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FORD CHAMPIONSHIP AT DORAL


March 10, 2003


Scott Hoch


DORAL, FLORIDA

PGA TOUR: We welcome Scott Hoch, champion of the 2003 Ford Championship at Doral. Scott, congratulations, I know it took a little bit from over night to today, but just talk about the process overnight and then the start at No. 1 with the putt.

SCOTT HOCH: Well, last night went fine, the usual, stayed up watched TV. I had a good episode of the Practice and ER. That ended about 2テつ o'clock. I probably got to bed about 2:15, 2:30 which is normal for me even if I play in the morning. I'm a late night person. I didn't think about it too much. It did creep into my mind a few times during the night. We got out of here so late. We got through dinner so late that it didn't give me that much time to think about it. Plus I was watching TV, taking my mind off of it. And then today, I say the first put I hit, I might have hit it a little better. For the line that I intended, I hit it a little easy. It was a break. It was still right center, but it didn't center cut. But as far asテつ the last three shots I hit being on the 18th, I can't play that hole any better.

Q. Would you have read it right last night?

SCOTT HOCH: Well, one of the reasons that I didn't go is because I asked Damon what he thought the putt was doing. He thought it was left center, left edge, and from what I saw I thought it was going to break left. So that was one of the reasons that I didn't putt because I don't want to be standing over a putt that I'm unsure about especially when I can't see to make. We have enough reading them. I have enough trouble reading them on Bermuda.

Q. So which was it?

SCOTT HOCH: He was right. That's why I pay him the big money. I mean last night it might have broken left, but this morning it broke right.

Q. Obviously, you leaned more on him this week than most weeks, the role he has and the fact he is a former player?

SCOTT HOCH: That's the reason why I hired him. To give you a little history about him, he ended up bogeying the last hole of the TOUR school to miss getting on TOUR one year. And so he is a good player and he actually won more tournaments than I have. I don't think there is the same degree that the ones that I won. He was known far wide for his mini-tour wins or how good a player he was. I got him at the end of the year when we started playing Bermuda, and I figured being a good player like he is, he would be able to read Bermuda. He does. He reads it much better than I do. I rely on him heavily when we are down south playing on Bermuda. I am from North Carolina, but I always played on bent grass greens. Even though I live in Florida, I very seldom play, it's not that I get that used to Bermuda. So I take a lot of what he says, sometimes I disagree. Sometimes I'm right. Sometimes he's right. But he can read them a lot better than I do.

Q. Can we go over your card this morning?

SCOTT HOCH: Yes.

Q. Talk about 18, the clubs you hit, after Jim threw it in there about 25 feet, did you decide to be more aggressive going at the flag and your train of thought?

SCOTT HOCH: Yes. I kind of played out yesterday thinking that, you know, I had the advantage and I was playing for par and leave myself a chance to make birdie, but today he hit it in -- he hit a good shot 25 feet to where he had it. So I figured I had good yardage. I said, let's go right at it. That's actually where I hit it. Where I aimed it is just right of the pin because you got to play for a little yank, just in case. If you aim it at the pin and yank it a little bit it might go in the water. If you hit on that green it might go not were a -- I was hitting to the right of the hole just like I drew it up, I was perfect, maybe a yard past pin-high.

Q. What club did you have there?

SCOTT HOCH: I might have had 148 yards to the hole, I had a 9-iron, a little downwind, a little right-to-left down. But the main thing was what I have had trouble during this weak, especially in the beginning, is driving the ball because my hand seems to work better as it gets loosened up but I couldn't hit that drive any better.

Q. Did you have any problems with your hand? Did you have to do anything with it this morning?

SCOTT HOCH: I couldn't do anything, the therapy guys were gone. They were gone last night. All I did was I iced it while I was eating dinner, that's all I could do. It felt the same. The thing about my hand, it's not hurting me. It's not hurting me. It's just maybe making me flinch on a few shots or not be able to swing like I want. It's something in there, it's not pain. It's not as if I'm dealing with a lot of pain when I'm doing this. I will tell you what, it does hurt when I miss hit a shot. I go on the range, miss hit a shot, it does hurt me. What happens is, it's like a circle, like a cycle that if I mis-hit it, it hurts my hand, the more my hand hurts the more I mis-hit it and it gets worse so I don't want to mis-hit too many on the range.

