guys like Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson.
So I think I've just got to try to stay in the moment, don't let my emotions get the best of me. Try to get off to a good start. You know, maybe it helped today that I didn't birdie the first hole. Because that can certainly all of a sudden you think, oh, I lost a shot to the field because I didn't birdie No. 1, but I proved today that you can still play a good round not doing that.
2 is a tough hole, just try to get through those first few. The guys behind me are going to make birdies and it will certainly get closer at the top. So I've just got to try to hang in there and give myself a chance on the back nine.
Q. I've never got quite clear the family tree. Bob Goalby is your dad's mom's brother?
BILL HAAS: Yes.
Q. Has there ever been a family conversation talking about the '68 Masters?
BILL HAAS: A little bit.
Q. Tell me about it.
BILL HAAS: Well, he won the Masters, it's a big deal in our family. I love telling people that my great uncle is a Masters champion and that's how my dad got started and that's the reason I play the game is because of him.
He talks about the whole De Vicenzo thing but says what you think he would say. He won.
Q. Does he get out here anymore? He's like 84 now.
BILL HAAS: Yes.
Q. If you are leading tomorrow, would he come out? Is he healthy enough to do that?
BILL HAAS: He's healthy, but he's in Palm Springs a lot of the year and then they go up to Belleville, Illinois where he's from, another part of the year. So I don't think he would travel just to come watch. But he does watch during the Bob Hope. He comes out and walks and watches.
So Billy Horman was caddying for me this year and he said, "Do you think your brother's daughter, who was just born that week" he says, "Do you think you'll be out here watching her son play golf one day?" (Laughter) Which I think is what that is, which is pretty amazing. And it kind of put things in perspective.
It's awesome that he was out there watching me play. But it also put things in perspective of how the longevity that we have been able to our family has been able to play. It's very neat and something I'm very proud of.
Q. They talk about Hogan and Pavin and Freddie Couples fell in love with this course; won. What do you see in this course? Did you like it the first time? And you'd like the reputation they have, I assume
BILL HAAS: Absolutely. I like everything about it. The golf course, the grass, just how it's old school style golf course. Walking in the locker room, seeing the pictures of all those champions on the wall, it's just got a great feel of it about it.
Certainly even before last year when I have not had the best of records here coming up to it, it was certainly a week that I penciled in on the schedule if I could get in and play here, because it's fun to play.
Q. Besides the past champions, are you cognizant of the movie stars in the hallway photos there, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, etc., Hogan
BILL HAAS: It's neat to see them up there, as well, but I don't necessarily look at them as much as I look at the golfers. But certainly that obviously is what L.A. is all about.
Q. How long was that birdie putt on 9
BILL HAAS: It was about 10 feet probably. I felt like I hit a decent putt. It was one of those ones that I knew maybe didn't break as much as it looked. However, I wasn't going to dog it up there. I felt like I needed to get it up high, and maybe a little less speed, it might have had a chance.
Q. And then talk about what you had at 10, and just what kind of bonus that was.
BILL HAAS: 10, I hit a nice 3 wood there. There's really a small area that you can hit it in. And kind of had a tricky angle but was able to kind of, I really saw Greg Chalmers was just short in front of me, and chipped to it looks like six or seven feet short and I thought that was a good play, because if you get it past the hole, it was going off the green. I had a really nice lie, and in that grass, you can really spin one, and it came off just like I wanted.
Q. Talk about just the conditions today. It seemed like it would be a good day to go low but not a lot of guys have.
BILL HAAS: Temperature wise, it's fabulous, but with that comes some of the fairways are really running out, the greens are difficult to hit and getting firmer and firmer. Just because it's playing shorter doesn't mean it's necessarily playing easier I don't think. Today I was able to save a shot, make a couple nice par saves. I hit some really nice chips from around the greens.
Q. Do you think Webb Simpson has a chance tomorrow? (Webb entering interview room).
BILL HAAS: Absolutely. (Laughter).
Q. When you won last year and the year finished not the way you wanted to, not getting into THE TOUR Championship, did you change your outlook for thinking for this year?
BILL HAAS: It's not much different than last year in the sense that I really want to make it to THE TOUR Championship, and that was my goal last year, especially after winning here.
So certainly had a very disappointed, sour taste in my mouth after the way I finished it off. And it was all self inflicted. So I think I know I'm 30 and I should be mature but I think sometimes out there I'm immature and I'm still trying to learn to play the game better mentally just as much as I am physically.
Q. You talked about what your goal was on 10 today and you had a fair amount of success there so far; is that the same approach you've always taken, getting back to last year and the playoff?
BILL HAAS: My goal?
Q. On 10, is that the same sort of thing you're trying to do there.
BILL HAAS: Trying to make a birdie. But it changes daily. Today was a 3-wood. Yesterday was a driver. I mean, just wind changes, temperature, the softness of the greens, where the pin is. It changes by the minute, not necessarily by the day, of what people are hitting. Hopefully when I get to that tee box tomorrow, I'll make a game plan.
Q. Can you talk about one or key variables about your game that's brought you so much success as of late?
BILL HAAS: You know, to have success on the PGA TOUR, you've got to putt well, and yesterday I made I chipped in on the last hole for par. I certainly was not playing that well, and to be able to shoot 4 under you can say I'm playing well but if you watched me play yesterday, you wouldn't have said that.
Today I struck the ball a little bit better and the putter felt pretty good. No one thing; every day is a new day and you're always working. My dad always said, when you're playing well, you're not far off from playing poorly; and when you're playing poorly, you're not far off from playing well. So there's just such a fine detail in your swing that can change daily. So you just always keep working on it.
Q. When you say last year you were not playing well, it was self inflicted, what sort of demons were you facing?
BILL HAAS: Just not wanting to play poorly, and it snowballs on you and you play poorly because of that and you start doubting yourself; and worrying about the results I think my biggest thing is worrying about the result more than focusing on the task at hand and letting the results just happen.
LAURA NEAL: Thank you, Bill, and good luck tomorrow.