What they said: Jay Haas

November 02, 2012
PGA TOUR staff

MORE INTERVIEWS: Charles Schwab Cup Championship transcript archive

PHIL STAMBAUGH: Jay, quite a day for you out there with 10-under, 60 today matching the all time Champions Tour low score. You make 10 birdies, shoot 28 on the back 9, quite a magical day. Just general comments about the round and then go through the birdies.

JAY HAAS: Well, it was just a very magical day for me for sure. I had a great pairing. I love playing with Freddie. We were buddies from way back. I've been his assistant on the President's Cup the last couple of times when he has been captain taken. We just have a lot of history. We've known each other a long time. It was a relaxed a round as you can play in this situation. I had that going for me.

I played very well. I didn't drive it perfectly, but I drove it well. I hit a lot of greens. I think I only missed one green and that I chipped in. So I had a quite a few chances. I made some nice midrange putts but gave myself a lot of opportunities. It was just a wonderful day. One of those that you just don't want to end. I like to keep on going out there and see how many more I can tack on.

But the course is magnificent. I'm sure you've heard that from a lot of players. The fairways are like carpets. The greens are perfect. So if I hit a poor shot it's my fault. There is no excuses on a bad bounce or a bad lie or anything like that. It was just fun.

PHIL STAMBAUGH: You were only 1-under after the first five holes, sort of when did you really get the momentum going? Just talk about the birdies and the overall feeling.

JAY HAAS: The chip-in at 10 I think. 3-under on the front was obviously very good. I hit an 8-iron to about a foot and a half at No. 2. And then 6, the tee was up there, and we could drive the green, and I hit just short of the green and clipped to about a foot and a half.

And then 8, I made a nice putt, 15 feet maybe, after a somewhat poor chip from just short of the green there.

But then the chip-in at 10 got me going. I hit a pretty good second shot there, hit the green and spun off. I didn't have a great lie. I spent about an hour with Stan Utley up here at Grayhawk, and he gave me some tips. I told him I was chipping really poorly, and he gave me some things to think about. I chipped one in on the Pro-Am day, and I chipped one in today, and I feel like I'm doing the right thing so it was time well spent on Monday. And I certainly have to give Stan applaud for that.

PHIL STAMBAUGH: How far was the chip-in?

JAY HAAS: The chip was 35 feet maybe.

11, I hit an 8-iron to about seven feet, I guess. I kind of shoot of known my day was going really well because I thought I pushed the putt, and I started walking, and I misread it. It broke a lot more than I thought and it caught the high edge and went into the hole. So that was a good break.

Then I made a nice putt. I hit a 9-iron to 15 feet on No. 12 and made it.

I hit a gap wedge to about 15 feet on 13 and made it. And then 15 was the break of the day really. I hit a really nice drive. I had too much club in my hand with my 21 degree hybrid club and hit it in the neck just a little bit, it hit just sort of the green and kicked up to eight or nine feet. It was a real easy putt. I didn't make it. That one saved me a shot, if not 2 there. It wasn't an awful shot, but I didn't hit it the way I wanted to hit it. But it turned out nicely.

17, I hit a beautiful 5-iron, just rolled passed the hole about 8 feet and I made that.

18, I hit a 5-iron into the green side bunker, and knew at that stage if I made it it was for 59. I was trying to talk myself into it. I can't remember another time that I've had a chance to shoot a 59. I was thinking about it without question. I hit a decent bunker shot. It stopped a little quicker for me than I thought, maybe came up five feet short, and I made that putt.

Q. You mentioned that you knew where you were at at that point, did it start creeping in any time earlier that you thought where do I stand here??

JAY HAAS: Yes, unfortunately it did on No. 14. I had it probably 8 feet straight up the hill, maybe the easiest putt of the entire day, and I got thinking, you know, I know better, but I was thinking if I could make that one, I got two par-5s left and, hey, there is a chance.