Q. Do you ever wonder whenever you get into contention this is going to the last time?

SCOTT HOCH: Sure. You always do. I didn't win last year, I won twice in 2001. I mean, it's getting up there. I guess this tournament is known for old winners. I saw something on TV last night. Floyd won it at 49 or something. He's got me by a few years. But then he had a really good track record here. You always wonder if it's your last. Sure, even at 32, when you are 35 or whatever, unless you're used to winning a lot, you know you always wonder if this is going to be your last win. But when you get up to low 40s, mid-40s and upper 40s it has to creep in your mind. Sure, it creeped in my mind. I said am I good enough to win now? I just go out there. I'm not concerned with it, because I go out there and play as hard and as good as I can every week. You just wonder with all of the talent we have out here, all of the young talent coming up, gosh, it's getting harder and harder.

Q. Are your emotions any different playing like in a playoff because of thatテつ -- because you don't know how many more times you are going to be there?

SCOTT HOCH: Sure, this is big. This is very big to do this and to do it how I did it, how I won, by making an eight-foot putt knowing that he was going to make it. I felt that I had to make it to extend it and hitting 3 perfect shots which I hadn't hit. I guess I did hit 18 pretty good a couple of times this week. But under these conditions early in the morning to hit those shots, that felt great.

Q. What confidence do you take out of this, a young guy winning would take this and run with it, but you have been out here long enough; how much does this mean to you going forward this year?

SCOTT HOCH: Well, let's just say that it means a lot right now. Hopefully I will even learn by it and use this to hopefully win again. Use experiences that I gained this week, knowing the whole back nine, I was pretty much down or even, the whole back nine, being able to hang in there, make a birdie, get back tied and actually on 17 I don't know how that ball didn't go in, because Bob Tway hit the ball right behind me. I saw what it did. His dove at the hole and mine stayed up. To be able to hit some of the shots and putts when you need to, it feels great. I hope I can apply that later in the year when I get in this same situation.

Q. How long have you lived in Florida and does this mean anything to you being a transplant to the state?

SCOTT HOCH: Well, it's 3 hours away. So it's not exactly playing at home. It feels good, as people pointed out to me several times this week, the media, or the TV guys did. You haven't won on Bermuda greens, all of the 10 wins you have, I started thinking about it, probably not. So it's good to win down here but when I won a few years ago because it's been a while since I won. When I won at Greensboro close to home with relatives, parents and friends all there that was definitely meaningful. It would be more meaningful if it was closer to home and I had more people that were close to me with me.

Q. How long have you lived --

SCOTT HOCH: I lived in Orlando going on 22 years now. No, going on 21 years. I guess I moved down here in '82.

Q. What about those Match Play man-to-man situations, does it seem like you almost lock in a little bit better, is that accurate?

SCOTT HOCH: I like it. I don't know if I lock in. One thing I pride myself on, I think I keep my concentration pretty well and that's one of the reasons that I'm still playing and still able to play pretty well is that maybe over some of the guys my age I can still concentrate and my mind doesn't wander maybe as much as some of the other people. So you know, I bear down, sure. But it's not as if I have lack of concentration in mental tournaments. I like it. You only have to beat one guy, you don't have to be 153 guys whatever it is in the field. I have always liked Match Play. Unfortunately the last 2 matches I played the guys have played as good as they can. Montgomerie in the Ryder Cup, and Tiger last week.

Q. Long week?

SCOTT HOCH: It seems like a long week.

Q. The article, didn't it call you one of the underrated guys on the TOUR, a guy that did more than you thought or less than you thoughtテつテつ -- how would you characterize it?

SCOTT HOCH: How I would rate my career? Underachieving in one area as far as winning for how well I have played for how long, I should have won more. And I should have won several big tournaments. But when you look at it career-wise and how well I've done and how consistent I have been in the 23 years, from when I came up that's probably I would figure overachieving for what I thought I was going to do. I just keep plugging a long. Hale Irwin won late, so did Floyd and I think the thing is, as long as you keep the desire to play and mentally you can still stay in there for 18 holes a day and physically you are in good shape, I think you can stay out here for a while.

