Monday, December 06, 2004

Bill Haas' crack at Q School

I see Bill Haas is struggling to get his tour card this week in California. That led me to dig up this column I wrote on him from the Canadian Open. The kid has a great swing and was pretty comfortable chatting with a reporter. No shock, of course, given his background. Anyway, maybe he'll shoot a good round today...

Son of Haas 'buying' his way on to Tour: Just us$100,000 shy:
Trying to qualify by earning enough through exemptions
National Post
Saturday, September 11, 2004
Byline: Robert Thompson
Dateline: OAKVILLE

OAKVILLE - Bill Haas is trying to accomplish something only three golfers -- and one of them is named Tiger -- have managed to
do on the PGA Tour.

Haas is trying to qualify for his PGA Tour card by earning enough money through sponsor's exemptions.

The PGA Tour only allows players to receive seven exemptions in a season. To date, only Tiger Woods, Justin Leonard and Charles Howell III have managed to earn enough money to gain a PGA Tour card.

Most golfers head to the dreaded qualifying school at the end of the season to try to gain entrance to golf's top tour.

But Bill Haas is hardly just any golfer.

The son of Ryder Cup player Jay Haas excelled at the golf powerhouse of Wake Forest, was named college player of the year in
May and turned pro earlier this year after teeing it up alongside his father at the U.S. Open. Now out of sponsor's exemptions, Haas finished in the top-10 at the Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston earlier this week to earn a spot at the Canadian Open.

Having earned US$260,719 to date, he needs about another US$100,000 to gain entrance to the tour and be allowed to play regularly.

"I'm not putting any pressure on myself to pull it off, especially since only three others guys have done it," he said. "If I don't
make it, I'll just go to Q-School."

Yesterday he had difficulty finding fairways -- "I had a stretch where I didn't know where it was going out there," he said following
his round -- but still managed to hang on and finish even par. That means he'll play on the weekend.

Haas seems to have all the tools. Blessed with a lean, muscular physique, he can work the ball off the tee and has a deft touch with his putter. Haas said the main difference between playing college golf and the PGA Tour is the level of competition. You can't go out and shoot 74 and expect to stay on tour, he said. But, demonstrating a maturity beyond his 22 years, Haas says that doesn't mean you need to shoot the lights out either.

"If you shoot 2-under every day you're out here, you're going to make some money," he said. "And if you manage to have a good week, then who knows?"

Haas isn't sure if he'll get a chance to watch his father play at the Ryder Cup next week in Detroit. If he doesn't finish in the top
10 at the Canadian Open, he will try to qualify on Monday for a spot at the John Deere Classic.

While he says he speaks to his father regularly, Jay doesn't critique his son's play.
The two have spent time together when playing at the same events, Haas says, and his dad has been especially helpful in gearing his son up for the tedious travel and issues that come from life on the PGA Tour.

While his father continues to have success on both the PGA Tour and the Champions Tour, in the end, Bill admits, he has to make his own way. After all, he is the one hitting the shots and sinking the putts.

"Everything on the course is all me. I take all the credit and I take all the blame."

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