Bill Haas on his $11 million water shot and his father's Hall of Fame chances

Bill Haas on his $11 million water shot and his father’s Hall of Fame chances

Bill Haas won the 2011 Tour Championsip and FedEx Cup with a brilliant par-save from the water.
Monte Isom

On the second playoff hole at last year's Tour Championship, you hit a 20-yard pitch from a small lake to about two and a half feet. Was that the best shot of your life?
I'd have to put it right up there. But the shot that stands out most is the 3-iron on the last hole at the 2010 Bob Hope Classic, my first win. On my second shot I had 206 yards to carry the water and reach the green. I was between a 3- and a 4-iron, but I figured long was better than short. I felt a lot of pressure because I needed a birdie to win. When the ball landed on the green, I remember feeling more of a sense of accomplishment than I had for any other shot. I had to do something, and I did it.

That win at the Tour Championship earned you a $1.44 million winner's check and a $10 million bonus. What did you do with the $11 million?
I definitely wasn't a finance major in college, but my agents are good about that stuff. My wife, Julie, and I aren't big spenders — I haven't bought one big thing since the win. Julie and I already had plans to build a house, so it's a huge relief that we can build it with no worries.

What would be a splurge for you?
Maybe a nice dinner. Also, I love old cars. I have an itch for a Mustang in the 1965 to '70 range. I'm not looking to fix one up, because I don't have time for that.

What's the story behind the TV commercial where your dad, Jay, talks to you about pressure?
The Tour did it to promote a mentor program, and my dad is my mentor. The program isn't meant to be father and son, but the Tour must've thought it would be easiest for me to have my dad. The producers asked us to talk naturally like father and son. The problem was that we don't talk much about golf. So the producers fed us some lines, and one of them was about making cuts and how to deal with times that aren't so good.

Should your father be in the Hall of Fame?
He has the all-time Tour record for the most cuts made [592 in 798 starts], and to me, that's a bigger feat than winning. The media and fans focus on winning, which is understandable because everybody sees and loves winning. But as players, we respect guys who play consistently week in and week out. Dad's feat is pretty extraordinary.

Back to the Tour Championship. How is it possible that you didn't know you were playing for $11 million with the FedEx Cup bonus?
I guess it's been blown out of proportion. I knew we were playing for it, but when I putted out I didn't know I'd won both trophies.

Did you intentionally not think about the money, for fear that you wouldn't be able to execute?
Somebody made an analogy — I think it was my dad: If you're being chased by a bear, do you care whether it weighs 200 or 400 pounds? Are you going to run any faster? I don't think I could have been any more nervous trying to win the Tour Championship. So no, I don't think the money made a difference. I intentionally put the focus on trying to win a playoff for that tournament.

Have you ever had a situation in competition like that shot with your foot in the water?
There have been a few. They're all different. When it's in the water, it's hard to get it exactly the same.

Have you ever gotten it that close, though?
I don't think so.

What are your goals for 2012?
To make as many cuts as possible and be competitive every week. Last year, I made 22 of 26 cuts, and that helped me win the FedEx Cup. If you're competing for four rounds every week, a lot of things can go right. I want to be Matt Kuchar-esque. I'd like to have a career like that. Well, let's change that. I think I'd like to be kind of like a Jay Haas.