the Memorial Tournament interview: Bill Haas

May 31, 2013

the Memorial Tournament transcripts

Great round, especially considering some pretty high scores out there today. You extended your lead pretty well on a day that was pretty difficult. Talk about the round itself and obviously bogeyed the last was pretty disappointing, but the day itself you have to be pretty encouraged.

BILL HAAS: Absolutely. I hit a couple of loose shots. No. 11, the wind right‑to‑left and I hit a provisional, I thought it was out of bounds. We got out there and it must have hit a tree and it was fine and ended up making birdie. That was probably a three shot swing there. Huge hole for me there.

18, obviously disappointing, probably my best iron shot, carried a little farther than I wanted and stayed up over the green, which is really no good. But leading on a good shot is nice, but I hit two nice quality shots on 18.

Q. How were the conditions this morning compared with the afternoon yesterday here?

It was pretty similar, actually. Maybe even a hair more difficult today. Maybe‑‑ the wind blew similar‑‑ the same direction, which helps, and it's about up the same speed. But those greens are lightning fast, I think that's the biggest deal. With that kind of wind and that fast of greens, it's very difficult to make putts, and I've just been fortunate to see a few go in.

But it's going to be tough this afternoon for this time. I hope if keeps blowing, because we certainly got a little bit yesterday afternoon. You saw a lot of good scores yesterday morning, but they were playing some decent wind yesterday, as well.

Q. You have done well on the par‑5s, can you talk about the importance of those and the risk and reward of those holes?

Yeah, I think it's well worth your risk if you hit nice tee shots, if you can kind of hug the trouble, say like No. 11, if you can keep it down the left side there, it's a pretty reachable hole. But if you bail right, you can't get there and it's a tough layup and a tough green to hit one close with a wedge.

Yeah, I've been very fortunate, like I said that hole, turned a 7 into a 4 real quick and made a nice putt at 15, holed out from the bunker on 5. That hole is playing downwind, so it's very reachable for pretty much everybody in the field. But anytime you hole out of a bunker, a lot of things have to go your way.

Q. If there was a category for best player in The Memorial, it might be your dad. Did he ever talk to you about this tournament? Do you have any special feelings for yourself for this place because of how well your dad played?

Yeah, absolutely. I caddied here for my dad when I was in college and loved it then. Mr. Nicklaus gave me a sponsor exemption when I first turned pro to play in this event. It's something I'll never forget, because this is one of the greatest fields in golf to play when you're just out of college. It meant a lot to me. And certainly this place, even though I've never really had great success here personally, I love coming back, look forward to it every year. And part of it might be I've always known how much my dad liked it and how well he did here.

Hopefully I can continue on the weekend and get a better taste in my mouth on how to play it as opposed to just liking it.

Q. Along with that, Scott Piercy was in here yesterday and he talked about finally getting himself to gear down around here and hitting a lot of 3‑woods instead of drivers. Have you adjusted your approach to this place at all?

Maybe little bit. With that wind blowing, there are some holes downwind you would probably hit driver. I definitely hit more 3‑woods out here than I remember, I don't know if that's gearing down or playing the wind. There's not many of us out here as long as Scott Piercy. He pounds the ball. I would think he's hitting a lot of 3‑woods and hybrids off the tees.

Q. You've had a lot of top‑10s so far already this year, but it feels like you came in maybe a little under the radar, do you like that, maybe not being mentioned with the quote‑unquote favorites coming into the tournament, but knowing you're playing well?

Yeah, I mean, it doesn't matter if you're a favorite or not. If you don't play well, you don't play well.

I've missed my last two cuts before this week, so certainly my expectations were a little lower than they were earlier this year. But I had a great two weeks off, I had a son. I've been having great fun with that at home with my wife. And I think I'm just in a better frame of mind than I was three weeks ago after missing my second cut in a row. I don't know if I give that credit or just the break was nice. I did some decent practicing at home last week. Might just be in a different frame of mind. I don't know if it's better or worse.

Your question, under the radar, I love being under the radar, that's fine with me. Let your clubs do the talking and hopefully at the end of the week I'm happy to surprise anyone.

