|Jay Haas played on a strong 1975 USA Team that won at the Old Course at St. Andrews. (USGA/Fred Vuich)
Jay Haas played on the victorious 1975 USA Walker Cup Team at the Old Course in St. Andrews. That team included future major-championship winners Curtis Strange, Craig Stadler and Jerry Pate, along with Walker Cup veterans Marvin “Vinnie” Giles and William C. Campbell. Haas went 2-2-0 in the Match. His son, Bill, competed on the 2003, marking the first time a father-son duo had competed in the Walker Cup. Jay’s younger brother, Jerry, also was a member of the 1975 USA Team.
What was your Walker Cup experience like?
Haas: Just being a part of the team and part of those 10 guys was awfully special. I still look at the picture all the time and feel how fortunate I was to be a part of that team and to experience that at such a young age is something that I’ll never forget.
In your singles victory on Saturday over Richard Eyles, I understand you hit a special shot into the Road Hole.
Haas: I did hit a 2-iron off the road on the Road Hole (17). People don’t know that there’s a road to the right of the fairway up by the wall. There’s a gravel road and I hit a 2-iron to the middle of the green about 20 feet and made the birdie to win my singles match, 2 and 1. I made a 3 there and I don’t think I’ve ever hit the green again. And I certainly have never made a 3 again. That was a thrill.
What about playing the competition at the Old Course in St. Andrews?
Haas: I had no concept of what it might be or what it would look like. I remember we got off the bus and said we’re the [USA] Walker Cup Team and we’re playing at St. Andrews. A guy said, ‘Hey laddie, you are playing right there.’ We said, ‘No, we’re playing in the Walker Cup, not that place right there.’ It was like the Moon. It hadn’t been watered and the cups were all broken down and it had shaggy greens. But by the end of the week, it really improved. It got green and they watered certain places and cut new cups and all that stuff. It’s a whole other world when you’ve never played anything like that. It’s different than most everything, even over there. It was quite a different experience. And the guys adapted and it turned out we had a pretty darn good team.
Do you recall any first-tee jitters?
Haas: I can’t remember. I think Curtis [Strange] hit off the first hole. He and I played [foursomes] both days and won both of our matches. That was a ton of fun. I remember leaving a putt like 3 feet short and he made it. He said, ‘Darn it, get the ball up by the hole, I can’t make them when they come up short. Go for it.’ So the next hole, I ripped it and it went right in the back of the hole. And Curtis goes, ‘See, I told you!’
How special was it for your son, Bill, to play on the 2003 Walker Cup Team and become the only father-son tandem to so far ever play for the USA side?
Haas: He played at Ganton. My wife and I went over and watched him play and his brother (Jay Jr.), who is now caddieing for him, went over with us. It was a real thrill. To know what he was going through too. Again to be on that team is awfully special. They didn’t win. Anyway, it’s fun to see what those matches have become, too, for the fans. There were a good many people [there] when we played, but there were so many more when he was playing. I want say there was 15,000 or 20,000 people there the second day. That was cool for him to see and experience that.
And your younger brother, Jerry, also played on the 1985 team?
Haas: Jerry played at Pine Valley. I went and watched him play there. I think he won a point [in foursomes]. That was a pretty good team. Davis Love was on that team. Jay Sigel was on that team. When I look at those Walker Cup books and see our names in there, it’s fun to see.
- David Shefter