Jay Haas has cut record in sight after vintage opener at Zurich Classic of New Orleans
April 21, 2022
By Ben Everill , PGATOUR.COM
Jay Haas and Bill Haas on their father-son pairing for Zurich Classic
NEW ORLEANS – Jay Haas knows father time is undefeated but the veteran being called “Pops” by fellow competitors wound back the clock and showed the youngsters a thing or two during the opening round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
Haas, paired with his former FedExCup-winning son Bill, contributed four birdies and a critical par save during the opening round at TPC Louisiana, as the family duo signed for a 7-under 65 in the Four-ball format. It matched the superteam of Viktor Hovland and Collin Morikawa and the defending champions Cameron Smith and Marc Leishman and was just five off the morning wave lead.
The 68-year-old Haas is making his 799th PGA TOUR starts, second on the all-time list behind Mark Brooks (803). He leads the record books with 591 made cuts during a storied career that housed nine TOUR wins and 18 wins on PGA TOUR Champions, where he still plays today.
But if he can get through Friday’s Foursomes format (alternate shot) with his son, Haas will add another record to his incredible resume – that of the oldest player to make a cut on the PGA TOUR. One more swing at father time.
Sam Snead set the record by making the cut at the 1979 Manufacturers Hanover Westchester Classic at 67 years, 2 months and 23 days. Snead was actually in the field when Jay Haas made his TOUR debut at the 1973 Wyndham Championship.
“Hopefully I can hit some good shots and make some birdies and everything, but ultimately to be with my son, again, on the grandest stage here, that's what I'm trying to take from it,” Jay Haas said Wednesday. “I don't want to just show up and go through the motions. The competitive spirit in both of us, and certainly me, I'm going to be hard on myself, but I always am. I always have been. I kick myself all the time hitting bad shots.”
The bad shots were scarce on Thursday. Highlights for the veteran included a 105-yard wedge shot to a foot for their first birdie, and three 17-footers for other birdies along the way.
“I had a ball today, I played well, I felt like I was helpful so that was nice. Hopefully I can continue that throughout the week and we will see what we can do. It was fun today,” Jay Haas said after the round.
When told of Haas’ exploits ahead of them, the super team of Hovland and Morikawa, who were 12 and 13 years old respectively when Haas made his last TOUR start at the 2010 PLAYERS, were extremely impressed.
“What Jay did today (was) very, very impressive,” Morikawa said.
“This course has a handful of holes that are really, really tough, like you've got to hit a really good drive, and you've got probably a long iron in, a few par-3s that you have long irons in. So that's really impressive. It really is. Some of these par-3s are playing over 200 yards. That’s an awesome effort.”
Leishman, who with Smith claimed the title at TPC Louisiana a year ago, called it “beyond special”.
“That’s some awesome playing from Jay. Beyond special really,” Leishman said. “My dad is here in the crowd watching this week which is cool but I can’t imagine how great that would’ve been for Bill today. Hopefully he can add that cut record to his career tomorrow. That would be awesome to see.”
With Bill currently sitting 168th in the FedExCup race, Jay had some initial reluctance in partnering his son during a critical start chasing the Playoffs. But the 2011 FedExCup champion wouldn’t hear of replacing him.
“It's just a good opportunity to play golf and enjoy it and have fun, but also inside the ropes be competitive and him be able to see what I'm talking about when I say either I'm struggling or here I hit a good one, what do you see here?” Bill said. “To have him inside the ropes on my team, it's just a great opportunity, and it's just a special week. Something I'll remember forever.”
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