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May 7, 2015

Charley Hoffman


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Charley Hoffman, thanks for joining us after a firstround 67. Eight birdies today and one triple bogey that we won't talk about, but let's talk about your eight birdies and then maybe talk about your season so far: Seventh in the FedExCup, a win earlier this year at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba and a tie for ninth at the Masters where you were in contention all week and had a great performance. Let's start with today's performance.

CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Got off to a good start, birdied the first three, hit it close on 10 with a wedge. And then hit the green in two on 11. And then hit another good wedge shot on 12. So obviously a good way to start the round, or in a golf tournament, much less THE PLAYERS Championship. Made another good twoputt birdie on 16. And was able to hit another wedge shot close on there on 17 and turned at 5under. Got in a little trouble on 1, hit it in the trees and then hit more trees, and then hit it over the green, didn't get it on the green, then hit it back over the green and equated to 7. But was able to bounce back with a birdie on 2. 2 and 4. And then made a nice little birdie on 9. Pretty satisfying to cap off the round like that.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: And as far as your season, obviously with the win there in México earlier and then your other good performances.

CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Yeah, the win in México sort of catapulted my year. It's always nice to  we'll see, with this wraparound season now, to be able to get off to that say  last year in 2014 with a win, it's huge momentum. I mean, not many people get to celebrate their win for a month or two like I did. Usually it's on to the next week, and it was nice to savor that win and be able to enjoy it and build some momentum. Played obviously good at Humana, almost had a chance there coming down the stretch, finished second, and it's been a good year. And obviously the Masters was a lot of good fun. It's nice to see my game be able to sustain itself under pressure. Putter got a little cold, we'll say, at the Masters, but tee to green it was great. I think I figured out a few things that I was doing sort of under the gun that I hadn't done before, and I learned from it. Believe me, it won't happen again, when I say I learned from it, and hopefully I get a chance to test it this weekend.

Q. Is it the haircut? Is that the secret?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: No, it isn't.

Q. I thought maybe it was a balance issue or something. To what do you attribute the 
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Good play? I mean, I'm in a good spot. My family is doing great, my wife is doing great, my parents. Two kids keep you grounded, traveling with them fulltime. I've got a fouryear old and almost twoyear old, and they're on the road  they haven't missed a tournament this year. Only ones they usually miss are the British Open unless they can't or something like that. It's fun. So I get to see my family a lot. After this I get to go have dinner and I get to be dad. They don't care what I shot, and it's pretty humbling and a lot of fun.

Q. These past few weeks you've been just tearing it up the first day or two of all these tournaments. It seems like almost every week you're right up there at the top of the board with all these fast starts. Has there been any change in how you ramp into these things or have you throttled it up, throttled it down, or just the familiarity of having been out here so long?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Yeah, I couldn't pinpoint any reason why I have gotten off to these fast starts. It's been nice. Obviously it's nice to shoot 5under par in the first round no matter 

Q. Playing with house money?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Yeah, exactly. I've been playing good, obviously, tee to green, and everything has been good. When you putt good you make a lot of birdies, and I putted great today. Like I said, the Masters was a little slow with the putter and sort of gained some momentum last week at the Match Play, played pretty good, won my first two matches and then Brendan Grace just outplayed me on Friday and happened to lose in a playoff; he made birdie on probably the hardest golf hole out there at Harding Park. It was unfortunate there to go home early, but yeah, no, I feel like I'm in a good spot mentally and physically, for sure.

Q. What happened on the triple bogey then?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Pardon my French, I hit a [expletive] drive, a [expletive] punch out, a [expletive] wedge shot, a [expletive] putt, another [expletive] putt, and next thing you know I made a pretty good fourfooter for seven.

Q. You putted from the fringe and it went all the way over to the other side?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: That's after the first time I left it short and I didn't get it up on top. That green was a little baked out. I wish I could have hit a little wedge shot that spun back there, but that green back there is probably more baked out than any green on the whole golf course. I was trying to get it up there on the green, give myself a bogey putt to be honest with you and then didn't get it up there, and I'm like, don't do that again, I hit it too hard and it went down the other side, and next thing you know it's a 7.

Q. What's been the biggest improvement in your game, if you were to pinpoint one thing?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Everything has been good. I've been driving it pretty good, irons have been well, and been making a few putts. I'm just  I think everything is just a little bit better, and obviously I'm comfortable in this situation. I've been comfortable, and I guess it's one of those things, I'm 38 years old and I really don't care, I mean, anymore. I go out there and play golf, and if I happen to make a triple bogey, I make a triple bogey; and if I birdie five holes in a row, I birdie five holes in a row.

