MORE INTERVIEWS: Wyndham transcripts archive
JOHN BUSH: We'd like to welcome Bill Haas into the interview room here at the Wyndham Championship.
Making his 9th start for this tournament. Coming off of a T-7 last year. Bill, first of all, comment on being back here in Greensboro.
BILL HAAS: Always love coming back, close to where I went to school at Wake. I hear a lot of "Go Deacons!" out there.
Mark Brazil, here at the tournament, gave me a couple spots right when I first turned pro and that meant a lot to me so this is one that I pretty much pencil in at the beginning of the year. It would take a lot for me to miss this week.
JOHN BUSH: No. 6 on the FedExCup. You won at the AT&T National, and a career best 9 Top-10 finishes.
BILL HAAS: That was kind of my goal. I always said if I could have Matt Kuchar's career I would be doing all right, consistently up there. I would like to have Tiger and Phil and those guys but I love how Kuchar seems to be there every week and, you know, I certainly had some off weeks this year but definitely been a little bit more consistent than any other year on Tour. So it's been a lot of fun and certainly would love to continue that trend this week.
JOHN BUSH: Questions.
Q. As the field grows and as this tournament becomes more popular and you guys kind of rise up in the ranks, you and Webb and Brandt, what makes it about this course and about this place that you guys constantly pencil it in no matter how big you get?
BILL HAAS: Like I just said before, for me it's somewhat personal and the fact they gave me a couple spots when I was first turned pro. I think I should -- they've done a lot for me. If I can do anything to come back and help out the tournament, I do it.
But also the golf course is fantastic. I think it's the only Donald Ross course we play on a yearly basis, play a few Majors out there on some Ross courses but just a fantastic layout. Got the new bermuda greens going to -- you're going to see scores a little higher and higher, which I'm sure they want to see.
It will be a good test of golf but I think you'll see -- still see some birdies out there. It's a fun course to play and, you know, one of those weeks I think it's great, gears you up for The Playoffs.
Q. Bill, you mentioned consistency. Why have you been more consistent this year and did Julie and the baby, is this the first time they came to the tournament?
BILL HAAS: They did come to Rochester and went to Greenbrier. This is the third week that they're out. You know, that's been amazing. Certainly when I get off the golf course maybe I forget a little bit quicker the 74 I just shot or something like that. Maybe put things in perspective a little bit.
Q. Is that maybe why you're consistent?
BILL HAAS: Maybe. Maybe trying to be a little more patient out there. I'm still trying to learn patience and just trying to get better mentally and obviously better physically. Still a grind in trying to work hard week in and week out.
Q. Bill, somebody who is familiar with the area from your days in college when you're not playing and you're back in the Piedmont, do you have places you like to go, things you like to do, activities, hangouts?
BILL HAAS: I haven't gotten a chance this year but I seem to always want to go up and ride through campus and just reminisce a little bit. Probably one of my best times of my life, those four years. And my uncle still the coach there, Jerry Haas. Saw him already this week. And just great to get those feelings of being young again, I guess. That's kind of the feeling I have around this area.
So, yeah, I mean I certainly -- restaurants around here, I mean Winston little bit more home than maybe Greensboro but they're close enough to where we certainly spend a lot of time down here when I was in school.
Q. What can this do, a win here going into The Playoffs? I know it's happened to guys who won here, Sergio last year who got just a boost.
Talk about what that can do for anybody.
BILL HAAS: Sure. I think every week we tee it up to win and obviously just it's so hard to win out here but I think my goal is just to try to play solid golf and hopefully on Sunday get a chance and then you just never know.
You come out and strike it well and Sunday, just anytime you can have a chance to win it's a lot of fun. So with The Playoffs right around the corner, can only help. The Playoffs are weighted so much more that you can do a lot more damage maybe the next few weeks, maybe moreso for a few other guys right on the bubble.
Buddy of mine, Kyle Reifers to get in here, he's playing this week just to get into those four events, the Web.com finals, and so he's playing for a lot more, maybe than I'm playing for but I certainly am not going to give him anything coming down the stretch on Sunday if we're right there.
