Haas Looks for First Major in 2007

By Associated PressOctober 3, 2007, 4:00 pm
2006 Constellation Energy ClassicBALTIMORE, Maryland -- Jay Haas has just about done it all on the Champions Tour this year.
 
He's won more tournaments, earned more money and had more sub-par rounds than anyone else. He averages the most birdies per 18 holes, owns a tour-best 69.36 scoring average and holds a hefty lead in Charles Schwab Cup points, which could earn him $1 million in bonus money.
 
About the only thing Haas hasn't done is win a major tournament, a shortcoming he hopes to rectify this week at the Senior Players Championship.
 
Oh, Haas isn't about to declare himself the odds-on favorite to win the $2.6 million event, which begins Thursday at the Baltimore Country Club. But he can't deny that he's playing some of the best golf of his life.
 
'I would never say that I feel like I'm the man to beat,' Haas said Wednesday. 'I think that I'm one of a group of guys who, if we play well, will be in contention. But I'm confident and I've been playing well. I've been driving the ball well, my iron game has been pretty good and my putting has been pretty good. Things have been going my way.'
 
It's been like that for two years now. Haas only dabbled in the Champions Tour in 2004 and 2005, choosing instead to test his luck on the more challenging PGA Tour. But last year he turned his attention toward playing with the over-50 crowd, and ended up becoming the first player since Hale Irwin in 2002 to claim the Arnold Palmer Award as the leading money winner and Schwab Cub champion.
 
He's made a fine living on the Champions Tour, earning more than $2.4 million last year (plus the $1 million Schwab bonus) and nearly $2.4 million in 2007.
 
'The money is just incredible out here,' he said. 'I won't say that drives me, but I have five kids and three girls, so there are some weddings in the future and college to pay for. But I have just enjoyed playing. It's fun to go to work, and it's not going to last forever.'
 
Haas won one major tournament in 2006, the Senior PGA Championship. In the majors this year he finished tied for ninth in the Senior PGA Championship, tied for fifth in the U.S. Senior Open, tied for fourth in the British Senior Open and tied for 14th in the JELD-WEN Tradition.
 
He does not expect an easy time of it this weekend. The Senior Players Championship was held from 1990-2006 in Dearborn, Mich., so this week marks the first time many of the golfers have seen this 7,003-yard, par-70 course.
 
'The greens are very slick and have quite a bit of tilt to them. I think the most important part of playing this golf course is to put the ball underneath the hole,' Haas said. 'But also, the course itself is very difficult. It's going to be a real test for us.'
 
It could turn out to be the most challenging course on the tour this year.
 
'Being a new golf course, I guess most of us really don't know how it's going to play out,' he said. 'Generally speaking, when we go to a new place we always think it's harder than it actually is, but I'm afraid this one kind of is pretty difficult.'
 
One of the contenders is Tom Watson, who has played in only 10 events this year but won two and finished in the top 10 eight times.
 
'He's a legend in his spare time,' quipped Haas.
 
Watson, who's ninth on the money list, said, 'I've had a better year this year than I did last year. The last round I played, I was in seven bunkers and got it up and down seven times. That part of my game was really strong. Those kinds of things keep me out here. I enjoy competing, hitting the shots when they count, hitting them well.'
 
The top 10 money winners on the tour this year are among a field of 78 competing for the $390,000 top prize. The defending champion is Bobby Wadkins.
 
The tournament is sponsored by Constellation Energy.
 

Related Links:
  • Full Coverage
  • GOLF CHANNEL Airtimes
  • Getty Images

    Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish

    By Associated PressJuly 23, 2018, 12:25 am

    NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.

    Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.

    The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.

    Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.

    The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.

    Getty Images

    Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him

    By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:07 am

    It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

    Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.

    The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:

    The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.

    For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.

    Getty Images

    Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

    By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

    After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.

    But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.

    Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":

    Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.

    Getty Images

    Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

    By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.

    Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.

    The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.

    “There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.

    “To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”

    Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.

    “To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.