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March 18, 2017

Charley Hoffman

Orlando, Florida

JOHN BUSH: We would like to welcome Charley Hoffman into the interview room. That was quite a roller coaster ride. Get some comments on your day, which included not a great start, but an excellent finish.

CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Yeah, going into the day, those first two holes are, I don't know what the statistics are, but probably two of the five hardest holes on the golf course. So bogeying those first two is not what you want to do, but you know there's some opportunities out there to still make some birdies.

So I was able to make a birdie there on 4, sort of get it back going in the right direction.

Made a good par on 9, which saved it.

And then hit some good shots on 10 and 11 and didn't convert.

12th, hit the green in two, 2-putted for birdie.

And then sloppy bogey on 14. Hit a good 5-iron in there and just three whipped that.

And then out of position on 15, actually, my drive was about a foot from being dead center of the fairway, ended up catching that bunker, but drew a horrible lie left of the green and was just trying to get it somewhere on the green and couldn't even get it on to the green. Then was able to get up-and-down for bogey there.

And then obviously got in position off the tee on 16, only had 160 something yards into the green. 8-iron in there. I was able to convert birdie there.

And then 17, had a good full 6-iron in. It's usually a pin that you're not that aggressive with, but my caddie and I figured out if we were in that front bunker it wasn't that bad of a spot, so we took dead aim there and was able to convert for birdie.

And then stole one on 18. Pull hooked a 3-wood down there and then just tried to chase it up the front and was able to make it from the front of the green.

Obviously, I'm going to feed off those last three holes going into tomorrow and sort of go from there.

JOHN BUSH: Questions?

Q. As bad as you missed it on 18, as thick as it was over there on 18, what were you expecting walking up and did anything make you nervous over the second shot?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: 18, I knew if I pulled it, it was pretty trampled down down there. So, I knew right was not the miss -- not that I was trying to pull hook it, but I was trying to favor the left-hand side. Because I know I knew right is a pitch out, no matter what.

So, obviously, I didn't do what I wanted to do, but I thought I would be able to get a chance to run it up there from the left-hand side, had a little tree trouble, and I was just trying to chase it up there and do what I did, trickle it on the green and make par. But obviously if the ball doesn't draw, I was hitting a little draw, it ends up in the water. But I had good contact on it and I wasn't too worried about it.

Q. What club?

Q. Wondering how, what it would mean to win this week and not only win here, but the first year without Mr. Palmer.
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Yeah, I'll be first person to tell you it's hard to win on the PGA TOUR. Week-in and week-out you're trying to win, but to be in position at Arnie's event is a special spot. It's right up there with competing in a Major Championship, there's no question. Mr. Palmer was the King, there's a reason why he had the name. I mean, without him we don't have the PGA TOUR, we don't have the Golf Channel, we don't have a lot of things. To keep his legacy going and win his event would be something special. Coming down the stretch I'm probably not going to think about that too much, I'm just trying to win a golf tournament, to be completely honest. But if I happen to, it would be definitely a special one to put on the mantle.

Q. On the first and second hole, the wind was blowing into you. Did that affect your ability to get par on those two holes?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Obviously, yes.


No, I just, it seemed like I was just barely rolling in the fairway bunker today. I don't know if it was just a little bit firmer -- obviously it was a little bit firmer -- but the last two days I ended up just short. Ended up in the fairway bunker on 1, hit it fat, but gave myself a good look for par, didn't make it.

2, actually, I wasn't in that bad a spot in the bunker, actually caught a rock between the bunker and ball and it shot to the right where I really didn't have much of a putt at it. Downhill slider from 12 feet, couldn't be really aggressive with it.

So not the way I wanted to start, but those two, those first two holes are tough when they're into the wind -- they're tough downwind, but you're trying to make pars on those holes, for sure.

Q. How much break was in that third shot at 18, the birdie putt?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: How much break was in it?

Q. Yeah.
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Probably 12 feet.

Q. What were the odds of making that one?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Not very good. Less than five percent I bet. I'm trying to 2-putt it. I'm 75 feet away, I'm just trying to get it down in two and go into Sunday one back, to be completely honest.

Q. Was there something you felt like you mixed at the turn in your swing?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: No, I actually, I didn't swing that bad on the front nine. It just seemed like the balls were just barely going in the rough or just barely in the fairway bunker, so I couldn't be aggressive. I will tell you, the greens on the front nine were probably twice as hard as the greens on the back nine. It was completely two different tail of nines. I don't know if it's the new greens they put in on the back nine last year. The back nine were definitely receptive, the front nine were not. So it's something I'm going to take into tomorrow for sure, knowing that. Because the first two days, both nines were pretty receptive. But that front nine, they were hard.

Q. How critical was the up-and-down on 15 and then making that 7-footer on 16 for just like keeping you aggressive?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Oh, obviously, if I go and 3-putt 16, after, I mean a pretty good bogey on 15, I mean, the wind's out of your sails. It's gone. And instead, making that 7-footer, the sails filled up a little bit, the momentum got going and obviously was able to convert with some good shot shots on 17. And like I said, complete luck on 18 to get a 3 out of there.

Q. With the tough finish here, obviously, have you finished this, did you do 17, 18 birdies before here? Have you done that before?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: I haven't played here much in the past, this was a last second add for me. I wasn't planning on playing here. I was planning on playing in the Match Play. Didn't get into Match Play because my play wasn't that stellar last week at Tampa. So it was an easy add, once I didn't get into Match Play, but I'm glad I'm here.

Q. We know on the PGA TOUR when two guys start playing well they feed off of one another. Emiliano had a really tough day today. You ended up at 1-under par for the day. When you're playing with a guy who is going through the struggles that he was going through, how difficult is it for you to stay on task and kind of not get sucked into going that direction as well?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Yeah, Emiliano obviously didn't play that well. But besides the par-5s -- he made 9 on 6 and that sort of derailed him. And then he actually hit some good quality shots. It wasn't, I wouldn't say -- his score was about as bad as it could have gotten, so it wasn't like he was hitting all over the map and 3-putting and doing that sort of stuff. So it wasn't -- I mean, I've been there when guys are doing that and it's tough to play, but I didn't get that feeling at all from Emiliano today.

Q. At what point with that putt at 18 did you think, this has got a shot at going in, and what was going through your mind that whole time?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: About halfway I'm like, oh, this might be a little low and I'm like, oh, it's keeping its speed up and it's going at the hole. And I go, this thing's going right in the middle, and with cup speed. And it was about 12 feet from it and I'm like, heck, this thing's going to drop. And obviously it was a good feeling.

Q. How many cardigan sweaters do you have in your closet?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: None. I'm not a cardigan guy. I got zero cardigans and hopefully add one. And it wouldn't be in the closet, it would be on the wall.


JOHN BUSH: Best of luck tomorrow, Charley.

CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Thanks. Appreciate it.

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