Old Boy Haas Lauds the Elders

By George WhiteFebruary 27, 2003, 5:00 pm
CARLSBAD, Calif. -- OK, whats with this old fella, Mr. Jay Haas? Hes 49 years old, one year away from joining the mellow set on the Champions Tour, yet hes playing in the Accenture Match Play like he intends to stay around for a little while.
 
Haas started play Wednesday with a 5-and-3 win over Retief Goosen. Thursday he stopped Shigeki Maruyama, 1-up. Friday he plays another elderly gentleman, Nick Price, in the third round.
 
Scott Hoch, another player over 45, is still alive also. Loren Roberts took Mike Weir 26 holes in the opening round before losing. Jeff Sluman beat Michael Campbell in the first round before losing to Robert Allenby.
 
Nick is a world-class player, said Haas. Scott Hoch is one of the top six all-time money winners ' these are great players.
 
So I dont think its an upset ever when any of those guys, no matter what age, do well. Loren Roberts won a tournament last year. So I dont think these guys are ready for the scrap heap at all, and neither am I.
 
With equipment meaning even the so-so hitters can belt tee shots 300-plus yards, Haas says the gray hair is more important still than brute strength.
 
Maybe my experience is helping my lack of distance - whatever I might have lost with age. Experience helps to some regard, but if you dont hit the shots
 
Its just something about the older generation that makes the geezers smile. The world can rave about the Charles Howellses and Adam Scotts, but when you speak of the elders, speak with reverence.
 
I think theres a certain kinship there that some of the older guys have, said Haas. We were once that age and trying to whip these old guys and couldnt believe that they beat us ' but they did.
 
We can learn from them and they can learn from us. But its a good feeling. This chair is very comfortable right now, I can tell you that, he said with a laugh while tapping his easy seat.
 
Price agreed.
 
I just think if you look at the last couple of years, guys like Scott Hoch have played well, I think, said Price. Sluman played well. There are a whole lot of us.
 
I just think that all of us still want to play and be competitive. We all practice hard enough to keep our games in shape and have pretty good schedules there is no substitute for experience.
 
The new generations keep staring the old boys in the face. Haas has sons who are good golfers in their own right.
 
Someone said the other day, Your boys are pushing you. Thats one of the reasons, said Haas with a smile.
 
And it could be. I enjoy playing well and showing them that I still can. And when I had my best years, they were 4, 5, 6 years old. But they didnt know ' they just were glad to see me come through the door. They didnt know if I could play.
 
So it will be Price and Haas. Hes 49, said Price, and Im 46, so hes the underdog tomorrow!
 
It is going to be nice because Jay is such a wonderful person to play with. Win, lose or draw, I think well both walk off with smiles on our faces.
 
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