It's just a great week. Lot more action going on for a lot of players. Lot of people playing for a lot of different things and I think that makes this tournament have a little extra buzz than maybe some other ones.
Q. 18-under won each of the last two years. With the greens, according to most of the people who have played it, a lot faster and firmer, give us a rough idea for what you think the winning score on Sunday might be.
BILL HAAS: I'm going to predict higher than that. So, I guess 12 to 14-under, maybe winning. I just think the rough, it's a little down but that doesn't make it easier.
I think it makes the ball -- you see a line and you think you got an opportunity maybe to knock it on the green. That's when you get a flyer and go over and I've only played -- I played both years but this year the greens seem firmer than they've ever been and that's the difference.
These greens are small. So when they're soft, they play bigger. You can hit the greens from the rough even. But this year, there was a couple times when the middle of the fairway I landed in the middle of the green and went over the green.
No. 11 is the longest hole, downwind today. I hit it right in the middle of the green and it went over the green. Over that green is almost a guaranteed bogey.
I did everything right on that hole but I probably would have made a bogey depending on where the pin was. You're certainly going to see some higher scores this year, I think.
Q. Webb sort of talked about how most of the courses you play are just large courses and long courses and then a lot of guys get tricked up by Donald Ross' genius and the tricks on the course. You've seen the course. What advice would you give to the Jordan Speiths of the world?
BILL HAAS: I don't want to give any advice to Jordan Speith. He's super talented and proved to everybody he's a force to be reckoned with. Maybe these old style courses, they have a few -- maybe takes a couple years to learn it.
I think I'm still learning some things about the course. But there's no secret this week, you got to hit the fairway and once you do, you got to keep the ball underneath the hole or there's guys I've heard, guys putting it off the green on No. 10.
No. 12 today, the pin was on the front. You hit one a little too hard it could go off the green. I don't know. It's tricky but I think it's all right there.
All the old courses are right there in front you. You see a shot, you hit it. If you don't, you'll be penalized.
Q. Bill, I think this is your 9th Wyndham. You played as a sophomore.
BILL HAAS: Something like that.
BILL HAAS: That sounds right.
Q. Is it hard to believe you're playing in your 9th tournament? Got to be most you played, right?
BILL HAAS: This one was an extra one. This is my 8th year on Tour so 8 of those and then the extra one there in college. It is hard to believe. I don't feel nine years out of school. Like I was saying, when I come back here I feel young I feel like -- I wish I was in college again but it's nice. It's nice that I can say I played out here nine years and hopefully I'm here for my 18th.
Q. Do you remember anything from the '02?
BILL HAAS: I remember the first tee shot. I was playing with Ben Crane at Forest Oaks. I don't know who else was in the group.
The tee shot there is kind of down a road. I remember thinking, "Don't hit it over the road. Get it out there and play and go from there."
I definitely remember having the nerves there but I missed the cut so I remember that which was disappointing but it was fun being in college and getting to tee it up against my dad that week and also against the rest of the best players in the world.
Q. Reminiscing on your college days, Chris Paul said the first time he picked up a club was because of you. You said you were better at basketball than he was.
He said he might be better at basketball than golf. That's what he said last year. You've seen him play golf now, how is your basketball game compared to his if he can step it up in golf?
BILL HAAS: He's definitely a better golfer than I am a basketball player, we're comparing the levels of where maybe he is in his basketball and me compared to the golf.
But I used to think I could play a little bit when I was growing up, I could shoot it okay but I quickly saw my talent level fading and golf I was going better so I made the smart decision. I love basketball. I enjoy it.
I live and breathe Wake Forest basketball and I'm a huge Chris Paul fan and have been ever since he was there at Wake and it's fun to watch him play.
It's neat he does come out here and do it because I don't know, that even we were allowed to, I don't know that I could go play pick up ball with him and Dwight Howard. He's out here teeing it up with us.
It's great that he does it. It's great for the tournament, great for this area that he stays involved.
JOHN BUSH: All right. Bill, thank you for your time.