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March 29, 1997
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLORIDA
WES SEELEY: Scott Hoch, 69, 71, 65, 205, 11-under par in second place. Seven birdies, no bogeys. Tell us about it.
SCOTT HOCH: I feel I was pretty fortunate. I played well. I putted very well, although I did have a couple good birdie opportunities that I didn't give it the best effort. But, as far as getting the most out of my round, I felt I did. And, any time I had a chance to make bogey, I was lucky enough to make a good chip shot or putt. And, I made a number of good shots to the greens and converted them for birdies. But, I would say the main thing, I drove it well early. I would say I hit a good drive on 18, but that's kind of a tough-driving hole today. But, I putted and chipped real well on top of my driving. My irons weren't the best, but they had been a little iffy this year as it is.
WES SEELEY: Take us through these seven birdies.
SCOTT HOCH: Okay. First hole, I hit a wedge about 12 feet, made that one.
WES SEELEY: 5.
SCOTT HOCH: Huh?
WES SEELEY: I'm sorry. I was helping you there. 5.
SCOTT HOCH: 5, I hit it about 15 feet, nice -- that was one of my better putts. That was a foot and a half for break there. And, I hit a 5-iron to the green, I believe, made that one for birdie. Then I still had a 6-iron to about 4 feet on No. 7. And then --
WES SEELEY: That was No. 6.
SCOTT HOCH: Or 6.
WES SEELEY: Yes.
SCOTT HOCH: Yeah, 5 and 6. That's it on front, correct?
WES SEELEY: Correct.
SCOTT HOCH: Then I birdied -- I drove in the rough on 10, and then got very fortunate. Didn't have that good of a lie. Hit an 8-iron just short of the green; hit it about 3 feet; made that for birdie. Then I played 11, just like I have to, which is a 3-shot hole. And, hit a sand wedge up about 5 feet right behind the pin; made a good putt there because the downhill sliding putts are kind of tricky on these greens; especially where you're near the end of the pack and everybody has walked around the holes. Next hole, I hit a sand wedge which went about 15 -- 12, 15 feet past, which really surprised me, because I hit it just the way I wanted to with my optimum yardage, and I guess it kind of fooled me from yesterday. I hit one and kind of posed over one yesterday and went in the bunker and made bogey, so I might have put a little extra iron in it just because of that. Then after that, made a few good -- made some good pars, and then hit my second shot over 16, and kind of flopped it back to about 3 feet; made that for birdie.
WES SEELEY: Questions.
Q. What did you do on 18 out of the rough, hit it out of the rough and then --
SCOTT HOCH: Well, I actually didn't judge it too good. I didn't have a very good lie on the rough. I was trying to leave about 60 yards. That was the kind of shot I wanted to leave into the green so I could spin it on top of that shelf and leave it close to the hole. But, for whatever reason, the ball jumped and some of the shots bounced a good bit today, and that one hit and bounced and bounced and bounced, so it got up there. Instead of 60 yards, I had 28 yards, so I didn't calculate that too good.
Q. What club did you hit out of the rough?
SCOTT HOCH: 6-iron. If I would have known that, I would have hit a 4-iron and tried to get it there.
Q. Scott, could you talk a little bit about the advice your dad gave you about your putting that you were reluctant to take but decided to take?
SCOTT HOCH: Not really reluctant. Whenever your parents tell you something, you always say no. It's ingrained, I believe. That can't be it. No, he just told me to flex my knees a little more. Just looked like I was kind of bending over too much, and my legs were probably a little too straight to address putting, and try to flex my knees a little more. And, stay a little more still over the ball because he thought I might have been moving and that might have been the reason. And, he looked at -- I guess it was -- what was it? -- I guess Monday, he looked at a tape from about two or three of my wins, and that's what he came up with. And, usually, they have a lot of helpful hints, but usually it doesn't pan out. But, I got on the practice green this morning and tried it, and, yeah, it felt pretty good. It didn't feel any different. It didn't hurt. It didn't seem like it hurt my stroke any. I've been putting pretty well this week, and it really helped. I was hoping it helped.