Q. Scott, what are you doing, I know you are working out with that former Magic trainer--

SCOTT HOCH: Magic trainer.

Q. Dennis Scott or something was there?

SCOTT HOCH: I did that two years ago. I took him to the basketball court, yes.

Q. What do you do in November, December, January?

SCOTT HOCH: I was working out -- I was doing some type of work out, probably 9 or 10 times a week. Monday, Wednesday, Friday I was doing weight training, lifting. Just a whole cross-section of stuff. And then Tuesday, Thursday and Saturdays I was going with my wife to an aerobics class that was butt-kicker that I couldn't even do it at all. It ticked me off because she could, especially all the aerobics and stuff, and I do stuff at home.

Q. The thought of you in spandex is ruining my day?

SCOTT HOCH: Well you don't need to worry about it, I don't have spandex. I left that in your closet.

Q. Good one.

SCOTT HOCH: I worked out and I ran. Actually I strained my back, probably worked out too much. I strained my back a month ago. I hadn't been working out or run hardly any sense. I wanted to continue that all through the year this year and I haven't been able to do it. But for about two and a half, three months I worked out solid and got stronger. Actually I'm hitting the ball longer. It's helped in endurance. I didn't feel tired. So working out, there is something to it.

Q. You said it was just you and Damon this week, what does he bring to the team, what do you expect from him?

SCOTT HOCH: Well, his calmness. He doesn't let too much rattle him even when I got on him. Sometimes he has to be a sounding board. Sometimes I have to vent somewhere. Of course it wasn't anything that I did. So he has to take that, too. They have to be a psychologist, psychiatrist out there. Here, especially down south he helps me a lot more here than the other venues. I pretty much read all of my own putts except for on Bermuda. But there are times when I can't read them on other grasses and I will ask him to ask him what he thinks, but primarily he is very good down here and reading the greens. He is excellent as far as yardages and stuff goes and he is always on time. He is a great caddy, I have had a number of good caddies, some of the best ones out here. Some hall of fame caddies. He's just as good as they are.

Q. How much input did he give you on that last putt?

SCOTT HOCH: The same as he did the other ones, he told me what I thought. He said what do you see? I said well I don't see that yet. I looked behind the ball and saw close to what he did. I won't always take exactly what he says. But he was right on the 2 big holes on one and 18. I know what he told me on 18 but I almost have to see the film to see where I started it. I vaguely remember hitting the putt. But I looked up and it was going right in the middle so that's the part that I liked.

Q. What grade is your daughter in, what type of school start?

SCOTT HOCH: 16. She roughly leaves at 7:30. She is 11th grade. She is a good student so it's not a matter of that. She takes after me that way.

Q. Is she going to cut the whole day?

SCOTT HOCH: No, she is already back at school. I got on the phone and I said get to school. So she was. She will be happy now. But I told her last night I said Katie just go on and go to school and mom will text message you in class and let you know. She said uh-huh so I didn't agree with that either. You can tell who the student is in who are the parents. Who thinks the most about education.

Q. Will she always watch you on Sundays or in general or if you are in contention?

SCOTT HOCH: Well, up until this week she works on Sundays, but she quit this week. She just wanted a reason to quit so she stopped this week. She used that as an excuse. But my kids kind of do their own thing, usually not to worry. It's not as if I'm in the lead or close to it that often so usually when I am, if they don't have anything urgent planned or something big planned then they will watch. But you know, it's their weekends and they want to go out and enjoy them to. I let my kids do whatever. I don't tote them all around and have them watch me. As a matter of fact they have gotten bored. We learned of it two years ago. We used to travel in the summertime, that's when I played a lot and best, because they were traveling with me. It got to be, dad, we are getting too old for this, I can't be go away from my friends for three or four weeks at a time. So they have their own interest now. Some of you already know, some of you will find out. As soon as your kids get a car all of a sudden you are just in paying bills. You don't see them very much. In my case as soon as they turned 14 and could drive a boat all of a sudden I didn't see them too much, and then when they got their license for a car, forget it. Friday, Saturday night at home, no chance.

Q. Was she happy or disappointed?

SCOTT HOCH: She is happy. She likes school. But just looking for any excuse not to go.

End of FastScripts....

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