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September 25, 2002

Scott Hoch


GORDON SIMPSON: Scott, you have the dubious distinction of being the last of the 24, here.

SCOTT HOCH: There might be a reason for that, I don't know (laughter.)

GORDON SIMPSON: I'm sure there is. How have you enjoyed the experience? We're getting close to the matches now. You've been here three days; what are your general thoughts and assessments of this place.

SCOTT HOCH: I've enjoyed being here. It's in great shape. You have a little more rough than I figured they had, and tighter off the tee than I figured it would be. But if I'm playing well, that should be down my alley. The course is in great shape. It's also some of the holes are much more difficult than I thought they were when I've seen it on TV. Now I can see why many of the U.S. teams and the guys in the past had some watery graves on 18. I didn't think it was that hard a driving hole, but under certain conditions it would be.

GORDON SIMPSON: You enjoy that hole the way it plays.

SCOTT HOCH: I enjoy not having to play it. But if I play it, hopefully I'll enjoy it.

Q. How would you play that hole, the 18th hole? What's your strategy and your clubs?

SCOTT HOCH: Like somebody would say before, I'd drive, I hit iron, I "cheep," I putt. (Laughter.) I don't know yet. Depending on the conditions. Last couple of days it's been downwind, right-to-left, and I could hit a 3-wood or driver off there. It still leaves an awful long second shot, especially if I hit 3- wood and leave it a little right. That back tier, it's a long haul, still 215 or 225, if I hit a 3-wood say to the right side of the bunker. It's a lot longer than I thought it was from watching on TV. Because I've never been here. This week is the first time I've ever been here.

Q. In the past you seem to have been quite underwhelmed by the Ryder Cup, is that a fair comment? What do you make of it now?

SCOTT HOCH: I don't get that excited about much of anything, though. I'm out here. I play just like an individual tournament. I treat it the same. I come out here and do whatever I need to get ready to play the best that I can, just like a regular tournament.

Q. Do you find it gets a bit claustrophobic having to do everything, and go in the team room all the time; do you long to have time for yourself?

SCOTT HOCH: No, it doesn't make any difference. You can put me up in the corner and I'm fine. Just give me something to read or watch TV or whatever. I'm comfortable about anywhere.

Q. But do you join in with the table tennis and everything or are you a bit of a loaner?

SCOTT HOCH: They get into it too heated. If those guys are going to be like that on their matches, it's going to be tough, as much as they do in the table tennis. No, I've played some pool. But I don't play much table tennis now. I've played a few games of pool.

Q. We always regard you over here as a very in-your-face competitor. Do you regard that as part of match play where you don't have to get -- you're trying to unsettle him slightly?

SCOTT HOCH: I'll try to do anything. That's probably just my way.

Q. Was it the case in '97 that perhaps there was a little bit of pepper in the matches involving you?

SCOTT HOCH: Pepper involving my matches?

Q. Yes.

SCOTT HOCH: I don't recall any. Well, I just remember one time where one of the players made a call as far as who's away and I disagreed. And then the referee agreed with the other player. And I still disagreed, so I walked it off and proved him wrong. I don't remember anything else. Actually it made a big difference, too, because the player, after that, I think he was a little upset and chunked it in the bunker.

Q. Scott, your captain and one of the other players both said this morning about one of the great things you bring is the ability to play both better ball and alternate shot. Do you have a preference or care what you play?

SCOTT HOCH: I don't remember ever playing -- I know in the Ryder Cup I've not played best ball. So I don't know. That's one thing when I'm playing well, I think I'd be good at it. But most of the captains, whether it be The Presidents Cup team or the Ryder Cup team have favored me for alternate shot. I have played best ball in The Presidents Cup. But I don't know, myself I think I'd be better alternate shot. But if my game is on, then I think equally you could put me in either one and -- I'd like to play either one. You look at it, too, we have a lot of guys that can make a bunch of birdies, for me to sit out during best ball, would not be any great shame. We have guys that can make a lot of birdies. It's not as if I would be disappointed if I'm sitting out any of them.

Q. Is it your hope that the atmosphere of this Ryder Cup remains similar or the same as previous Ryder Cups?

SCOTT HOCH: No. I hope it's much more civil. Hopefully things have been tempered down a bit since 9/11 last year. And I hope we don't have any instances. I don't want it to be an in-your-face type of thing. I want it to be just a very good competition among friends, but you still want to win. But I don't want anything to be heated about it. I mean that's where I think -- they've gotten away from. I don't think it was originally intended to be cutthroat atmosphere or whatever. And I know the last year or three years ago, the crowds might have had something to do with it. And I just hope there are no instances, and that everybody just has a good, competitive matches.

Q. Does there need to be an edge between the two sides to bring out the best competition, do you believe?

SCOTT HOCH: I don't think there needs to be any edge. I think all of us have enough pride to want to go out and win, whether the matches -- whether we get to a point where the matches -- I think everyone has enough pride to want to go out and win their point when they can. But I don't want -- I wouldn't want to see a win at all costs or be nitpicky or whatever about certain things.

Q. Two questions: One, when you mentioned about how you could see the 18th drive could be difficult under certain conditions, were you speaking weather conditions or the conditions of the pressure you'd be under on the 18th hole?