Then right away I caught myself, come on, dammit, don't be thinking that way. One at a time, one shot at a time. And I hit a decent putt, and I misread that and missed it on the low side. I actually misread the putt pretty poorly. It broke left quite a bit. I thought it was pretty straight.

Then I turned around and hit that shot at the next hole and got it 8 feet for eagle, and thinking well, if I make this one, and make a couple coming in. It was definitely in the back of my mind. And I didn't make that putt.

Then I hit a really nice putt at 16 from about 20 feet, not a great second shot. But the putt about halfway I thought I might have made that one. It was fun to hit a lot of good shots and a lot of good putts. My pace was really good today and it has been for two days.

Q. Is that like a no-hitter, nobody says anything??

JAY HAAS: Well, I don't think either of us would have said, if one of us needed a birdie or an eagle on the last hole, we know what's going on, just like a no-hitter. Yes, you wouldn't make any dumb comment like that. I hope I wouldn't. But in my mind, sure I'm thinking about it. As I'm sure most pitchers are thinking no-hitter but they just don't talk about it.

Q. You said 14 you started to realize that you had a chance, so how often did you have to have that conversation with yourself to get back into what you were doing??

JAY HAAS: That was kind of the only time, although when I did hit the shot at 15, had it 8 feet for eagle, and I missed the putt, then it was like it was gone, forget it. I got to birdie the last three holes, and I can't even hit the green on 17 a lot of times.

I was not thinking oh birdie the last three and you can do it. That kind of washed out right there. I was trying to continue to hit the fairways, hit the greens and trying to make as many birdies as I could.

Q. I hope you get a chance to see the replay on that thing, it was like you were on cruise control. It was like no surprise it was a 60. It was more of a surprise it wasn't any lower than that.

JAY HAAS: I hit a lot of good shots on the back 9. I had a ton of chances. 9, I had a pretty good opportunity. Early on, 1 was a decent putt at it. 3, not really. 4, not really. 5, almost made it from about 25 feet there. The ones at 14 and 15, those two were the ones inside ten feet that maybe weren't so difficult.

Q. Could you talk a little more about playing with Fred today? I guess early on the back 9, when he was also really going, he made similar putts, and then you kind of had the same line; he showed you the way on a couple of holes

JAY HAAS: Right. Well, like I said, he is a friend, has been a friend. We are probably going on 30 plus years now where we have known each other and just seemed to get along. The personalities seem to mesh or whatever. We just enjoy each other's company, go to dinners, just hang out together. He has a good sense of humor. I think he likes my sense of humor.

It's a fun day when you have a pairing like that. All of the guys I get along with out here, all fun guys to play with. But maybe he's the one that I've spent the most time with in the last 30 years. So that's a charge.

And then you're right, I birdied 10 and he birdied 11, 12, 13, 14. And I birdied 10, 11, 12, 13. And in that three-hole stretch, 11, 12, 13, he made one and I made one on top of him. And I wasn't thinking I have to stay ahead of him because there is such a long way to go. I know he is going to be making them, and I am trying to continue.

I think when we get into a flow like that the cup looks big. You can see the pace of the putts. The putts that he made were just right in the middle, there was no doubt about it. So it gave me a nice visual when I was over my putts. Again, I couldn't have asked for a better day, really.

Q. So, of course, the question is what about tomorrow? How do you come into the day thinking? How do you to manage to keep yourself sort of in that same pace without pressing?

JAY HAAS: And that's something that I've dealt with, or try to deal with my whole career. The way I talk myself into it is that this is the position that I try to get myself into my entire career. I don't want to be in 30th place. I want to be in first place. So if I'm in that position, why not enjoy it? I like the feeling of being nervous and uptight and a bad shot is very costly.

