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March 30, 1997

Scott Hoch


WES SEELEY: 69, 71, 65, 74, 279, Scott Hoch, 9-under par.

SCOTT HOCH: When I said I would look like a spoilsport today after not winning, so I'm here today. First up, go ahead. I've got to drive home, so let's try to make this quick. I don't want to waste anybody's time like I did yesterday. This is Jacksonville's time.

WES SEELEY: General thoughts about your round.

SCOTT HOCH: Well, I actually, you know, I look back at it, I shot 2-over, and I really felt I played pretty well. I hit the ball solid; hit a lot of good shots today. I guess that's what the wind does. Yesterday, I was able to guess it right and hit the shots at the right time. Today, I hit a couple drives that were just off early, just off the fairway. I made a double bogey and a bogey with both of them. And then after that, I hit an 8-iron. I hit an 8-iron perfect, I thought, on 7. I was thinking I was going to have a kick-in birdie, and the ball came back in the bunker. The wind was switching during that time, and it came up 15 yards short. I thought I hit the shot just the way I wanted to. It just didn't work for me today. That happened. But, if I would have made some of my 6-, 8-foot par-putts -- I couldn't seem to do today -- and I guess the group is only allowed so many. And, after Steve kept filling it up, that eliminated my chances. You know, I saw -- I saw a fine player, if not a great player out there today, and, what he did; how he managed. I think the only time he got in trouble was when he actually tried to play too safe. But, he played extremely well; hit a lot of good shots, a lot of quality shots, especially when he needed it. And, the big thing is he made all his putts. Maybe if he would have -- if he'd have missed all the putts I did, and I would have made all the putts he did, then we might have had a good horse race going.

Q. How frustrating is it to try to catch somebody who isn't going to back down?

SCOTT HOCH: Well, like I said yesterday, it's not so much worried about what he's going to do, I'm just trying to do the best I can do. And, if he has a good day, it would be very tough to catch him, unless things really went my way and they didn't. Like I said, I wasn't disappointed with how I played. I look back at it, I only hit one poor shot today that I can think of, and that was on 14. It seems like the whole backside, I was in between clubs, and that was -- that was one of those instances where I was in between and just tried to overcooked a 6-iron. I tried to aim it right and hook it back in there. I really felt I might have a chance, but I hadn't even started that hole, and that's a tough pin to go to. I felt if I shot it right, I might get back there. And, I hit it in the bunker and just like whenever I hit a shot a little off, I couldn't do anything with it because I didn't have any sand under the ball. The pin was cut close, you know, just, unless you get shots that you can hit and chip close, it's very difficult when you're not making 8-, 12-foot par-putts, which I didn't make any today.

Q. At what point, if there was a point, did you look at the board and start worrying about second place? Was there a point when that happened?

SCOTT HOCH: Actually, I did not look at the board to see what anybody else was doing because I wasn't concerned with anybody else until I finished 16. That's the first board I saw after I finished 16. I had a feeling -- I mean, I just walked -- and you've got boards out there all the time, but I kind of noticed what was going on before but hadn't really looked at it. But, after I got through with 16, I stood back and noticed what it was. And, I just felt like I'd, you know -- it had really been a tough day. I would kick myself in the butt if I didn't finish second because I didn't feel I played poorly. But, like I said, things just didn't go my way.

Q. So after 16, did that kick in the butt, did that influence your decision on the 17th tee?

SCOTT HOCH: What, to push it right?

Q. Yeah.

SCOTT HOCH: Well, like I said, every shot I had seemed to be in between clubs, and that was the same, no exception there. Between a 9 and an 8, I couldn't decide. And, so I decided to aim to the left edge of the bunker, and hit it really hard with a 9-iron, because when I hit it -- one of the things I have a tendency to do when I swing really hard in an iron, I'll leave it right, so I was planning to push it. But, I didn't plan on pushing it that much. And, I mean, I hit a good shot. I was aiming, you know -- I was aiming probably 15 feet left of that. I figured if I caught that hill, it would come down to it. I wasn't aiming right at the pin, even with my push, but I overcooked it.

Q. Scott, after you double-bogeyed 4, I think his lead went to four shots, and then it grew over a matter of holes. Was there a point in the round --

SCOTT HOCH: To go to 4 --

Q. -- was there a point in the round where you felt he was out of reach after a certain hole?

SCOTT HOCH: No. Well, there was a point, but I'm not sure exactly where that was. Probably -- well, yeah, I felt I was really -- it would almost have to be an act of God for me to catch him after 14 -- 14 or 15, any of those, when he makes his birdie on 14, and I make bogey, and then he comes back and makes it from off the green on 15 for par. But, he did that all day. It didn't surprise me. And so -- it was disappointing, because I never could get it close enough. And, I couldn't either read the putts, the ones I read right, I didn't putt right. It was just a combination - speed was off a little early, and every time I seemed to have a putt, I didn't have a straight-in putt. It was either a side-hill putt that you had to have perfect speed and line on, and I just didn't have that. And, I tell you what, it doesn't help using a new putter. First time -- for the first week I've used it, and then being in the heat like this, but -- and it actually felt okay that way. But, it obviously didn't feel as good as yesterday. And, my speed which I had - which I had very good speed throughout the week - wasn't as good today. And, you know, that's part of it, obviously, the pressure of the situation. But, I felt pretty good out there. It's just that you have a new putter, and I think it's really going to work well for me. Because I really feel good with it. It's just that in the heat of the battle and a new putter, you don't have any history to go back on as far as knowing you're going to putt well or have a good feel with it.