Q. What's your dad's name?
SCOTT HOCH: Art.
Q. Scotty, a year ago, I guess at the start of the Florida swing, you weren't sure if you were going to come play in this event. Have you had a change of heart about this golf course or can you talk about that?
SCOTT HOCH: That sounds very familiar as other questions that got me in trouble before.
Q. Well, I mean, you didn't have the best round --
SCOTT HOCH: No, I never said anything about the course.
Q. No. I know.
SCOTT HOCH: I just said I haven't played well and, for whatever reason, over the years, this stretch, three-week stretch, has not been good to me. I've not played well. I've tried to alter my schedule coming into it several times to see if that might be it. But, it didn't make a difference; didn't play well, and I never seemed to putt well here. And, I mean, last year, I didn't commit 'til that Friday. Thursday, I shot like 77 or 78 at New Orleans, and then I wasn't coming here if I would have made the cut. I think I shot 65 or something in New Orleans, so I said, "Well, I'll go ahead and commit," and that was right before I came here. And, at that time, when I shot the 65 or so, that's when my game came around. And, when I'm playing well, I feel I can play well just about anywhere that's fairly warm. And, so there's nothing really with the course. It's just, more or less, me. And, I mean, it's not -- let's just say the course isn't conducive to my game, but yet, that doesn't keep me from not playing well in it. But, it is tough to play a course that you don't normally read the greens very well.
Q. Did you have a more positive year this year coming off of last year?
SCOTT HOCH: Yeah, I told people I really feel good about this week because I have been playing well. My scores don't indicate it the last two weeks, but I've been -- have been playing well. I just had not been scoring, and if I missed a shot, I was paying dearly for it. And, I wasn't making up for bad shots and wasn't making any putts. I mean, this is Bay Hill where I live. During this whole stretch, too, when I don't play well here, it's the same thing at Bay Hill in Orlando, which is where I live. I mean I haven't played any good there in ages, ever since they changed the greens about five or six years ago.
Q. Scott, you said your iron-play has been iffy, and you're known as a really good ball-striker, has that put extra pressure on your short game?
SCOTT HOCH: That's the funny thing about being known for something. I'm known for a lot of things that aren't necessarily true. That's the whole thing. You know, once you -- that's probably a good thing that I've been known for that keeps perpetuating itself. Whether it's true, I don't know. At times, when I'm playing well, yes, I feel I am a good iron player. But, you measure the good iron players by how consistent they are. I feel the last few years, it hasn't been as good as it has been in the past. I feel I've become a better driver of the ball, which I don't even get noticed for. At times, I've putted well, which I definitely haven't gotten noticed for. But, you know, different years are -- different parts of your game are probably better than others.
Q. Scott, why did you decide to come in here today? Is the boycott over?
SCOTT HOCH: No.
