The 2004 Senior PGA Championship
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Interview with Jay Haas

May 31, 2004

JULIUS MASON: Ladies and gentlemen, our runner?up in the 65th Senior PGA Championship is Jay Haas. Jay, congratulations on your play today. If you wouldn't mind giving us a recap of what went on out there today. Maybe some thoughts for the whole week and then we'll go to Q and A.

JAY HAAS: Well, I felt like I did what I needed to do today, tee to green. I played beautifully. I bogeyed the third hole right off the start there and then played 2 under the last 15 holes. So I felt like in these conditions -- I'm pleased. I really can say that I'm disappointed. Hale's a great champion. And it was a great week for me. I did not know what to expect coming in here, just -- I tell you, I played, beside my putting, I don't think I putted great, I didn't putt awful but I didn't putt great. Besides that, I played about as well as I could play. I think I only missed one fairway in the last two days. And I put myself into a lot of positions to score. So I got to say that it's been a great week.

JULIUS MASON: Questions?

Q: Can you kind of recap 18 from the 5?wood on. And even the drive as it started drifting.

JAY HAAS: Yeah, I hit a good drive and I knew there was quite a bit of wind left?to?right. But I felt like I kind of had to ride the wind to be able to reach the green. And I blocked it a little bit, but I was really never thinking that it was in the water or in trouble or anything. And then I had 232 or something to the pin. I felt like wind was mostly left?to?right. Maybe a shade of help, but with the uphill, I felt like a 5?wood was the perfect club for me. When I looked up and saw in the air it was basically right at the flag. And then the wind drifted it a little right. And even when I saw it bounce, I thought it had just gone over the green, it would have been on the upslope, would have been a pretty elementary chip. And from where I was, it, I guess I felt like I just needed to give myself a chance there. I couldn't get too cute with it, I could have sliced right under it and with the wind coming at me, it wasn't so difficult to keep it up on the top tier. But it was not -- the ball was way above my feet and it wasn't sitting real great. So I felt pretty good with the pitch shot, but then I just hit a very poor putt, probably one of the worst shots I hit all day. If anything I'm disappointed in, it's that. I felt like I needed to make 4 to get into a playoff. I felt like -- I looked back and I saw Hale was in the fairway, so I figured he was going to make 4. Just the kind of things you do when you're winning or going to win the tournament. So I really felt like I needed that putt. And I just didn't do it. That's -- there's work to be done, hopefully I can learn something from this week and carry it forward.

Q: Taking the whole week into account, is this one of the strangest tournaments you've been involved in?

JAY HAAS: Yeah, I guess with everything being my first Champions Tour event, sitting around the locker room, we have done that quite often, I can -- many times at Muirfield village where we're going this week, it's -- but everything rolled into it, yeah, with the floods and everything. It just, it was pretty different. That's for sure.

Q: At Augusta a lot of people were saying, "Are you playing your best golf?" And you said. Until you win you're not going to say that.

JAY HAAS: Right.

Q: Can you just talk about the emotions of wanting to get back in the victory circle again?

JAY HAAS: Yeah, I guess that's, like I said, that's disappointing that I didn't get that done. I had as good an opportunity as I'm going to have. Until I do, I -- you just never know when it's going to happen. I just looked up, I guess Hale has got 40 or 41 victories on the Champions Tour now and I have zero. So I've got a long way to go. He was for 30 years or 25 plus years on the regular TOUR, he was someone to contend with every single week. And obviously no different out here. He takes care of himself, he is a wonderful ball striker, great putter. He does it all. He's got the entire package. But, yeah, that's -- if there's any disappointment at all in the week it's that I didn't get my name on that trophy.

Q: You just turned 50 and Hale is almost 59 now. I know you just talked about it, but just, what does that say about him that he's had that kind of staying power?

JAY HAAS: Well, physically he's obviously taken care of himself. He's got the kind of body that has lasted. I know he had some back problems last year and I know he's probably pleased with the way that's, the way he's been able to come from that. I don't know, just what it takes to be on top, to continue to grind, to continue to work at it, he's got a lot of self motivation and someone that we can all look up to out here.

Q: Would you talk about the future of Valhalla with the Ryder Cup coming in four years, you've seen it before, there's been a lot of talk about courses changing and the problems of it being too short and technology and all that. Talk about what you think of it after seeing it now.

JAY HAAS: I don't think it was too short this week. Just the way it played, being so soft and everything. But if the ball gets running, it could. I think for in the future -- I remember in 2000 when Tiger and Bob shot 18?under maybe? For four rounds? That's really low, even though it was in pretty difficult, pretty tough shape, a lot of rough and things like that. So I think probably they would have to narrow the fairways a little bit. And it's just -- when we play -- now the Ryder Cup being played in September, you're probably going to get some dryer conditions, firmer, faster greens, which that's the whole deal, the firm fast greens. If you can get that, I think it if we had no rain this week, I don't think 8?under would have been the number. But I don't know, they have got some back tees, I see they have got a back tee at 16, they didn't use the tee at 5, but the firm, fast greens is what keeps the scores from going too low.

Q: You had to make the decision not to play the PGA TOUR event in Memphis this week, to come here.

JAY HAAS: Right.

Q: Was it your mindset, okay, if I'm going to give up potential points there, let's go do really well here?

JAY HAAS: Oh, hey, absolutely. Certainly I just didn't want to show up and go through the motions and be my first event and all that and then go back to the regular TOUR. No, I gave it a hundred percent here just the way I would do at any event. I guess I feel like I'm going to play in enough regular TOUR events to -- if I play well, I will have enough opportunities to make points to make the team. If I don't play well, then I won't have that opportunity. So I'm going to play in I think 7 more regular TOUR events with three Majors in there, Majors are quadruple points, so if I play well in a couple of the Majors, I think I'll be able to do it. But I'm giving -- I think I've given myself the opportunity, I can't look back and say, "Gosh, I wish I would have played at Memphis this week, maybe I could have gotten some points there." I think this was a great week for me, I really played well. I was basically by the lead, within one or two of the lead the whole for 72 holes, 70 holes, basically, so I thought I handled that well and I can carry that with me for the next few weeks on the regular TOUR.

JULIUS MASON: Questions? Questions twice? Congratulations again, Jay. Thanks for coming down.

JAY HAAS: Thank you, gentlemen. Appreciate it.

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