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April 9, 2015

Charley Hoffman


MODERATOR:¬† Good morning.¬† I'd like to welcome Charley Hoffman, leader in the clubhouse, with a fine 67 today, 5‑under par, which included four birdies and an eagle, outstanding finish.¬† Charley is making his second Masters appearance.¬† He has three PGA TOUR wins.
We are thrilled to have you here.  Maybe you can talk about your round today.
CHARLEY HOFFMAN:¬† I told the media earlier, it was cool getting up this morning and warming up with Jack, Arnie and Gary Player.¬† There's not really ‑‑ puts the nerves at ease, really, watching those guys warm up.
Out there at the putting green, I actually got Jack's and Arnie's autograph this morning; they were nice enough to do that.  I was sort of scared, should I ask them, should I not ask them.  My mind wasn't really on golf really, I was watching those guys.
Come the first tee, I was a little nervous, hit a little hook over in the 9th fairway and was able to get back over to the green and settled nerves and a little 2‑putt par; and was able to make birdie on the 2nd and 3rd, and that sort of calmed the nerves and I was ready to go.

Q.  Were you on the putting green for the ceremonial start, and could you see anything?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN:  Yeah, I could see the balls fly, but I couldn't really see them swing.  But yeah, I was on the putting green, sorta hitting a few putts and watching a few shots.

Q.  How cool was that being in the moment there?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN:  Well, this is only my second Masters and obviously to follow those guys off the tee, I mean, it's pretty lucky and special.  I'm honored that the Masters gave me that opportunity, and I sort of took advantage of it and it was nice.  I knew going into it, I like playing early and I like playing at a decent pace, so I knew this was going to benefit my game pretty well.

Q.  Where did you get their autographs exactly, what did you have them sign and was this something premeditated or did you just think of it when you got here today?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN:¬† I thought about it yesterday leaving the golf course.¬† I bought a couple flags, and I wasn't sure if I'd ask them when they were warming up or on the first tee, but I ended up asking ‑‑ I ran into Jack, they were warming up next to me, Jack and Arnie, and I go, Would you mind signing the flag for me?¬† I'll auction them off for my foundation event and make some money for some kids.¬† They were nice enough to do that for me.

Q.  Did either of them say anything particularly memorable?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN:  No, I just said, do you mind signing this for me.  I got in and out of there as fast as I could (laughter).

Q.  After playing, how did your first Masters go and how much did you anticipate the second one?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN:  I mean, obviously you want to always get back here.  I wouldn't say anticipate; we play a PGA TOUR event every week, so to say this is just another golf tournament, it's not real.  But knowing that winning would get me back here and I was just trying to win a golf tournament on the PGA TOUR so I could get back here and enjoy the facilities they have here.  It's a nice place to always come and be, that's for sure.

Q.  Why didn't you ask for Gary's?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN:  Gary was gone.  I was going to do it on the first tee, but then I'm like, you're not supposed to ask for autographs on that side of the clubhouse.  Gary walked away so I went, I'd better get Jack and Arnie before I lose it all.  I'll try at some point to get Gary to sign the two that they signed and that would be pretty cool.

Q.  What is it like the second time being here, as opposed to the first time?  How much different has it been as far as just getting used to the territory?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN:  I mean, I think any time you step on this property, it's hard.  It's a major championship and it's the coveted green jacket you want to get.  I'm trying to approach it like if I get in position, I'm going to be aggressive.  If I get out of position, I'm going to try to get back in position just like any other golf tournament.
It worked today.  Don't know if it's going to work tomorrow or the next day, but I'm going to try to keep my game plans I have going into it.  If you hype this thing up too much, you're not going to play good because you'll let your nerves get the best of you.
I felt good after that first tee shot really.  And hopefully have a good night's sleep with the family and kids, and go get 'em tomorrow.

Q.  We always talk about experience and how important it is on this course, so coming back a second time, what did you learn most from your previous, and how did you take that into today?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN:  I'm an experienced TV watcher of the Masters (laughter).
Any time you get this golf course a little bit damp, like it was today, you can be aggressive to some of those back, hard pins, and I had the ability to be able to do that this morning.  I assume it's not going to get too firm out there this afternoon or this week with the humidity the way it is.
I knew that you could be aggressive today and it was a day that I was going to be able to get the golf course if I put it in play and put it in the right spot, which the holes I did, I was able to attack.
And like I said earlier, the holes I got out of position, I was able to get the ball back in position which is important out here.

