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March 8, 2003

Scott Hoch


JOHN BUSH: Thanks for stopping by again. 6-under par, 66 and co-leader at 14-under par. Your thoughts on your round today.

SCOTT HOCH: You got to love it. I feel great. I mean, when after about 5 holes I told my caddy I said, well, it doesn't look like we're going to get it today. My hand was bothering me. But it wasn't bothering me that much, it just still seemed to affect my swing. I was trying different swings and they weren't working. But I still could have kept a decent round going. I still hit some good shots early. I didn't make anything. All of a sudden things clicked on 8. I started hitting good shot after good shot. The only poor shot I hit was a ball on 17, I think, after that. Everything else was close to the stick or in the fairway.

JOHN BUSH: Let's open it up for questions; then we will go through the card at the end.

Q. Have you ever won a tournament where you were within 5 or 10 minutes of not even teeing off on Thursday?

SCOTT HOCH: If I did I wouldn't remember it anyway. There have been a number of times when I felt very iffy as far as playing. I know The Western a few years ago when I won, I had to quit during my practice round because my wrist was bothering me so much after about 12 holes. I mean, that was kind of a thing that it would bother me a good bit but I know if it came on, it would be best if I laid off. So I took it easy the rest of the day and I probably played in the pro-am and ended up winning the tournament.

As far as almost withdrawing and winning, I don't know. It's not as if I had that many wins to think back. I can't remember. That wouldn't stick very high in my mind. I would remember the winning but not necessarily the almost withdrawing.

Q. Were you surprised at all?

SCOTT HOCH: Very surprised. Probably more surprised than you are.

Q. That's not fair.

SCOTT HOCH: (Laughter.) I am very surprised knowing all the shots that I have thrown away due to -- well, due to not being on my game or my hand bothering me for certain shots. I have given away 8 yesterday. I bogeyed from 100 yards in 2. It was a par-5, hundred yards into the middle of the fairway and bogeyed it because I was trying to hit a different shot and my hand kinked on me. Bogeyed the first hole today, a par-5, everybody else is birdieing or eagling. There was some other holes. That really surprised me that I'm in this position giving all of that away but yet I have also hit numerous good shots, made a lot of good putts. So I guess it equals out. But more often than not it doesn't equal out.

Q. You said on 8 it clicked in, everything went well or did your hand start to feel better?

SCOTT HOCH: Well, maybe swing No. 21 was the one that worked. I actually drove at the edge of the left rough there. I had 228 to the front of the green. It was in the rough. I had to go between trees. I had to get a cut shot there. I said, if I lay up - nothing is happening. I'm going take a chance and shoot it, carried over the water by about four yards so I didn't even get to -- I was in the rough. I didn't get to the fairway just short of the green. I made a good chip and good putt; then it started. Then I started hitting shots. Before that I hit good shots. I hit good shots on the -- actually five holes before that. I mean 1 and 2 I played very poorly. After that I hit good shots but I didn't make anything.

Q. If the weather stays like this -- (Inaudible)

SCOTT HOCH: There is no way of knowing. Look what I did the last 11 holes. If you have a 3-, or 4-shot lead making the turn and you shoot 1- or 2-under, someone gets hot, who knows? You got to shoot the lower score. I'm not trying to be sarcastic or anything else about it. You really don't know what you need to do. You need to go out there and start off strong and hopefully sustain it. My key is going to be how I start off, how I adjust, how my hand is going to be in the beginning. Hopefully I won't have to make many adjustments or try different swings before I find the one that works.

Q. You made the multiple references to trying different swings. Is that because you can't snap the wrist through and bunt it around?

SCOTT HOCH: It's not allowing me to take my normal swing and release the ball, my normal shot. It's not allowing me to do that. It's allowing me to do it some, but in this game that's not good if it's only allowing you to do it some. The other ones you don't pull off are hitting right or left, that doesn't do you good. You have to hit low shots. It worked for me when I started shortening my swing. I shortened my swing a little bit and I hit it, hit good shots after that. It's not affecting my iron play, don't get me wrong. It's just the woods and maybe my wedge game. If I had a dinky shot something other than a full shot it might bother me a little bit. As far as my normal shot with an iron, it's not bothering me. It is bothering my wood.

