September 25 2011
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
ATLANTA -- We won't know Fred Couples’ final decision until that teleconference on Tuesday at 5 p.m.
But Bill Haas certainly put himself at the center of the conversation about who will be the U.S. captain's final pick for the Presidents Cup when he won the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola in a playoff on Sunday -- and with it, the FedExCup and it's $10 million bonus.
Couples will likely choose from between Haas, who finished 12th in the Presidents Cup standings; No. 11 Brandt Snedeker and rookie Keegan Bradley, who has won twice this year, including the PGA Championship. Couples has already announced that Tiger Woods will get the other Captain's Pick for the biennial matches that will be held in November at Royal Melbourne.
Haas, for his part, is just happy to have put himself in serious consideration. Bradley tied for 11th on Sunday while Snedeker was tied for 16th.
"I'm not going to say it gets me to Australia," Haas said. "It definitely puts me in the talk up there with some of the guys that everybody has been talking about. I did what I could do. I would love to represent the United States in the Presidents Cup and play for Fred Couples, and I just wanted to play well today because I knew if I didn't play well I could easily play my way out of that talk."
Complicating the situation a little bit right now is the fact that Haas' father Jay is one of Couples' assistant captains. "I'm going to stay out of it and I told Fred that same thing for the last couple of weeks," the elder Haas said as he waited for the awards ceremony to begin.
Jay Haas has played on two Presidents Cup teams and is serving as an assistant captain for the second time this year. His son understands that Couples faces a difficult decision.
"It would be easy to say that he's getting favored or he didn't
get picked because he didn't want to look like he was favored,"
Bill Haas said. "It could work both ways. However the media wants
to spin it, it could be spun as Jay Haas's son got picked as
opposed to Bill Haas got picked. But I think winning here helps
eliminate that, and that was all I wanted to do, play well, play
solid, do what I could do for myself to be looked at as a possible
"Like I said, I'd love to represent the United States and go down and play The Presidents Cup. I think it would be a memory of a lifetime and an experience and just another stepping stone for me to try to get better because I definitely have a lot of room to go."
Jay Haas had 67 texts within minutes after the final putt dropped. Several came from his long-time friend Curtis Strange -- "Proud of your boy, congrats, happy for you guys," he said -- as well as Couples and the other assistant captain, NBA great Michael Jordan. Haas thumbed through his iPhone as he talked about how excited he was that his son had a chance to make the American team.
"I know he was really disappointed last week to shoot 42 on the back nine when he could've finished if off there," Jay Haas said. "So I'm doubly proud of him for coming back this week and playing well and coming back from yesterday's finish too, a bogey, double-bogey finish when he was tied for the lead. I think that says a lot for him. It's hard to overlook that.
"You'd think if Brandt Snedeker or Keegan Bradley or Bill wins this tournament they should get that spot, perhaps. But again, I'm going to stay out of it. You can second guess. Any of these 30 guys, the Americans that are here would be a good pick."
Jay Haas also said he likes the passion he sees in the younger players like the three prime candidates for the final U.S. pick.
“I know Keegan's comments were that I think about it every third hole and I think that's great,” Haas said. “I think that is great that the young guys really want to be on those teams. It means so much to them, Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup. …
"I think that's great for the American tour and there's so many great young guys that are capable and the group's kind of turning over a little bit."