Q. Scott, how hard was the course set up today and kind of separate it from the wind, if you can, in your comments about the setup and the firmness and so on.

SCOTT HOCH: Well, this is the way they wanted it the whole week, actually, harder than this. I tell you, I hope they keep it this way. One of the reasons I played well here is it's a kind of a shot-maker's golf course; plus it's a driver's golf course. When they put the rough on it, then it really brings out, I feel, a lot of the good players and eliminates some of the people that might be a little more radical. You have some good players that are kind of erratic but strong, and -- but when you add rough to it, which I was happy to hear, that adds me to the equation that I tend to like. I like an open-style course, that when you hit a drive off, you usually pay for it, instead of just the guys getting out there and bombing if, and they're not worried about missing the fairway or not. But, you know, Steve impressed me, too. His timing is so good right now, how long he was hitting it. And, the fairways were running now, and with his low driver, it was going out there. And I drove it good. He was out-driving me 30 yards on a number of instances today.

WES SEELEY: Shall we do birdies and bogeys? Let's go through them before we sign off here. We'll start at 4.

SCOTT HOCH: Okay. 4, yeah. You said birdies and bogeys. We eliminated 4.

WES SEELEY: Birdies, bogeys and that.

SCOTT HOCH: Okay. I just -- I hit my driver. I hit it good, but I got it up in the air just a little too much and the wind was kind of hard right to left, and it got just in the left rough, and that's deadly from over there. I already hit it there once in the week and I just chipped it out. This time, I hit a little farther up. I felt I could get over it, and usually a long rough, the club will turn it to where you're hitting a little left of where you're aiming, so I aimed for the right side of the green thinking that would happen because, obviously, you don't want to aim for the middle of the green and pull it and it would be out. Anyway, I hit it. It came out right; went well right. It was in a pine stall, and it was a very ticklish shot. Hit a pretty good shot, stayed up on top of the hill, and hit as easy of a putt as I could hit coming over that hill and went about 6 feet by, even after seeing Steve's putt go 10 feet by from there. I mean, if you weren't in the lower bowl, you had no chance to get it close. That was kind of unfair. But, you know, if that's the only one that gets that way, that's all right. And then I came back with a birdie the next hole. I made it from about 15 feet after hitting a 7-iron on the green. And then I just hit it in the short rough on 6, caught a flyer, went over the back of the green, made a good chip, missed the putt, probably about 5-foot putt. And, then, the next hole, hit a good 8-iron. That's the one I told you about earlier. I thought I hit a good shot, going to be close for birdie; came up 15 feet short in the bunker, odd stance. Blasted that out about 6 feet and couldn't negotiate that one. Then I hit a 3-iron probably about 6 feet on 8. And, I think the big -- kind of a turning point -- I had many of them where I thought I would pick up a shot or two, and, you know, putting for birdie, and I missed mine and he would make his long par-putt. So, that's kind of the way it went. I guess not much else happened 'til --


SCOTT HOCH: -- 14, in between clubs, tried to hit a hard 6 and hook it in there, and I just pulled a little bit and it hooked. Since I did hook it too much, the wind got it more and took it left in the bunker, and I didn't really have much of a chance, missed about a 12-foot par-putt. And then birdied 17 from about 8 feet, I guess.

WES SEELEY: What did you hit in there?

SCOTT HOCH: I hit it as hard as I could hit 9-iron. And then 18, just, I knew my position then. I just said, "Hit a good drive." And then in between clubs again, so I said, "Well, I'm not going to hit the ball much," especially after seeing Steve's release over the green. So, I hit a real good 6, and it stopped. I mean, where that one hit, after seeing the other ball, I would have thought that one would run right back to the hole, but it didn't. But, a birdie wouldn't have meant too much. I don't think that would have scared Steve any. It would have made me feel better, though. And, then I just tried to nurse it up there. And, then some idiot runs across the green. At least he had his clothes on. At least he had the decency to have his clothes on here. It wasn't like the British Open a few years ago -- many years ago, I guess. You know, it's disappointing, because I've had, you know, I want to get over the hump, and I've played well in some other tournaments. But, the tournaments that I consider very big tournaments, I haven't been able to get over the hump. I've had some opportunities. Had an opportunity today, but Steve shut that down pretty good. And, I'm happy to finish second. I would have been disappointed if I wouldn't have finished second by myself at worst, but that wasn't what I was after. And, I feel I want to get over the next hump, and that's my next hurdle. But, I tell you what, I'm in a big fraternity there when it talks about getting over that next hurdle. I'm one of many that want to reach that next level or win that next level. And, obviously, I consider this in the media -- and some of the players might not consider this a major - and it is not a major - but it's a tournament with the best field in golf. So I can look at it that way and feel happy that only one guy beat me.

WES SEELEY: Okay. All right.

End of FastScripts....

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