Q. Your son was born when, Bill?

On the 13th.

Q. Of this month?

Of this month, yeah. Monday of Dallas.

Q. First child?

First child.

Q. How hard was it to leave him?

It was very difficult. Like I said, this is a tough week to skip. Only way I would have skipped it if he was born maybe last week and I felt like I really needed to help my wife at home. But she's getting a bunch of help. My parents and her parents both live in town and getting a lot of help. And I'm getting tons of pictures and videos. I feel very informed with what's going on. She certainly is toughing it out through the nights by herself. If anything else, it makes me that much more excited to get home.

Q. How much did you sleep the first night that you were here?

It's been a couple of great nights (laughter).

Q. Do you think you are just viewing life differently or viewing golf differently?

Maybe. Part of me thought I wasn't going to get mad at the golf course, but that first bogey I made, I caught myself angry. But quickly I realized things are going good in your life right now. I don't really say that to myself, but I think that way in a sense that there's a lot more things important going on, so maybe I'm just a little quicker to rebound from being mad. But I think everybody out here gets pretty fired up from making mistakes. It's just the best players, it doesn't seem to affect them.

Q. Again, reference to being under the radar, might it be important to be on the radar for The Presidents Cup if you play well here, coming back here in a few months?

Absolutely. I think if I don't win the rest of the season but I have a couple of good finishes, and this being one, it would only help with a pick maybe or‑‑ but I don't want to get picked. I was picked once, and that's an amazing thing to happen. But you'd much rather make the team or earn your spot with points and how you play, which certainly could take care of that this week with a great weekend.

Q. What do you remember from caddying for your dad?

We always joke‑‑ they used to give a Memorial hat for the caddies to wear with their bib. And I really wasn't a hat wearer. And they said, we'll give you 50 bucks a day, do you want a hat or visor? I said I'll take both (laughter).

That's kind of a funny story, but I remember that. I think my dad had a nice week. I remember being there on Sunday, anytime watching him play I really enjoyed.

Q. Do you anticipate that your son will be ready to caddie here for you in 15 or 20 years?

It's hard to imagine. Golf obviously runs in our family and he'll definitely be around it, no matter what‑‑ how long my career goes. But certainly won't push him into it. I hope I'm playing long enough where he can caddie for me.

I realize as much as anyone how great of a career guys like my dad and Kenny Perry have had to still be doing what they've been doing for that long. I would obviously love it one day to have him caddie.

Q. Do you remember what year that was?

I don't really remember where he finished. I could probably figure it out. I mean if it was in college, which I think it was, it was in the early 2000s. I graduated in 2004. It might even have been my senior year in high school, but I thought I was in college.

Q. What did you name your son?

William Harlan Haas, Jr. He's going to go by William.

Q. If I could clarify a point, when they said they offered you a hat or visor or 50 bucks, and you said you'd take both, what did you mean?

He said do you want a hat or visor. I said I don't care for a hat or visor. And he said we'll play you 50 bucks a day. I was like I'll take both. Meaning I'd take the hat and the visor, kidding. And the 50.

I don't think you understand what I'm saying. I was joking, if I got a hat and visor, I'd get $100 for the day, but they didn't go for that.

Q. Did it say Memorial?

I think it said Muirfield Village. I don't think they do that anymore. When I was caddying, they wore the white bib and the hat was an option. Definitely made my decision for me, whether I would take the hat or not.

Q. Do you still have it?

I doubt I do. I should say I do, shouldn't I? I used to always get a T‑shirt here every year I came. I do have tons of Muirfield Village T‑shirts, they have the softest T‑shirts.

Q. I know he's just a couple of weeks old, but what's more difficult the putt like you had on 18 or changing a diaper?

Easiest is the putt on 18. Both are very rewarding. Changing a diaper is very rewarding. But it's been beyond expectations, you know, raising a child for only two weeks, it's been fantastic and I look forward to the rest of the challenge.

CHRIS REIMER: Thanks, Bill, good luck this week.