"We are so looking forward to coming to Canterbury," Haas said Monday. "What a great opportunity we have to compete on a championship venue." (Photo: The PGA of America)
Defending champion Haas meets the media at Canterbury
Two-time and defending Senior PGA Champion Jay Haas got his first look at Canterbury Golf Club, site of the 70th Senior PGA Championship, plus fielded a few questions on Monday during the annual Media Day.
Read the 70th Senior PGA Championship Media Day Transcript
CLEVELAND -- Set amid the rolling hills of one of the nation's most revered golf layouts and a picturesque Ohio sky, a large assortment of media, government and golf industry professionals kicked off festivities for the 70th Senior PGA Championship with an enthusiastic welcome on Media Day.
Defending Senior PGA Champion Jay Haas joined Bill Towson, the General Chair of the 70th Senior PGA Championship, Jim Remy, President of The PGA of America, and Doug Grabert, NBC Sports Golf Director, on the dais to discuss the planning, logistics, history and the coverage of the Championship, which will be contested May 21-24.
Haas, who has won two of the last three Senior PGA Championships, spoke of his affinity for the event, the course and the support of The PGA of America.
"The PGA of America is the root of what we do," Haas noted. "What they do, the club professionals around the country, it's a great honor to represent them."
Haas, who played the course for the first time during Media Day, still spoke of his great appreciation and reverence of the facility.
"We are so looking forward to coming to Canterbury," Haas told the gathering. "What a great opportunity we have to compete on a championship venue; it really gives it the feeling of something special. What the PGA has done, taking this championship to some of the great courses of the country, it really has made this event stand out."
Haas then spoke of the challenge of trying to win the Champions Tour's first major of the season for the third time.
"It gets tougher and tougher with the incredible fields that are competing on the Champions Tour -- so to have my name on the trophy twice, that's really a treat," said Haas, a nine-time winner on the PGA Tour who has added 12 more titles on the senior circuit. "You just look at (Sunday, the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf won by Lehman and Bernhard Langer), if anybody watched that, with Tom Lehman winning his first senior event; I kind of shake my head and think, that guy's 50 already? Doesn't seem possible. Bob Tway I think will make his debut here in a few weeks.
"It's getting tougher and tougher to win a tournament, tougher and tougher to be up there on the Money List every year."
Haas recounted his victory last year at Oak Hill, where he not only won his second Alfred S. Bourne trophy, but exorcised the demons from Oak Hill's 18th hole that had haunted him since his disappointing finish at the 1995 Ryder Cup at the same facility. His ultimate retribution was his induction onto Oak Hill's clubhouse wall that honors great performances at their championships with a bronze plaque.
Haas also shared some thoughts about the state of the game. He noted that in a time of economic uncertainty, the responsibility of players to appreciate their lives in golf and the fans and businesses that support them is paramount.
"We (the players) know how fortunate we are to have this opportunity and it's our job to show our appreciation to the companies, the fans and the volunteers that make it possible," Haas said. "We've always done a good job of that I think on our Tour, but it's more important than ever before."
Haas even talked of how advances in technology has given new life to players on the senior circuit -- and may have allowed him to avoid the disastrous pop-up drive at the 1995 Ryder Cup.
"If you look at the video, you'll see the small headed wooden driver," he joked. "No way that happens now with the large titanium heads. You can't help but hit it solid."
PGA President Jim Remy also highlighted the strong field that will be taking part at the 70th Senior PGA Championship that will include 23 major championship winners (with a combined 42 major championship wins), 11 former U.S. or European Ryder Cup captains and eight World Golf Hall of Fame members.