Q. Is this a special occasion?
SCOTT HOCH: The threat of my purse being turned over to a favorite charity. No, I'm just kidding. He didn't tell me that, but we might not be -- if I didn't at this tournament, we might not be too far from that. But -- which might be -- which might be, you know, what should happen. I don't know. It's something that I've, you know, felt I should come here. It's our tournament. You know, I played well. And, probably enough -- to let some of the people here know, if they don't know why I haven't, it's, you know, I've kind of gotten tired of no matter what's been said, something else gets written. And, it gets old. Especially when your family is old enough to read things and people come into your house and do interviews and all of a sudden you read a magazine article and think, "Man, there's not a single thing in there; why did they even bother to interview me?" And, too many times, you know, they've -- you know, haven't let facts get in the way of a good story. And, I just finally said, "Enough's enough." I said, "If you're going to write what you want anyway, why do you need me?" And, it was really only the written press. I mean, you can't do much with TV -- sure, they can splice it and whatever, but I'm not Hard Copy material, so it's not as if they needed, you know, to splice it and get in what they want. So, I feel that's pretty, you know, when you get -- in that media, that it's pretty accurate what you say. And, sure, I've said some things in the past that it's just as much my fault as other people, but they took it to an extreme as far as taking what I said out of context. I mean, you know, lots of times, lots of athletes say things that, you know, they say, "Oh, I was misquoted or taken out of context." You know, if I'm wrong or say something stupid, I pretty much own up to it. I don't worry if it hurts your reputation or anything like that. I mean, I just tell the truth. I'm not going to sugarcoat anything. And, I once said something about a tournament, not on our TOUR -- actually, about a course not on our TOUR, and they took that and ran with it saying about the whole tournament, you know, I don't like or anything else, which isn't true. I said something about one particular course, and -- But when they write things that aren't true, or stuff that has been written a long time ago that has been -- well, it hasn't been proven that it's wrong, but as far as finding any credible information to support what a paper in Dallas had written, they don't have it. They never did have it. And, we just thought that it would die, so we didn't pursue it anymore. But, then things like that keep coming up, just like the gentleman said back there, you know, "I heard you were a good iron-play player." Well, that was 10, 12, years ago when I was really good, because that's all I could do. And, you know, it gets old. Give credit for what people have done and how they are now, and just because somebody wrote it doesn't mean that it's true. And, you know, like I said, with my family getting old and my kids old enough to read things, and then if they get in a disagreement with somebody at school, then somebody their age throws it up in their face that they read it about their father and all that stuff.
Q. Did Finchem actually talk to you this week about it?
SCOTT HOCH: I talked to him before the -- well, yeah, I talked to him before the Tournament of Champions and told him what I was going to do. He thought I was kidding, so -- and then I got a call from him awhile back, but I wasn't in; returned his call, and we haven't hit. But, we've kind of talked, and they understand. They've seen a lot of the stuff that's been done, and they agree -- they agree with what I say has been happening. They just don't agree with how I'm handling it - how it should be done. They think it should be worse. And, I'll be honest with you, I'm not handling it the best way as far as not talking -- shutting you guys out. I don't think that's right. But, if I don't, you don't get a message. You know, same thing keeps going on. You know, around -- all the articles that are written during the Andersen, I thought it would be a good event, uplifting things. Like I said, people -- I spend time on the phone with or they come to my house to do interviews, and then read them, and I said, "Jeez, why do I even bother?" And, this was just my way -- it's not the right way. But, I just don't know -- I just don't know any other way to handle it. And, the thing is, most all of you are very credible and good writers, but I don't know which ones aren't. And, so, you know, everybody gets hurt when there are a lot of guys that, you know, that the truth doesn't matter, then they don't want to mess up a good article with the truth.
Q. Scott, what's it going to take for you to win tomorrow?
SCOTT HOCH: Good. We're off of that. Probably one of my best rounds. I mean, I don't know what Steve is going to do. On this course, you know, we could end up tied or he could end up four or five ahead. I don't know what he's doing. He's playing awfully well. He's playing better than anybody right now, so it's going to be difficult. All I can do -- I'm not worried about him. All I'm worried about is how I'm going to play and how I go out and attack it. Because, if I shot 65 today, there will be somebody else that can do it tomorrow or lower.
Q. What does it mean to you to win the Bartlett Award, if anything?
SCOTT HOCH: Well, I did a speech at Orlando Downtown Athletic. And, you know, I told them then that they must have done it because of my wife, because they surely couldn't have been doing it for me because of all the things that the media and the press had written about me. And, then, to go and do that and, you know, to nominate me or vote for me to do that because that's something that I do behind the -- behind the lines there. I mean, I'm not one, any time I'm going to do something good for somebody, I call a press conference to announce it. You know, we like to support -- we fell into the Arnold Palmer Children's Hospital - obviously not the way you want to - but due to a serious illness with our son, and we've just come to really like and think that's a great organization and it's a great cause, although we are involved in a number of other causes. But, I think that's the one that most people know about, and, you know, I think that's -- I think that's great, and that's because the timing of that, along with me not really wanting to talk with the press, couldn't have come at a worse time. Because they asked me, "Are you going to come to it or even talk?" I said: "Yeah, I feel very honored to accept something like that." But, I wouldn't have ever gotten into it or been given the award if it weren't for my wife. She's the one -- obviously, I started it because I gave money to the hospital without her even knowing it. If you would have seen her expression when I gave it away, but she was in full agreement. There wasn't anything that she didn't want to happen. And, actually, she's the one that's very charitable, and I'm lucky I have anything left. If it was up to her, I might not.
