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April 24, 2004

Scott Hoch


CHRIS REIMER: Scott, the conditions you played on Thursday and the conditions of the course now are obviously much different. Talk about how hard it was playing Thursday and what the difference would be.

SCOTT HOCH: I can't give you too much other than the first hole. I ended up playing three holes. I hadn't quite finished the third hole. The first hole, the big difference was first I hit a driver, 4-iron on the green, made birdie. It's like a 570-yard hole or something.

Today I hit a good tee ball, a good 3-iron and still had 90 yards to the pin. So that's how much difference it made. Not just that it's playing longer because it's wetter, but we don't have that gala we had the first two days. The first two days it was downwind on the first hole, and what this will do is the downwind holes will probably play tougher now obviously because we're not going to have -- it'll be easier to hit the fairways, start off that way, but if you hit the fairway, it'll be a little harder because you're going to have a longer shot into the green.

The fairways being softer, not downwind, but when you turn around and come back into the wind it'll make those holes play easier. Overall it's going to make it play a lot longer off the tee.

The second hole I hit an 8-iron today that hit by the pin. I thought it would be soft, it hit by the pin, and went over the green some 30 yards behind the pin -- I mean, 30 feet behind where it landed. So it's not as if the greens are that soft because of all this rain. You might find some soft spots, but where I hit that one wasn't.

You know, it changes things. You hit the ball in the fairway, the grass is going to be that much tougher because it's wet, it's going to get longer as the week goes on, and with it having moisture, it's tough. By hitting it in the fairway, you get to place it, so that's going to be a premium on driving. The fairways have been made wider due to the fact that they're wetter and the ball is not going to run as much to get to the rough.

Q. What is your approach with the long day/perhaps days to kind of face -- obviously you're going to try and finish tomorrow, if possible, but playing close to 36 holes. I'm just wondering what your mind set is about that.

SCOTT HOCH: Instead of a 100-yard dash you're going to have a 220. You're not going to go all out. Say you were in a position a little farther back and going into the last day, you'd pretty much have to take a lot of chances to shoot a low score to put yourself in contention and to have a chance, whereas now when you have, say, 27 holes for some of the guys, they get going and they don't have to shoot for every pin. They can play a little smarter and take a chance when they can. They have more time to make up more ground. Look, you just passed halfway, so it's not like the same mind set that you're going to have going into the last round if you're behind or you're in the lead. If you're in the lead going into tomorrow, the way it is now, you shouldn't even be worried about it. It's like a first or second-round lead. It's inconsequential.

Q. How about the wear-and-tear aspect of the day?

SCOTT HOCH: I'll probably have some wear and some tear on me tomorrow, but also I came in, went by the weather trailer, and the guy said that the system, he doesn't anticipate it being out of here until noon tomorrow. So if things develop overnight or in the morning, we still could have some more trouble, and if that's the case, it's probably going to be spread out until Monday, if that's what they decide. You've just got to play it as it goes. You're supposed to be in position at 7:30 so you need to be ready to go at 7:30 tomorrow, whatever happens. Be ready at 7:30, play as long as they tell you, and then if they have a break again, they have to regroup.

Q. Monday has been pretty kind to you, hasn't it?

SCOTT HOCH: Well, it wasn't really because of the rain.

Q. But your last win came on Monday?

SCOTT HOCH: Yes, and it was getting pretty dark out there for me today, too, with that overcast and those dark clouds coming in. It wasn't real easy to see the break.

Q. Why are you here this week? You were not crazy about the idea of --

SCOTT HOCH: Good question. Last year was my solid protest, although nobody heard it. No, I'm disappointed they moved because I liked the other course, whether I played good or bad at it. I liked the other course and everything around it. It just made more sense, and I think I was a little upset.

I got more quotes than I actually said. I read some people got upset with some things that I said two years ago after finding out they were moving it, and I didn't say some of that. The worst stuff I didn't say because I wouldn't have said it. I wouldn't have used the terminology that they used, so it wasn't me. I know one of the players got upset at me for saying it, but I'm telling you I didn't say it.

But I was disappointed they moved it. At that time I think two years ago I heard they were only going to be here for one year and then go to a new course, and that didn't make sense in my career this late to do this. I was one of the late entries this week. I played good last week, and my wife, I don't know what she's got going on this week, but she told me you'd better go play (laughter).

I played good last week, and if I would have done my normal stuff, hit my irons anywhere like I normally do and as consistent, I would have won last week. But I threw away so many shots -- I hit some terrible shots and was very iffy with the putter. Second nine holes here was the same thing, played good for nine holes and then played terrible for nine holes. Couldn't make a putt, couldn't hit a fairway. It wasn't good.

