I had the absolute pleasure of sitting down with golfing great Jay Haas for episode 17 of the On the Green Podcast. Jay Haas is a former PGA Tour winner who now plays on PGA Tour Champions. He’s made an incredible career out of the game, and on the show, he shared so much about his life and work. Read below to check out some of our favorite highlights, and listen to the full episode above to hear the entire conversation.

Jay comes from a family of golfers, so you could say the game is in his blood. In fact, his uncle is Bob Goalby, the former PGA Tour golfer who won the Masters Tournament in 1968. Jay credits his uncle Bob as being the driving force (no pun intended!) behind his lifelong love of the game. When he was just five years old, Jay was given a makeshift club that his uncle doctored up for him with a sturdy leather grip. Together, they practiced his swing in the backyard with wiffle balls, and over the years, Jay’s uncle taught him more and more about golf fundamentals until he was ready to get on the course.

In 1977, Jay hit the road for his first season on the PGA Tour, driving from tournament to tournament by himself. In that first year on Tour, he finished 77th on the money list and won just over $31,000, which at the time, made Jay feel like the “richest man in the world.” But the following year at the Andy Williams San Diego Open, Jay got a taste of true success – he won his very first tournament. 

Jay has video footage of that 1978 tournament, which he’s looked back on over the years. He’s since come to the realization that he won for a lot of reasons, but three main points stick out. “Number one, I played well. Number two, I got a lot of breaks. And number three, no one really put any pressure on me,” Jay said. “That was a life changing experience, and it made me realize I needed to continue to work hard.”

Jay’s career has spanned more than three decades, and he has 9 PGA Tour wins under his belt. So, what’s his secret behind his longevity? Jay says one reason was that he was fortunate to not have any injuries. “I know countless players who had back, wrist, shoulder and elbow issues and they lost serious time,” he said. “I never really lost much time with any major injuries through my career and that helped me.”

But most of all, more than his injury-free luck, Jay says his passion for the game is the true force behind his success. “I continue to have passion,” he said. “I enjoy playing, and I enjoy competing.”

To hear more insight from Jay Haas, check out the full podcast episode above.