Q. The golf writers honored you, though.
SCOTT HOCH: Yes.
Q. Not your wife.
SCOTT HOCH: Well, I know.
Q. But don't you find it a little ironic?
SCOTT HOCH: That's what I said. Yeah, it couldn't happen at a worse time. And, I mean, there are a lot of people that know what I do and how I am, although I don't come out and sugarcoat anything or buy a lot of guys drink. I missed that class in school somewhere. But, you know, I respect the job that everybody does. I just wish they would respect the job that I do, and just -- look, I don't care if you crucify me when I'm deserving of it. Like, I had a little faux pas in Houston, I even gave them the ammunition which I felt I deserved, and I didn't mind them printing what I said, because that's what I felt at the time, and -- but, you know, just try to be a little more sensitive at other times.
Q. When you got here today and saw the conditions, would you have thought a 65 was realistic?
SCOTT HOCH: Not from me.
Q. I mean, under these conditions for anybody.
SCOTT HOCH: Well, no, not really. I thought that would have been beyond the call right there, but it was really tough early, and then it settled down for about four or five holes a little bit. And then, the last four holes, it was very tricky. And, you know, I got everything out of it that I could. You know, whether -- if I would have shot my 72 today and somebody else would have shot 65, I would have been out there saying, "No way. No way." I mean, the conditions were like that, but everything went my way, and even when my shots were a little off, I was able to make up for them.
Q. Scott, after this tournament, will the media boycott resume in force or will you select certain tournaments that you will talk and others that you won't?
SCOTT HOCH: Well, it hasn't really been in too much force because I found out that nobody wants to talk to you much when you don't do very good. That's kind of the way it always is. And, I haven't played too well lately, so I haven't had to worry about it too much, other than telling a few local writers or -- local to the tournaments. "I'm sorry, I'm not speaking." "Oh, I haven't heard that." I said, "Well, you have to play better before -- I have to play better before you would know it." No, I really think that this is probably just a good time to let it out, but then I'll probably -- I'll reconsider. But, at this time, I'm probably going to go back and do -- maybe at the bigger tournaments like this, when you have most of the -- a lot of the big, responsible media, rather than a lot of local -- I don't want to get on the wrong side of the locals, but some areas which guys don't know about golf and they're actually trying to get something, something cheesy or Hard-Copy-type or whatever, and we have too many credible writers to keep out. I just don't know.
WES SEELEY: Here's one now.
Q. Scott, are you one of the players --
SCOTT HOCH: What did you say?
WES SEELEY: I said, "Here's one now."
SCOTT HOCH: He's one that I almost shot somebody in the crowd at Augusta because of him. I still remember that thing. That was one of the best lines I ever read, in fact, and I told you. He said, Yeah, my putt at Augusta, he wrote that I said, If I had a gun, I probably would have shot myself when I missed that. He put in his article, "Good thing he didn't because he probably would have missed and hit somebody in the gallery." I thought that was a great line.
Q. Are you one of the players who would prefer that the writers not be allowed in the dressing room, in the locker room?
SCOTT HOCH: Locker room is okay; dressing room, no.
Q. You know what I mean?
SCOTT HOCH: No, I don't have a problem with them in there. Not with most of them. Most of the time. See, certain tournaments, it's tough. Other ones are fine. You know, when you have close quarters, that makes it tough with all them in there. I have not had an opinion, you know, one way or the other that way. At times, probably I wish they weren't in there because there wasn't enough room. And other times, it was fine. I didn't have any problem with it.