SCOTT HOCH: Actually all conditions, even when it's easiest, like probably now, it's still not an easy drive.

Q. Was that weather you were talking about or pressure?

SCOTT HOCH: Weather and the other, sure. I mean if it comes into the face, yes, it would be very difficult for me. Guys that have more length it would be easier for, if they came into the wind. That would be an extremely long hole, because the more the wind is into me, the more I'd have to play it right off the tee, and that would leave me a very long second shot, a wood of some sort. And obviously if you're playing the 18th you're going to have a lot of pressure riding on you, too.

Q. What did you enjoy about your previous Ryder Cup experience?

SCOTT HOCH: Being around the guys, being around the guys, the wives and stuff. That's the one thing that's great about this experience is we get to know some of our players and their wives much better than we would any other time. We're around the players some, but -- for the wives to meet and be around a lot of the other wives and for us to see these people as Couples and stuff, that's what's fun. We can go out and eat with a number of the guys during the year, but many times, especially the older players, the wives don't travel with them that much, because they have kids at home and stuff. So it's good to be around everybody. That's what I take out of this as being the most fun. And as soon as the competition gets here, I enjoy that. That's fun. I look forward to the competition finally starting, once we get here.

Q. I think last Sunday in Ireland, you played with Sergio, and I think you played well and he played really well?

SCOTT HOCH: Third round.

Q. Did you feel --?

SCOTT HOCH: He played well the fourth round.

Q. Did you feel it was starting a little bit, when you were paired up with a guy that conceivably you could face a couple of times this week?

SCOTT HOCH: No, it couldn't have been any more cordial. Sergio is a great guy. And I don't see that these matches will change that. One thing about it, we play with these guys a lot more often than we used to, because of all the world events and all the Majors and stuff like that, and them traveling over and playing the U.S. more than they did the past. In that regard I think we're a lot better friends, so we're not going to have the animosity or whatever that they might have had in the past.

Q. You got the honor of being the oldest player in this Ryder Cup. Can you see yourself making another one? Do you think this will be your last?

SCOTT HOCH: I would say the odds are against me, but it's a possibility. And what makes it really tough is you've got a lot of young guys on our Tour that are great players, and they play quite a few -- quite a lot of tournaments. And for me to have to play 25 to 30 tournaments, like many of them do, I'm just not going to be doing that. For me to make it I've got to play well in the Majors or play especially well in the year of the matches where the points are doubled or quadrupled or whatever for majors. That's how I see possibly making another one. But the chances are unlikely, because I don't think I'm going to be playing as much. And my game hasn't been so good this year, but I've had a few injuries that really don't pertain to my age, just odd injuries that I don't feel are going to keep me -- keep hindering me later.

Q. Are you referring to your arms?


Q. I just want to follow up on your comments about the camaraderie. Earlier in the week Paul Azinger was in here and said it was at the Ryder Cup that he found out that Lanny Wadkins was a nice guy. What have you learned about people that are teammates of yours at Ryder Cups?

SCOTT HOCH: Well, I just learned more about them as a person, because you're not around a lot of them, you don't go out to eat with all of them. You have guys that you don't know as well, some you do know well. You just get to know them later.

Q. Anything specific about a specific golfer?

SCOTT HOCH: No, I don't think I want to get into individual golfers, I like to stay away from that.

Q. Scott, there's a great obviously rivalry between the two Tours, and one thing the Europeans are pointing out is that they do mix more, year in, year out with each other than they do in America. Do you feel that's a good thing or a bad thing?

SCOTT HOCH: That they what, mix?

Q. Mix more at ordinary tournaments?

SCOTT HOCH: Mix with us or them?

Q. With themselves, they feel like a team all the time?

SCOTT HOCH: Well, I would say the guys from the same continent or even the same country, yeah, when they're in the states they're going to go out to eat and do all the stuff together and play a lot of practice rounds. So that might be why -- somebody asked me earlier, typically why they've been strongest in the first two days than we-v and that might be why. They know their games a lot better, because they play with each other, whether it be for the same teams, when they play practice rounds in the states, they tend to play with themselves a good bit and they know their games better. They do typically hang out together. I mean it's just what they're comfortable with. They're in a new place so they want some comfort of home and that's what it is.

Q. Curtis Strange has said he had already laid out the pairings for all the rounds. You've played on a lot of these teams, Ryder Cups, President Cups; is that the first person that's ever done that in advance?

SCOTT HOCH: If he's done that, I must not be playing, then (laughter). I don't know, I think he's got -- only thing I've heard of he's got some tentative pairings for the first match, the morning matches on Friday. Phil might be privy to some other stuff or me might be a mind reader, I don't know. I haven't heard much, other than who is probably going to be playing -- but like Curtis says, probably going to be playing, but subject to change. So -- and that's the first match. That's the only ones I've seen where people were actually kind of set. But like I said, subject to change, and then playing Sunday. That's all I know is I'm scheduled to play Sunday right now.

Q. (Inaudible.)

SCOTT HOCH: I don't know, I'll have to see if my college teammate calls me to play or not.

End of FastScripts....

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