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April 27, 2016

Charley Hoffman

Avondale, Louisiana

DOUG MILNE: Charley Hoffman, thanks for joining us for a few minutes prior to the start of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. You are making your 10th start here at the Zurich Classic, and your last in 2014 was a top-five finish here, and obviously coming off your fourth career PGA TOUR win last week at the Valero Texas Open. One thing is that stood out about that is your comment about this was the hardest one.


DOUG MILNE: If you could just touch on that and then just transition into being here this week.

CHARLEY HOFFMAN: You know, I mean, obviously speaking of this was the hardest win, I put myself in position for the last six weeks or so starting in Tampa. I had a chance, and then throughout Texas and after the Masters and RBC, but I couldn't finish. My scoring average, I want to say was like 74 or 75. Wasn't even close. It was hard to take. It was hard to put yourself in a position and then not fulfill your expectations. You sort of sit back on Sundays and go, what am I doing wrong, how can I fix this, how can I become better and close the deal. It meant a lot to be able to do it. I mean, it seemed like forever during those X amount of weeks, but it was nice to be able to get it done and I'll use the term get the monkey off the back. I can close golf tournaments. I've done it before, and that's what I kept telling people. It's going to happen. But it's just nice to get it done.

DOUG MILNE: And transitioning to here this week, I mentioned your top-five finish two years ago, so talk about being back here.

CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Yeah, I love New Orleans. This was a place that I missed only last year because of the scheduling of the World Match Play in California. Being West Coast guys, coming out here and going back, I skipped it. This is a place I love to come visit. New Orleans is a great place for the family and the wife and kids to come to, and I just love the golf course. I love the food. I love everything about New Orleans. That's why I'm glad to be coming here and playing.

Q. When you did analyze your Sunday performance, did you notice any trends or similarities?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Well, I sort of broke it down, and I'm not a big stat guy by any means. I understand it, but I went and looked at some of my stats on Sundays, and I noticed first and foremost my putting wasn't as good on Sunday. My strokes per round or whatever wasn't -- you're going to go through times where you don't hit it as good and so on and so forth, which is fine and I can deal with it. But if you can't make the putts on Sunday, you're never going to -- no matter if it's our birdie, par, whatever. I sort of went back and was looking at I didn't putt well on Sunday, which in turn I think I was putting too much pressure on every putt looking back. I was putting too much pressure on myself to make the five-footer for par, the 10-footer for birdie. Instead of just thinking it was another golf tournament and trying to make that putt like anything else.

I wasn't hitting it as good on Sunday but it was sort of the short game, putting that stuck out, and I worked on that early in the round, made some good crucial putts, and then obviously coming down the stretch I putted great. I mean, it's easier said than done, but it's something I just sort of -- I let it happen instead of trying to make it happen.

Q. The back nine on Sunday, was there ever a sense of here we go again, and how did you overcome that?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: No, it was totally opposite. I was like, here we go, let's do it. I felt good, and obviously making the putt on 11 was a big momentum swing. Then making the huge crucial putts on 16 and 17, and I'll be the first person to tell you, I got lucky by Patrick missing those same length putts. They could have flipped either direction. He makes the putt an 16 and I miss, and all of a sudden we've got a different ballgame. I was fortunate to catch a break by him not making the putts, and I did, and it was nice, that's for sure.

Q. On Sunday, which of your finishes hurt the most?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Well, all of them hurt because I really didn't have a chance coming into the back nine. Like if you start Sunday off and at least give yourself a chance, but I just never got in any position. I didn't hit it good and then I didn't make the putts, and then I sort of would press too hard and try and make something happen and I would shoot 39 on the back nine. So I really wasn't in any of them.

Doral I had a chance and I shot like 39 on the back nine. I mean, if you look at the stats, I looked back a little bit, I was about the same score as Adam and Adam went on a run one direction and I went on a run a different direction.

Tampa, I was right there and just shot 3-over on the back nine, and Charl and Bill obviously played well. I just never got the back nine that I needed to get, and the difference was they shot 3-under on the back nine instead of shooting 3-over. But I never had the insight going, here we go again. I didn't have to because I hit it good. I hit a lot of good shots, and I made the putts.