Again, if I'm in 30th place, a bad shot, so what? It's not going to cost me one or two places. But I just try to do what I've been doing. I've been swinging well. I like the golf course. I like the way it sets up. I'm still learning it though. This is just the fourth time I played it today. I played Tuesday practice round, Wednesday Pro-Am and the last two tournament days. I'm still kind of learning the course and thankfully the climate, the weather is just identical every day.

So you just know, yesterday I hit an 8-iron on this hole, I hit a 6-iron. It's easier to learn it that way than if the wind was switching around, or if it's cooler one day, windy the next day, things like that. I guess I will have Tom Lehman tomorrow. I love playing with Tom. If he is not our best player out here he is one of the Top-3. He will be a great example for me to go out and try to hang with him tomorrow and try to shoot -- my goal right now is to drive it in the fairway on the first hole and go from there. That's the only thing I can control.

Q. For all that you've won on this Tour you haven't won the season finally. I'm sure you're motivated to win all the time, but is there anything special about this event is a little extra for you??

JAY HAAS: Other than the fact that I haven't won. I had a great chance at Sonoma maybe my first year I played in it. I think I had a five or six shot lead the last day and Tom Watson shot 64 and beat me by a shot. That was very disappointing.

It seems like in the past, I come into that tournament not playing great. This tournament, not playing as well as I did maybe for the course of the year. It's not like it owes me or anything like that. It's just fun to be playing well in this field with the Top-30 players and trying to distinguish myself in that regard, trying to be the best this week. That's what we all try to do. There is no extra incentive every time I go out and play a tournament. I want to win, and hopefully I can be in that position.

Q. A Schwab Cup question, you have won two of these, and several other guys have won 2, but no one has ever won 2 in a row. And Lehman maybe is halfway home to doing that. Can you explain why that is and why is it hard to win it two years in a row??

JAY HAAS: You wouldn't expect that. Although I think if they would have had this -- what is this now?

PHIL STAMBAUGH: Twelfth year.

JAY HAAS: So if they would have had it for 20 years, it would be hard to believe that Hale Irwin wouldn't have won it five times in a row with as many tournaments he has won out here. Just kind of a timing thing.

The year I didn't win, I guess I finished second that year. It's just a lot of good players out here. The field is getting deeper all the time. Look at Tom, you would think that he would just be walking away with it this year. But Bernhard again has come on the end of this year and taken this lead. I don't know where his position is in the tournament right now, but I would look for him at the end of the week to be in the Top-5, if not knocking on the door to win the tournament. I don't know any rhyme or reason why there hasn't been a 2-time defending champion to win it.

Q. After you guys finished, they went to the booth and Lannie was saying now is the time for you to shift into winning the tournament mode. And you are a veteran and you know how to do that. You just said that you are thinking about tomorrow is getting that first drive in the fairway. Is it time to shift into the win the tournament mode and what is the winning the tournament mode to you??

JAY HAAS: Yes, well, maybe I have to have dinner with Lannie to find out what that is, what shifting into that gear is. Lannie was an unbelievable winner on our PGA TOUR. He was just very good. He was just one of the best players out there. So it wasn't easy for him. He won a lot of events, and when he was a front runner, and he was in the lead, he usually sealed the deal. He had his nose out in front, he was going to win.

I don't know what that is. To me it starts with the physical part of it, hitting good shots. If I'm playing well, if I feel like I'm driving the ball in the fairway, hitting it on the green, then I'm confident.

If I'm not doing that, it's hard to say, oh, boy I'm confident, I'm going to win this tournament. It starts to me with the actual physical part of driving the ball straight, putting it on the green and making the putts.

So I think maybe I would shift into that mode if there is such a thing with a few holes left on Sunday, but not really until. I'm just going to go out, and I don't know to play any different than I play. Just go and hit a good shot, the next one.

Q. That's what everybody else says.

JAY HAAS: No, but maybe I'll have to pick Lannie's brain. I have his cell phone number, I'll give him a call tonight.

PHIL STAMBAUGH: Well played, congratulations

JAY HAAS: Thank you very much.