Q. If you had a vote now, what would you vote?
SCOTT HOCH: I would probably abstain. I've learned my lesson. I've learned my lesson. It doesn't bother me. No, I would probably say if I had to pick one way or the other, I would say let them in. What is our policy now?
WES SEELEY: They are in. They're allowed as it has been.
SCOTT HOCH: See, they haven't been near me. That's right, I've seen some of you in there, but, you knew, I wasn't talking, so everybody just kept on going.
Q. Scott, is there a particular story that angered you at the end of last year? I mean --
SCOTT HOCH: Well, it's an accumulation of things. There are several of them that did towards the end of the year. I don't even know who they are because it doesn't do me any good to do that. But, there have been a number of them through the years that, you know, really didn't have a lot of basis for it, and I just didn't see the purpose behind -- behind a lot of it. And, one, in particular -- it wasn't so much the article, but it was kind of the slant and the way that everybody thought about it was it was a -- it was a cover of a magazine -- had me on the cover of a magazine when there was no reason for me to even be on the cover when all the other stuff was going on last year. I'm not going to name who it is. And, then they had a little byline on the cover that didn't come out -- didn't sound too good. And you'll probably find out if you ask some of your fellow writers which one. They would probably know.
Q. Have you been misquoted or, I mean --
SCOTT HOCH: I would say some. Probably no more than anybody else, but it's the intent of it, and the maliceness to which they do it -- I don't know if that's a correct word or not.
WES SEELEY: It's a concept, if it's not a word.
Q. We'll fix it.
SCOTT HOCH: That's what you can do. Yeah, that's what you do well. I don't have my word processor so... But, you know, it's -- they put anything you say in to make it fit their story. I mean, that's what you do. And it's just what light you're trying to portray somebody.
Q. Wait a minute. That's what who does? I am here. Furman is here. I don't put it in there because I want it in there. What are you talking about?
SCOTT HOCH: You put it in a light, meaning what I say, if it fits somebody's writing -- I'm not saying every one of you. I just said there are a lot of good writers here, but some of them take what you say -- only parts of what you say and fit it into however they make it, the slant of their article. I'm not saying everybody, Furman.
Q. Well, you are going to have to be a little more specific.
SCOTT HOCH: I thought I was. Then again, if I was, I wouldn't have the problem I've had in the past, I guess. But, I wasn't, you know -- it's a touchy subject. Many of you are very good. I don't know if any of you in here are the ones I have a problem with or not. Like I said, I don't know a lot of the ones I do. I do interviews with them over the phone or whatever else, and then they come to my house. And those, I know. But, you know, it just gets tough when you read something, an article that you gave an interview to, and you really don't recognize any of the stuff that's in it.
Q. Scott, have you, in these situations, most of the time, players or athletes will talk to the writers involved. Have you actually sat down and talked to the writers that you've been upset with?
SCOTT HOCH: No.
Q. Do you think it would be --
SCOTT HOCH: No, because I know there's a player out here that any -- I've heard, anytime something negative is written, he calls them up, jumps on them - or sees them or whatever - and gets into it. But I'm just a small fish in this pond. I mean, I don't, you know -- I just figure, Well, no problem with it; no harm done. But, then, after a period of years, there has been harm. And I've had enough. And that might have been a way to pursue it earlier. And, you know, I'm not out to tell somebody how to do their job. And that's almost like what I would be doing because they know how to do their job more than I. If they want to write a certain type of article, put a certain slant on it, I'm not going to get them to change that. I wouldn't be able to get them to change it, so I just figure now, if I don't give them the information, then they're going to -- because I was giving it to them before, and they were still writing a lot of that. They're putting good stuff in and then putting a lot of old stuff in that I wish I would have nipped in the bud a long time ago. But, it fits the kind of story they want to write. And, unfortunately, I'm not the popular player that only good things are written about.
WES SEELEY: Okay.
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