“Readers, meet Bill. Bill meet the readers.”
Now the pleasantries are over, let’s discuss why William Harlan Haas will win the 2013 PGA Championship.
10) His game
Haas may be the most underrated player in golf right now. The 5-time winner has serious game. Starting 2010, Haas was ranked 198th in the world. Since then he has continued to climb the rankings and has been a regular in the top-25 for the past two years.
Bill also seemed to enjoy his time in college (Wake Forest):
- 10 individual titles
- Lowest stroke average in NCAA history
- 3-time first-team All-American
- 4-time All-ACC
- 2-time ACC player-of-the-year
- 2001 ACC rookie-of-the-year
- 2004 Haskins Award
- 2004 Jack Nicklaus Award
- 2004 Ben Hogan Award
Currently he ranks inside the top-20 in scoring average, all-round ranking, ball striking, greens in regulation, par-4 scoring and scrambling from the rough.
9) His form
Haas has more top-10s on the PGA Tour this season than any other golfer (9). Whilst he missed the cut at Muirfield (links golf is not his forte), he form leading into this week is almost second to none (well… second to Tiger of course). His last four starts, other than The Open, saw him finish 2nd, 1st, 9th and 7th.
8) His form last week
The last 7 PGA Championship winners finished inside the top-25 at the WGC Bridgestone Invitational the week before the PGA Championship. Haas finished 7th last week.
7) His big-game potential
Despite missing the last two major cuts, Haas tends to play up to the big stage. The obvious example was the 2011 Tour Championship. Knowing that a win would not only be the biggest title of his career, but an $11.4m pay-day, Haas shot four rounds in the 60s and hit an incredible shot in the playoff to win the event and the year-long Fedex Cup.
He has a top-25 finish at each of the four majors over the past two years.
6) His dad
Jay Haas, Bill’s dad, has been a Tour player since 1976 winning 31 events. He has mentored Bill, helping him adjust to the life and pressure on Tour. Jay also won the last major played at Oak Hill Country (site of this year’s PGA Championship) winning the 2008 Senior PGA.
5) His Clutch Finishes
In two of Haas’ last three PGA Tour wins, he had to endure extra holes to win. At the 2011 Tour Championship he beat Hunter Mahan and at Riviera in 2012 he beat Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley.
4) His par-4s
Since 1993, the PGA Championship winner has finished the week under par for the par-4s. Only four players on the PGA Tour are under-par for the par-4s this season:
Jimmy Walker, Chris Kirk, Brandt Snedeker and, you guessed it, Bill Haas.
3) His Ball Striking
As said previously, Haas ranks high on the PGA Tour in ball striking (measurement based on Total Driving and Greens In Regulation). The PGA Championship like the US Open is one of the toughest test of ball-striking.
A golf journalist told me at The Open there is a lot of lockerroom talk about Haas’ ball-striking and the noise he makes hitting the ball. Apparently players stop and watch Haas hit balls on the range, much like fans and players do with Tiger.
2) His Age
The average age of winners of the PGA Championship over the past 25 years is 31.52 years old.
Bill Haas is 31 years and 3 months old.
1) His Confidence
“I certainly feel like I’m doing enough things right to where I can compete, and ultimately win a major”
– Haas, earlier this week
Haas started the week 66/1 and is currently 55/1. I absolutely don’t not guarantee Haas won’t not win the PGA Championship.