Q. (Inaudible)

SCOTT HOCH: Just try to hit a wood harder, there is more swing speed with a wood, it's is not allowing me. That's where I am having the problems. But it's not hurting me, don't get me wrong, in the days I have played it hasn't been hurting me, it's just not allowing me to swing the way I normally do or to release the way I normally do. Whether you call it a yip, or something, or a kink in it or what. It's not hurting me. That's not the problem.

Q. Does that make it mental?

SCOTT HOCH: Well, if you try -- if you are keyed into one swing and every now and then it gets away from you ever wonder is this the one it's going to yip on or grab you on. I went and shortened my swing and I didn't have a problem with it. Hopefully that might be a key tomorrow for me to do, starts off that way. It might not and factor tomorrow. I'm hoping it's not.

Q. You and Bob will be 40-something. Is there a pride in that or is it a non-issue?

SCOTT HOCH: It's a non-issue to me. Well, the thing is you don't know when you are going to win your last tournament, that's the issue. Especially as you get older, then, yes, your chances might be running out as far as winning your last tournament out here. I would hope to think that this won't be the last opportunity to win that I have, but who knows. So yes, in a sense it could be. That's the age factor that how many more chances do you have to win. So yes, it would be great to win a tournament, any tournament. But it's always best to win the one you are playing in, not wait for the next one.

Q. Scott, when you are hitting down on the ball obviously it's not bothering you, it's not bothering you with the irons, right?

SCOTT HOCH: No, it's more or less right when I get to here and try to release it. You don't release an iron as hard as you do a wood, at least I don't. That's why it's bothering me, I don't know.

Q. Is it tendinitis, do you know sort of, kind of --

SCOTT HOCH: Yes, sort of kind of. That's what it is acting like anyway. I hope it's nothing serious.

Q. Are you getting it wrapped?

SCOTT HOCH: Yes, I'm doing that and going to get some work done on it.

Q. Ice?

SCOTT HOCH: Or ice and some stim or laser and something that they have over there, I don't know. It seems to be holding me in there, so I will keep trying it.

Q. Last week we talked about your injuries that you had last year, I think at the Buick at Westchester a couple of years ago against Garcia, it was an elbow that you were injured as well, can you remember your events that you've won if you played or won any of those events injured?

SCOTT HOCH: When I played the whole year without being injured those are some of my worse years I have had honestly. Maybe I'm not putting in the time I need to if I haven't been injured. I don't know. That was my hand. I have had problems with my hand. The same hand but a different problem the last few years. I think that's what it is. What I had during that time last year, or two years ago.

Q. You don't remember any specific event where you have won, like this week you almost withdrew before it started?

SCOTT HOCH: I don't remember any instance like that, I'm sure I had one with nagging injuries because I have had nagging stuff. We are athletes. We play through them. Nothing serious. If it really hurts you and you are playing this game you can't play this game really hurt. You can put up with pain or discomfort, but it makes you flinch any particular time in your swing if you are hurting bad. That's something that is very tough to play this game as much a touch as it takes if you're hurting.

Q. Scott, is this a good reminder that you can have a great leader board, an interesting tournament without the 3 guys that a lot of people spend a lot of time talking about not being here this week?

SCOTT HOCH: Who is that?

Q. The guys that are not here this week? Does golf need to be reminded of that? It looks like this leader board is?

SCOTT HOCH: It's proven to have a great tournament you don't have to have all of the great players. Sometimes that might not even be the best tournament when you have somebody that runs away from the field. If you have it bunched up, a lot of people with a chance to win, that makes a good tournament. I'm sure the crowds would like to see some of those other guys, but you know, we can't play every week, and so I guess the answer is you don't have to have those guys to have a good tournament. We all want the best guys in the field that's why I like playing TPC because it's a course that I tend to play well and all of the top players are there. And I think we all want to play the top players. But we want to play them on courses that we have a chance on.

JOHN BUSH: Thank you, good luck tomorrow.

End of FastScripts....

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