Q. Did you come here today liking your chances knowing last year that it was such a long hitters' type --

SCOTT HOCH: If it would have been the same as last year I wouldn't have come. I called ahead and they said it was pretty plush. I didn't know anything about the course other than the little bit I saw, but I did look at most of the Top 10, and all but maybe one of those guys were long hitters, and I said, uh-uh, the course isn't for me. I called last year and found out they had rough -- there aren't many places on the PGA Tour we have much rough, so I have to take it where I can get it.

I figured if I was playing well, which I drove it extremely well last week, that this might be a good tournament to come and play while I've been playing well because my hand, when it starts bothering me a little bit -- when I take off it seems to bother me a little bit more, so I wanted to keep playing as long as I was playing well.

This course is okay. I don't like it nearly as much as the last one. It's just okay to me, but the conditions are much better for me this year than they were last year.

Q. It's interesting you talk about picking courses that have rough and stuff like that. How many regular tournaments --

SCOTT HOCH: That's what happens when you get older. You get to pick and choose. You know what kind of courses you can play well, which are tailor made to my game, what fits my game better than others. We've got 40-something tournaments, and my schedule is cut down, so I'm going to play low 20s maybe, so I've got to play where I feel I have my best chance, or if not that, play where I like to play, even though I'm going to the tournament that I really don't feel I can contend in, it's just one that I like, I've always liked, and I want to keep going back.

There are a lot of different reasons, friends there or whatever, and it's fit well in my schedule. The way the course was set up this year, it worked for me, and I like Houston. I don't like having to drive around this part of the area, though. Man, I get lost out here.

I like the Woodlands. I know people there, stayed there, know the restaurants. Things have to move on, I guess, but I was not a happy camper when they did, because I felt that was a good course for me and I enjoyed playing it, and if there are courses you enjoyed playing -- and some years they were set up with rough and some years they weren't, but when they were set up with rough and I was playing well, it was a good course for me. I should have won, and I gave the tournament away there. I had good feelings about that tournament. Obviously you go to a new tournament, you don't know anything about it, you don't have the same vibes.

Q. Has your wife been answering your calls this week?

SCOTT HOCH: Actually where I am, when she calls me, she's wondering why I don't answer. My phone doesn't ring in my hotel.

I'm planning on playing next week, as well. I'm planning on playing four weeks in a row and then I'll have some time off. I'm not one that likes to play one on, one off, two on, two off. I mean, I like to get a rhythm going. As long as I played well at Hilton Head and did enough things well, then I figured it was worth it for me to come here.

I'll tell you, the Houston organization here, HGA, has always been great to me, too. They did a favor for me in the off-season, so I think that was another reason that helped propel me to decide to come.

Q. Did a favor for you? Do you want to elaborate?

SCOTT HOCH: Well, they just did a favor for me. They just did something I needed to get tended to and they had somebody locally that could do it, so they were very helpful and I appreciate them for that.

Q. You talked about liking the Woodlands. Do you in general like TPC layouts?

SCOTT HOCH: In general, no. There I did. You've got to take each one of them on an individual basis, and certain ones I do like, there are other ones that I don't, but most of them have been built for longer hitters, and that's not me. And also big greens, that's really not something I like, either, but you understand why it's like that, so they can have a lot of pin placements because they have a lot of play, and that way the greens won't get worn down or things like that. I understand how it works, it's just that not all of them are my favorite places, but there are a number of them I do enjoy playing.

Q. Can you just mention a few that you like?

SCOTT HOCH: Well, one of the few I like, I like Avondale. I've had some success there. You enjoy playing where you've had success. I like the Woodlands. TPC now they have rough on it. The first ten years there I didn't make the cut, and then the last ten years I played great there, for me, so that shows how setup makes a difference.

Q. Dallas?

SCOTT HOCH: Dallas I don't play. That's my fishing trip. They do a great job there, but that's my fishing trip. I don't have any control over there. My buddies figure out their schedule, and when I can do it, I'll go. I'm not sure about the other TPC courses. I don't play Phoenix.

Q. Do you feel healthy enough to win?

SCOTT HOCH: Today I do, tomorrow, we'll see. I feel fine. I've felt the best I've felt this year and -- the last two years. I'm starting to get a little tenderness in my hand, but maybe that's just my weather barometer saying it's going to rain, I don't know.

CHRIS REIMER: Thanks, guys.

End of FastScripts.

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