Play of the Week 24

September 26, 2011

The POTW this week…or maybe for the whole year…is Bill Haas.

The Tour Champion and proud owner of $11.4MM is none other than son of former PGA Tour player Jay Haas. Like Jim Furyk last year, Haas had a 3-shot lead coming down the back 9 Sunday of The Tour Championship. Like Furyk, Haas bogeyed down the stretch. However, Haas’s bogeys gave Hunter Mahan a shot at a win–if Mahan could’ve birdied the extremely difficult 18th hole. Mahan par’d to force a playoff. The first hole was a replay of the 18th hole. Both players hit their shots short and right, Mahan in the sand, Haas in the far more difficult bermuda rough. Haas hit his ball to about 15 feet, Mahan to about 5 feet. Haas stood up and hit the 15-footer with 2 feet of break to the bottom of the cup. Mahan made par.

While Haas’s putt could’ve been enough for the POTW, it was the second playoff hole–the 17th–where Haas showed his metal.

Haas put his drive into the bunker on the right side of the fairway. Now, I’ve hit the drive at 17. It’s tough. Just look below. However, I’ve never hit it in a PGA Tour event, so I can only imagine what it must feel like. I certainly don’t blame the guy for bailing right.

Unfortunately, from the bunker, Haas hit his ball over the left of the green, which has a steep slope leading to water. Mahan put his drive in the fairway and his approach to the center of the green. It looked all but certain–Mahan was the champion.

In a stroke of luck, it hasn’t rained more than 2 inches in the last 2 months here in Atlanta, and the East Lake was a little low. There is a rule that, if you can see more than half of the ball in water, you should be able to hit it out. Haas’s ball found ground under the surface of the East Lake, and he had a shot. That is when Haas took the tournament.

Did you see that? Let’s look again.

No way.

One more time.

The playoff ended on the next hole, when Haas made par and Mahan bogeyed from the front-right bunker. Haas won the tournament without hitting a single green-in-regulation for any of the three playoff holes. A tremendous tournament capped off by an amazing playoff and a heroic shot.

To you, Bill Haas, you have earned this POTW. We salute you. And your enormously bloated bank account.