Q. Was that not always the case?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: I think you put some pressure on yourself when you're younger. I won early, and you sort of have expectations. And now, I mean, not that I don't have expectations for myself, but I wouldn't say I've failed. I've been pretty successful out here for 10 years. But you don't win very often. You sort of appreciate when you're under the gun, just, hey, go out there, if you lose, you lose, but at least go down swinging, don't go down trying. I think that's sort of been the difference. I'm not scared to win. I'm going to go out there and try, and I may get beat, like I happened to get beat last week in Match Play, but I may go out and win a few. That's sort of my mentality. My kids don't care if I shoot 65 or 75, and I guess I really don't care if I shoot 65 or 75 anymore. And I've been turning more 65s in than 75s, so maybe I should have took that attitude a little bit earlier in my career.

Q. So when you go back to the hotel, you're popping in like Dora the Explorer?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: You really want to know what goes through at my house?

Q. I'm just wondering; not a lot of guys would bring two kids that age out here.
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: I wouldn't have it any other way. I wouldn't know any different. It's a beautiful thing  to be honest with you, my wife is the one that works hard. I get to go out and play golf during the day. She watches the kids, plays with the kids, and, I mean, it's a tough task. Last night one of them didn't want to go to sleep, throwing the clothes everywhere, throwing typical tantrums. We got a condo this week, which is a little bit better. We usually get two rooms, hotelwise. But it's fun. I'm a dad. Once I go home, I'm a dad. And if you've had kids, you go through everything else everybody does; try to get the pajamas on, which is a chore; trying to get them to eat is a chore; trying to get them up. I mean, everything is hard but it's all gratifying when they come and snuggle next to you on the couch and say how much they love you, and it's pretty gratifying to have them out here on the road. I definitely wouldn't have it any other way.

Q. Getting back to the golf for a second, how key was that birdie on 17? We've seen a couple guys really struggle there today. Is it the conditions? Can you kind of identify where the problem was for some other guys?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Well, I didn't see, obviously, what other guys did, but that hole is not a very easy hole, as you know, even though you're hitting a little wedge. When I played it, it was a little bit in from the right, and you're just trying to hit just below that tier and hopefully have it spin back, and if it stayed up there, you just sort of lag it down there. I was able to hit my spot. I was able to land it about three paces past the hole and was able to do that and it spun back to about four feet and I was able to make that putt. You're just trying to sort of hit a spot on that green. You're not always trying to make birdie. I don't think you're really ever trying to make birdie even though you have a wedge in your hand. You're trying to hit a spot to give yourself an opportunity to make birdie. But if you hit a bad shot, the wind is up there and it will knock it down and it will go in the water. I've hit it in the water there more than once. I'm sure I'll hit it in there sometime in my career, hopefully not this week or next year, but I'm sure I'll hit it in the water there again. A couple times I hit shot in there and I hit the shot I wanted to and the wind sort of changed or we had the beat wrong on the wind, and it's going to happen. It's golf. You play golf outside, and it's tough.

Q. Is it just a sense of relief when you see the ball land and stick somewhere?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Well, I think you know if you hit a solid shot it's going to be on that green, and it's a wedge. You're not guessing that much for the most part. It's when the pin is back right or something like that, you start going after that pin trying to make a birdie, which you can, but you can also make a double or triple which I've done. And the back pin is tough; if you fly it up there too far it can bounce over the green. It's just a great little hole.

Q. Have you ever had a round where you had one bad hole and a whole bunch of birdies?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: I'm sure I have. Nothing comes to mind, but I'm sure I've had that before. I've played golf long enough to do that. It doesn't jump out. I mean, I actually want to say at Doral this year, another World Golf Championship, I was playing pretty good and ended up making a triple or something on a par3 like for 5 at Doral, which sort of derailed me, but I didn't bounce back as good there. But that golf course is a pretty hard golf course. You can get derailed pretty fast there. It happens. You don't hit every shot perfect, and when the golf course has a lot of water on it and trouble like this one, you can make a double or triple fast.

Q. A few years ago you had another tough experience on No. 1 
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: No, it was 10, actually. It was my first hole of the tournament.

Q. Took a 10 on 10, right?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: I think I made a 9. Could have been a 10.

Q. But you bounced back 
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Yeah, it went all right.

Q. Have you always had a short memory about disastrous holes like that?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: What did you say?

Q. Have you always had a short memory about really disastrous holes like that?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: I mean, no. I mean, obviously early in the tournament  if it's your first or ninth hole of the tournament, you've got lots of  60 something holes left or 70 something holes left to come back from it. Obviously you don't ever want to take a triple, double, quad, whatever it is, but at least I gave myself time to get them back. It's better than doing it on the 72nd hole, I can guarantee you that.

Q. What's your pedigree here? Have you had  I didn't look up your 
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: I've played well and I've played bad. But I think that's this golf course, so if you come in a little bit off, it's a tough golf course, but I think if you're on, you can make some birdies. You've got to get the ball in position, and now you can hit some good shots. You have a lot of wedges out here, but the rough is long enough and it's tight enough to where if you get out of position, it's a tough golf course.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Charley Hoffman, thank you.
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