The Dollars Say Haas Ought to Stay Awhile
Jay Haas just turned 51. But if ever there was an age that is nothing but a number, this is it. Most men complain that 45 should be the minimum age for the Champions. Haas must believe it should be 55.
People have made a big deal out of 50 and 51 and all that stuff, and I don't feel that it should really be a factor, he said. I can walk 18 holes and I can swing the club.
You know, somebody told me one time, The ball doesn't know your name, it goes right where you hit it, it doesn't matter who you are. If you hit it close, it goes close. It doesn't go closer because you're Tiger or Jack or whoever.
He did it again last week when he finished in a tie for third place playing against the best of the youngsters ' and therefore the best in the world ' in the Target World Challenge. Tiger Woods looked suspiciously like the Tiger of three years ago with the victory. But Haas looked like the Bionic Man with his performance and rounds of 69, 66, 67 and 69.
He might wander off peacefully to the Champions Tour, except its far too profitable to remain one of the regular-tour set. He made $2 million last year ' thats two million! ' even though he failed to win an event. He went to the gate 23 times and made an impressive 20 cuts. Though he didnt get a W, still he finished in the top 10 in eight of the 23 times he teed it up.
If youre wondering why he doesnt move on over to the Champions, consider this: Craig Stadler, the leading money winner on the Champions, won just $2,306,066 ' and thats with five wins, a second and two thirds. Haas made just $300,000 less by playing the regular tour.
Lets face it, a fifth-place finish on the Champions will net you, oh, about $67,000. A fifth-place finish on the PGA Tour will get you, on the average, $180,000. Need we say more? The regular tour is where the money is.
Now, Haas also dipped liberally into the Champions Tour cash. He played three times with the elder gents and picked up $541,921. Oh ' did we mention that he lives in Greenville, S.C.? In Greenville, $541-thou will buy a very nice manse. And thats just the loose change he picked while diddling around with the seniors.
Haas is getting too wealthy to change tours, actually. He thought this year would be the year he would have his retirement parties. But gosh, coupled with the $2.5 million he won in 2003, he just cant afford to leave.
You know, I've enjoyed doing this, he says with a smile. Obviously it's been an unbelievable couple of years here and everything. But I guess I'm not shocked by it, or I haven't really thought in terms of, I don't know however you said it there, just let it ride or whatever.
Jay turned professional way back in 1976 ' thats 28 years ago. In his first 26 years, he made $9.5 million. In the last two, he made $4.5 mil. You think you would change tours if you were him?
I think a couple of years ago I started to play a little bit better, said Haas, and I made a commitment to be committed to every shot. Don't play a shot that you're not - even if it's the wrong club, the wrong idea, whatever - let it go. You know, don't try to steer it, don't try to guide it.
So dont expect any great changes for Haas as to where he will compete this year. I guess I still feel like I can hit the shots, still feel like I can compete with these guys, he said.
I read Colin's (Montgomie's) comments that he can't drive it as good or hit his irons as good or putt as good or chip as good as Tiger and everything, but he just has to outscore him. And I guess that's kind of the mentality that someone like myself has to have.
Its nice to see someone like Jay Haas become wealthy in his middle-age years. And the youngsters probably are saying, Why dont you play with someone your own age? Haas just cant afford it.
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Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59
Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.
While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.
He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.
"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."
Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.
"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."
Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot
When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.
Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.
"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"
The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.
Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.
"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."
DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate
World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.
Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.
"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."
Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.
Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.
"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."
Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.
"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."
LPGA lists April date for new LA event
The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.
When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.
The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.
The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.