Q.  Can you walk us through the eagle at 15 and the birdie at 18?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN:¬† Yeah, just hit a little smooth drive.¬† I knew I didn't‑‑ sometimes you get on that par 5 and you want to hit it way down there so you have a medium iron or something in there.¬† And I had not been driving it great all day and I just wanted to get a ball in the fairway so I had the opportunity to go for the green.
I had a 20‑degree hybrid which pretty much fits that hole perfect, which is sort of my 3‑ or 4‑iron, so perfect number.¬† Had to hit a solid shot and landed about 12 feet behind the hole and just stopped right there and had a pretty much straight downhill putt and was able to knock that in and get my first piece of crystal.

Q.  And 18, the birdie?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN:  18 was just a cut driver off the tee, and then I had 190 yards converted with the elevation and all that stuff.  I don't think it was that long obviously, about ten yards uphill, probably about 180 yards.
Just hit a good solid‑‑ just aiming for the center of the green, just trying to get it just on top of that tier, and I knew if I got it up there I'd have some sort of putt.¬† I was able to sneak it in there to about three feet.

Q.  When you flew to México and teed it up, was it with the thought of getting in here at the Masters or just to win as money as you can?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN:  I tee it up trying to win every event.  I'd lie if I said I tee it up and try to finish second.  That's why you see my play my schedule the way I do.  You see me show up traditionally at some golf courses that I think I can win, and some golf courses I'll skip because I don't think I can win.
So obviously I went down to M√©xico, first and foremost, I love M√©xico.¬† I honeymooned down in Canc√ļn, sort of a special place for my wife and I.¬† Took the kids down there.¬† And it was a more relaxed, actually, week than most weeks on the PGA TOUR.¬† I was able to hang out by the pool with the family once you're done practicing.¬† I was in a good state of mind.
Sort of like this week, got a house, got the family here, feel good and relaxed and it's nice to have them around, and I think they put me in a good frame of mind.

Q.  Have you ever asked another player for an autograph before, and if so, who?  And secondly, how did you feel coming into this week?  Did you feel something like this was likely?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN:  First part, yeah, I actually do it on a regular basis.  I have a foundation event; I do one in Vegas and one in San Diego, two communities which I live in, and support the local children there.  So I do it on a regular basis; I've asked Phil, Tiger, pretty much anybody that I can get some signed flags and make some money for the foundation there.
I've asked Arnold at Arnold's event.  But usually, you hand it to somebody and somebody goes to Arnold or somebody like that or hand it to somebody and someone gets Jack.  This is the first one I sort of went up to those guys and go, do you mind signing, and they were gracious enough to do that.
What was the second part?

Q.  Did you see this coming?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN:  I played well the last few weeks.  Despite a couple shaky Saturdays last couple weeks, I'd be right in contention to win those two golf tournaments, also.  I was leading after the first round at Valero two weeks ago, so I feel good.
Obviously it's a four‑round golf tournament, not a three‑round golf tournament like I've played the last couple weeks.¬† So I'm going to try to put four of them together this week.

Q.  First group out, twosome, what is the value of having that pace and rhythm?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN:  Great for me.  I love playing ready golf.  We didn't rush by any means but never have to wait on a golf shot.  That's my dream, go play Augusta National first off in the Masters, you couldn't have set me up any better than that.  I think mentally I was in a good spot and obviously was able to take advantage of it.

Q.  You've always said that you play your best when you're aggressive.  How do you manage that around this place when aggressive can really hurt or really help?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN:  I managed it good today.  I'll let you know the next few days.
I think it's called smart aggressive.¬† Like I'll say, 17, the pin is way over to the right and I wasn't even sniffing trying to go over there.¬† I'm just trying to hit the center of the green, but 18 is a green‑light pin for the most part.¬† You just fly it on top of that tier and know you'll be inside ten feet.
You have your opportunities out here and I think that's proven throughout the years.  You'll see guys put rounds together.
Where I'm most proud, when I got out of position, I was able to get it back to where I had a putt at par and had the ability to get back on the green.  I think that's the secret to this golf course.  When you hit the fairways, you can be aggressive on this golf course.  It's not being too aggressive when you're out of position, I think.