Q. How do you keep the here we go again from creeping back up on a Sunday?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Well, I'll be the first person to tell you, it'll probably happen again. Closing on the PGA TOUR is hard. It's proven that. Like I said, it wasn't that I didn't have any belief in myself, it was more on the side of I was trying too hard. It wasn't that I didn't have the physical abilities to produce. It was more the I wanted this, to win so bad that it was hurting myself, and I obviously learned from that. I'll make the mistake again, I promise you, but I learned from my mistakes over the last couple months, and hopefully it doesn't take me that much longer the next time when I can score coming down the stretch.

Q. How do you see this course? You seem to play well here.
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Yeah, I played well here in the past. I haven't played -- obviously the pro-am today and then yesterday I actually didn't play. It'll be the first time on the golf course for a couple years, but I know it hasn't changed. It's a pretty straightforward golf course. You've got to drive it good because there's some water hazards out there. It's a big golf course, this TPC golf course. You've got to hit it, and if you hit it a long ways, you can make a lot of birdies. There's not usually a ton of rough out here and the greens are usually pretty good. It's a course that's fit my eye. Over the years I've played pretty well here in the past, and hopefully, as I said, I've got a chance to come in here on Sunday.

Q. I just wanted to ask you about mental toughness. You talked about Tiger's mental toughness after your win on Sunday, and one of my favorite moments on Saturday when you talked about the ball on 6 that never got off the ground and you still made par. Can you talk about that?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: It's one of those -- I probably never hit a shot that bad at any tournament in my career off the tee. Maybe off the fairway somewhere or something I hit a shot like that. But it was sort of funny, got pretty lucky for it to carry, and you just go from there. You've got to laugh it off. I didn't think about it any more than -- to be totally honest I didn't know there were cameras out there following me at the time, and I got done, and people were like, what happened on that hole. It's one of those things, that's the attitude thing. I laughed it off, and even though now it's a month ago, I got all disturbed about that one shot. But back to the mentality, I knew I was playing good, I knew I had the ability to do it and I was able to fight through the hard times and was able to make the crucial -- I was able to get up-and-down for par, and that was the difference last week is I was able to make the pars, which I think are the momentum -- it's not always the birdies, it's the pars that sort of keep the round going, and I was able to do that last week.

Q. Your reaction to celebrating the winning putt, was that more relief or joy?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: It was definitely relief I'd say. I don't even know. Obviously I'd have to see the replay, but there was no -- didn't know what was going to come out of the body. It was definitely a relief to get that W because I'll be a person to tell you, and people can say I think I should have won more times out here than I have, and being able to close the door when you're 39, I know that opportunities are going to be limited. The reality is I'm getting older and the guys coming up are younger, and I'm not going to have as many opportunities as I've had in the past, and when I get in that position I need to start closing more doors than letting them open.

Q. How many vacations do you take per year and what do you like to do on those vacations?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: What do you mean? Every week is a vacation for me. I'm in New Orleans this week. No, I'm lucky, my family travels with me, so literally it sort of is like a vacation out here. My oldest goes to school next year so it's going to be a little different; I'll be more by myself. I can add up vacations. I'm actually going to the Bahamas next week on vacation. We go on a family vacation in CancĂșn -- sorry, family vacation in Puerto Vallarta, and I might do somewhat another vacation, probably three weeks max. But every week we're traveling to a pretty cool city. It almost feels like vacation.

Q. Do you do activities on the vacation or do you literally just sit on the beach?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: I'm pretty good. I sit around the pool drinking beer and hanging out to be completely honest with you. Yeah, I don't like doing a ton of vacation. I don't go out and play golf. I can promise you that, on vacation. But I take it pretty easy, hang out with the family.

I mean, the normal things. I hang out with the family, go swimming with them, and do family things on vacation. I'm a dad.

Q. How important are those weeks to kind of refresh your mental attitude and kind of put the refresh button on your body?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Yeah, I do a pretty good job on the road to take like Mondays off or take somewhere off. I mean, I strategically took this Wednesday off a month and a half ago knowing I'm on a six-week stint right now, knowing I like New Orleans, knowing I wanted to come play here. In my mind I made a way to play that, and that was to take a Wednesday off and take it easy and sort of let the body rest a little bit. So I'm pretty strategic on that side to where some guys grind it out, hit a ton of balls here and there, but playing tournament golf is not that hard, it's the Wednesday and Tuesday practice rounds and all that stuff is hard for me. Tournament golf is where you just react and have fun and play golf.

