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February 25, 2000

Scott Hoch


NELSON LUIS: Another nice round for you, here. Why don't you give us some of your opening thoughts.

SCOTT HOCH: I think it cleared out, didn't it? Did you -- you see where you stand. I just really played well today. It's probably the best round I've played in a while. And I just tried not to give him any openings, and I didn't. I started out with a good advantage, and then he played well, and made some birdies. I made one bogey. And then he goes and birdies 10, a very tough hole. So we were back to even. And actually I felt I was in a better position there than I was any of the other ones, because I was down in all of my other matches after ten or after nine, anyway. And then luckily I birdied 11 and 12. And I figure the holes are tough enough after that that all I needed to do was try to hit some fairways and some greens and some good lag putts. That's what I did. I figure with 2-up lead with those holes, I was going to make it where he had to make birdies and really play well to catch me. Those holes are tough to make birdies on. I just felt if I didn't make any bogeys, it would be difficult for him to beat me at that point.

Q. What were your birdies on 11 and 12?

SCOTT HOCH: They were 3s and 4s.

Q. How close were they?

SCOTT HOCH: Actually after I hit the shot I thought I might have a chance to make it on 11. I hit a 7-iron, I had 166, a little downwind. I thought it was perfect. And it came up 12 feet short or 12, 15 feet short, putting straight up the hill. I was right on line with the hole, and obviously the wind must have died down after I hit it. Because I thought that club was going to be perfect to go right in. I hit a good putt. Next hole was key, because I have to lay up on all the par-5s, he hit it in the bunker in 2. I was not pleased with the third shot I hit. I hit it a little short and I left that about 12 feet, also, 12 to 15 feet. And he probably had it about -- he probably hit it about 6, 7 feet. I thought it was key. I figured I was going to have to make mine to tie the hole. That was my mindset there, because his looked like his was a fairly straight putt. The way these greens are, if that's where somebody walked in the group in front and you have heel prints, it might not go according to how you read them. And he missed it. That put me 2-up. That's when that strategy to just try to hit balls, give myself a chance for birdie, but not be too crazy and hit in the bunker by going to a tight pin or something. I wanted to play the fat part of the green and make him beat me. And actually where the match ended I pushed a 5-iron. I had to hit a 5-iron the third shot because I drove it in the short rough and it was sitting down. I ended up hitting it about three feet on 17. So I pushed it perfectly there.

Q. Scott, the putt on 12, was that a better mindset being in, thinking you need to make that putt in order to halve the hole, versus I need to win with this?

SCOTT HOCH: It was better for me -- I told myself that I needed to make this to halve him. And maybe that freed me up to make a better stroke at it. Because a couple of holes, I had a number of holes earlier where I said, well, make this, I go up -- I won the first two holes and hit it four feet on 3. And that was kind of the thing. I'm thinking if I make this, then I go 3-up after 3. And then I misread it but I also might have pulled a little bit, but I probably didn't hit my best putt there. That was a different mindset, because thinking I just need to go, be aggressive and think that I'm going to tie, and not be disappointed if I do. In match play you have to -- just like Mickelson and Mayfair showed us, you won't count on that, but then you have to figure that even if you have the advantage you might have to make yours, just for a halve.

Q. Were you hitting first most of the time today out in the fairway?

SCOTT HOCH: All day. My key was to make sure I hit first on the par-3s.

Q. Jesper was saying every time he looked up you were right in there on the green?

SCOTT HOCH: I didn't give him a chance. I really drove it well today and did not give -- did not give him a chance where he could be up second and say let's just hit this in the fairway, and he's going to have a tough time making par. I put the pressure on him. He actually hit a lot of good shots. He didn't drive as erratic as I hoped he would. He hit a couple. But he ended up in perfect position when he did.

Q. Scott, removing yourself from your match, do you find yourself intrigued at all by other matches going on, for example the Duval/Garcia match today?

SCOTT HOCH: I look more at it the first two days, because we had more time. Then we kind -- we were playing the 6th hole, and they were saying we're two minutes behind our set time. You need to hurry it up. I said wait a minute, I don't see the group behind, the group in front is ahead. The last group is being timed, so what difference does it make -- two holes later we were five minutes ahead. In match play, gosh, I wish they'd do that in the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup, then we wouldn't be out there all day. But today I really -- getting back to your question, I did not pay that much attention to what they were doing, because I really tried to stay focused on what I had. And I was aware, I'd look up there from time to time, but not nearly as much as I did the first couple of days. And the first couple of days I'm just trying to figure out that board. It's tough to tell what's -- you see match so and so all square. And then you see somebody 1-up. Well, who's he playing? They make it too tough to figure out, especially when you're on the course who is playing who. You can tell who is up, but you don't know who he's playing.

Q. You said this is the best round you played in a while. Is your game peaking or was this just a particularly good day?

SCOTT HOCH: I'll let you know tomorrow.

I've been playing pretty good, but I've had some brain cramps. Last week I had a number of brain cramps. I'd be playing good and then three or four hole where one of my amateur partners were playing for me or something. I don't know, but I tried to make sure I didn't have any of that.

Q. It's been that way this year --?

SCOTT HOCH: Well, I haven't played very well yet.

Q. I mean this week?

SCOTT HOCH: This week I've actually -- I played really well the first day. The second day I was sporadic, but I hit a lot of good shots, some tap-in birdie putts, a number of those, but some poor shots, too. But today as far as eliminating my poor shots and not giving my opponent a chance where he felt he had the advantage, today was by far the best day.

Q. Scott, could you gauge Parnevik's mood at all after the birdie on 12. He finally caught you and then all of a sudden you go birdie, birdie, and did that frustrate you some?

SCOTT HOCH: I was 2-up, but then he caught me by five. I think he went four and five to go back to even. And we're starting over again. And then I birdied 8 to go 1-up. He birdies 10. I was kind of disappointed I didn't win 9. But he made a real good chip there. You know, Jesper is Jesper. He doesn't say a whole lot on the course. I know in the Ryder Cup he's not been real friendly, because of a number of guys he's played. But today he was fine. He said good shot today, I told him good shot. I don't think there's any need not to be civil out there, not to -- you don't want to encourage -- like the ball is going in the right rough and the wind is blowing right-to-left, as an opponent you don't want to say, get it wind, blow it back in the fairway. My caddy said that the other day. My opponent was hitting it in the rough and he said, get it wind. And I turned to him and said, who are you caddying for? You don't want to be supportive, but you want to acknowledge when your opponent is doing something good. I think so, no sense going out there -- I know Curtis says you have to figure you have to hate the guy to play. That's how he played. Maybe that's why he played so well when he played match play or won all the Opens. I've heard him say that, I don't know if that's true. Before you tee off, no matter how much you like the guy, you have to find something about him you don't like and beat him because of that. But I'm just going out there, and we just play our games and try to have a good time, be nice to each other. It's not -- that's the one thing that's disappointing to me about the Ryder Cup is you don't have camaraderie. You don't need to be rah-rah, but at least be nice to some of the guys you're playing.

Q. Who's the next American captain?

SCOTT HOCH: Well, that's it. It's a good captain for something like that. I'm in a dilemma, I'm running out of clothes. Janzen had me picking up his clothes, because he had to leave early, so maybe I'll check that and see if his laundry will fit me. My stay wasn't really supposed to be this long.

NELSON LUIS: Thanks, Scott.

End of FastScripts...

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