Q.  Did you feel 15 was a green light in?  Rory and Phil said that's the hole they have most screwed up on trying to make eagle and they make 6.  Was it a good pin for you?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN:¬† More of good yardage.¬† I had a yardage where I could swing aggressive with my 20‑degree hybrid.¬† I think that's more important than the actual pin location. ¬†I was a little surprised how soft that green location was, it stopped, I actually backed up my hybrid.¬† You might see a couple wedges back up if guys are laying up in the back pin this afternoon.

Q.  What club did you hit into 18 and what do you plan to do the rest of the day?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN:¬† 6‑iron into 18.¬† And plan to practice for a little bit, try to square up the driver just a little bit and hang out with the family and take it easy the rest of the night.

Q.¬† What did back‑to‑back birdies early do for your confidence?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN:¬† It's nice.¬† I made a good about 4‑footer on 2 straight down the hill.¬† Would have liked to leave my chip a little bit uphill, perfect right in front of green, but a little slick in the morning and got it by the hole, made a good putt there.
Then was aggressive on 3.¬† Hit driver down there, only had about 40 yards in and hit on the back fringe and had about a three‑foot breaking putt that slid in the hole.¬† It's definitely the way you want to start your Masters, a few under par.

Q.  Do you always wear a green glove?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN:  My green glove is for Waste Management, sustainability, the green initiative for them.  I've done it for eight, nine years since I've been partnered with Waste Management.  They are a great corporation and we just try to get the word out for recycling and sustainability.

Q.  Is green your favorite color?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN:  It could be (laughter).

Q.  You called it a dream to go out in a twosome and play quickly around Augusta National.  Do you have to pinch yourself a little bit to see your name on the top of that leaderboard after shooting 67?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN:¬† You know, I'm just trying to put myself in position come Sunday more than anything.¬† Obviously I'm happy to shoot 2‑under but that finish, it was nice to get to 5‑under.¬† I'm going to enjoy it.¬† Hopefully I'm there on Sunday.¬† If I'm not, I had a great opening round.¬† But I don't see any reason why I won't be there.

Q.  You said you're an experienced TV watcher of the Masters.  Did you actually watch a lot of the Masters, and was there any frustration in not being there?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN:  I think there's always frustration not being there, because that means I wasn't winning golf tournaments.  So my main goal is to win golf tournaments, and obviously you have to win golf tournaments to get here to the Masters.
And no, I think the Masters does a great job with TV.  It's just a fun tournament to watch and all the great past champions, and I think it's the one if I'm not in, I do tune in; it's the hyped one.  It's a fun tournament to be part of and watch.

Q.  What was the distance for the hybrid at 15?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN:  We had, I want to say, 240.

Q.  Who caddied for you in the Par 3?  Was it Claire?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN:  Well, I ended up caddying for myself (laughter).  My two daughters were out there, Claire and Katelynn, and my wife was out there, also.  They had a great time.  It was a lot of fun.  I was expecting a couple meltdowns by the kids.  It was nap time for the youngest and another one was having a lot of fun.  Amazing what a bag of candy will do for kids (laughter).

Q.¬† Claire was a baby‑baby, right, the first time?

Q.¬† So was it a cool experience‑‑
CHARLEY HOFFMAN:  The Par3 Contest is a special thing, there's no question.  The Masters embraced that, bringing the families out there.  I wasn't really concentrating on the golf course.  I was making sure I didn't hurt the kids or hurt anybody for the most part.
It's fun to be able in the middle of a golf tournament to bring your family out there and spend a few hours with them.  Usually on Wednesday it's a Pro Am, and I'm beating my head against the wall for six hours on the golf course.  It was nice to hang out with them for a few hours in the middle the day and get home early and put them to sleep for sure.
MODERATOR:  Great performance today.  Best wishes this week.

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