It's early in the week that's usually more taxing on your body than it is later in the week playing the golf tournament.

Q. You mentioned you were happy to close last week again. What did that do for your confidence, and also, does confidence come and go in between wins?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Obviously I'm happy to close because you sort of get that in your mind, am I going to be able to do that, am I actually going to be able to win another golf tournament, so on and so forth, and just mentally to be able to close the door and win the golf tournament does tremendous things for your confidence. Yeah, confidence comes and goes easily. It's a lot harder to gain confidence than it is to lose confidence. You've got to play a lot of good golf to gain a lot of confidence, and you've only got to hit a few bad shots to lose that confidence.

But that'll happen in the middle of a round sometimes. You hit a few bad shots in a row and you've got to rebound and lean on something that was positive and so on and so forth.

Q. After a win, how difficult is it to come back the next week and refocus?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Very hard. I mean, I'll be -- I don't have a hard time sleeping, but like after you win, everything is racing through your mind, everything you're doing. You're excited. I mean, I didn't sleep well on Sunday, and that wasn't any other induced things, but I just -- and the night after that. You just don't sleep well, and last night I finally got some good-quality sleep. Obviously it's taxing not just during that week, but the next week it's tough to come back just because your body is running and your mind is running and then you have a family and kids with you that want to hang out and have fun in New Orleans, and it is tough. But it's just -- once tomorrow starts, it's just golf. It's not like -- this isn't an overly stressful golf course, so it should be fine, but it is hard. You rarely see guys win back-to-back. Obviously Adam did it this year, but I'm a believer if it's running good, keep playing, so I'm going to keep going.

Q. How important is the Ryder Cup to you this year?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: You know, it's pretty important. I played a lot of golf with Phil in the off-season in San Diego, and we sort of talked about it a little bit, and he's like, yeah, you'd love it. It's something that I sort of was close to last year but not really. I mean, I knew I had to play well and didn't make the Presidents Cup. The Ryder Cup four years ago after I won Deutsche Bank, I thought I might have had a chance to get on that team, but yeah, back to the thing, I don't have that many more Ryder Cups I'm going to be able to play in. I'm 39 years old, the next one I'm going to be 41, so on and so forth. The reality is if I want to get on one, I'd better get on it now. It's a goal. It's not going to be like oh, I didn't make it, I can't believe I didn't make that. But I've always said, play better. When you play better, you get on those teams.

I'm not going to be -- I'm not going to expect to be a captain's pick. A rookie at 39 is not going to be a captain's pick. That's the reality of it. It's not going to happen. So I've got to play my way on that team and I've got to play good golf and prove to everybody on that team that I can make that team and I can play and help that team out.

Q. Did you log on and look where you were on Monday?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: No idea. No idea. I know I'm a lot closer than I was before, I can tell you that.

Q. Your celebration on 18 has become something of a sensation. Have you gotten a sense of that?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: It was an out-of-body experience, really.

Q. But I'm sure it's on social media and stuff. Have you gotten a sense of how widely it's been out there?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Well, I think I've gotten more reaction from Billy Horschel's hug. I think he might have been happier for me than I was for myself. No, Billy is a good friend, and he obviously gave me a big ol' hug afterwards, and that meant a lot having a guy that you're playing with rooting for you at the same time. He told me that -- after I didn't win, obviously I'm pulling for you, you made some great putts. It's cool. We all root for each other out there, and it's cool to have that support on the PGA TOUR.

The reaction after I made the putt is just, like I said, it's gratifying, but a relief at the same time knowing that you're able to make that putt when you hadn't been able to make it in the past and put yourself in the situation that you can do that, and it means a lot.

DOUG MILNE: Did we ever determine your daughter's --


DOUG MILNE: Was she pulling for Patrick Reed?

CHARLEY HOFFMAN: No, she got a bee sting right when I made it. I mean, I couldn't imagine, my wife is trying to run, this one wants to go that one, the other one wants to go this way, one got stung by a bee, and yeah, that was sort of a fiasco. I turned like the best situation of my life and all of a sudden I had to turn into dad instantly.

But that's what being a dad and having your family out here is about, and it's a cool experience. I was telling my wife, it's something we're going to look back on and laugh for the rest of my life. If it went smoothly, we wouldn't even think back about it.

DOUG MILNE: Charlie, we appreciate your time. Congratulations on last week.

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