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March 6, 1998

Scott Hoch


LEE PATTERSON: Just a couple of thoughts about your round today and then heading into the weekend.

SCOTT HOCH: Well, that's what happens when you make some putts. Made some good shots, made some putts. Yesterday I tried a new putter, which I've pretty much been doing all year, and did not have the feel for it. I don't know if it was the putter or just coming back on Bermuda greens. Every downhill putt I hit way too hard and every uphill putt I hit too easy. The grain might have a lot to do with it. It might be a matter of not being used to playing on Bermuda grass again or nonbent grass. So yesterday I had three, 3-putts. And today I ended up having one, but at least I hit it too hard on an uphill putt for a change. Had a good string in the middle of the round and finished up good. All in all, it was a good day. Not much compared to a 10-under, but I was really pleased with it.

Q. You said you tried a lot of putters, do you know how many?

SCOTT HOCH: I've been using different ones, just trying to find the right one that's going to work for me. Last year I just felt I was a little -- I was inconsistent putting.

Q. What kind of putter is it?

SCOTT HOCH: I'm jockeying back and forth, mostly Titleist putter, but today I used a TP Mills. But for the most part I've been putting with a Titleist, and I have a couple of good putter rounds and then I have a bad one. Every tournament it seems like I've had at least one bad putting round.

Q. Do you prefer those face-balanced putters or heal-shafted putters?

SCOTT HOCH: I don't know. I'm in between. Not the face balanced. But I can't do the heal-shafted putter, either like a Crenshaw or Mickelson, because that makes me do this too much (indicating), and face-balanced doesn't make me do it enough. Makes me hook it or makes me hook it left. They've built some right in the middle for me, and it's trying to get used to it and finding the right shaft, weight, everything.

Q. What did you think the way the course was playing today?

SCOTT HOCH: Actually, I thought it was difficult. We played in a good bit of wind yesterday, and we got around to 6, 7, 8 and 9. Today the wind was blowing harder than it was yesterday when we finished. And it seemed to be letting up some. When we played 17 and 18 it was down to where it was earlier. And as far as why some of the scores might be better today, I don't know. The PGA staff did give us some help on the 18th hole, they moved the tee up about 20 yards, because yesterday that was quite difficult. And that's really the only thing noticeably -- noticeable they did to help us or to make things a little easier. But the wind is blowing out there, the greens are in good shape, they're firm, and they've got some good pins. So to shoot a 10-under is a phenomenal round, anytime, especially here. And like I said, I shot 6, could have been 8, probably at best, but -- and I played well. So I know he had to do everything right. He goes from getting a ticket home to contending now, so it shows what one really good round can do out here.

Q. You're playing the par-5s really well lately?

SCOTT HOCH: The last two weeks I've led the par-5s under par. I was low in Tucson and I was low again last week. But, yes, --

Q. What's the secret?

SCOTT HOCH: Well, one thing is I worked out, tried to gain a little distance in the off-season, and that has helped me a little bit. I'm hitting it longer, although I'm not sure my driving stats have shown that, because it seems like a lot of driving holes I've miss-hit the ball or hit it in the bunker or something. But I've been able to get to more par-5s, made some more eagles, hit it in front bunkers, where it's easier to get up-and-down, plus my wedge game is usually pretty strong. And my lobs weren't too good last year, and I'm laying up more with irons, instead of trying to hit 3-wood up front.

Q. Is the working out new for you?

SCOTT HOCH: Oh, yeah.

Q. What kind of working out?

SCOTT HOCH: I'd done a lot of aerobics before, but actually lifting weights and trying to get stronger. I did this starting the first part of December, but what really set me back is I hurt my back about a week before Christmas, and I couldn't do anything.

Q. Working out or playing?

SCOTT HOCH: No, I don't play, when I'm home I don't play, I was working out. But actually I didn't hurt my back working out. It was an off day, I ran on the treadmill an hour, and I did my abdominal crunches and I felt something give. That was my off day. I had a guy that was a strength and conditioning coach for the Orlando Magic that has worked with me this year. And we're gradually trying to -- instead of -- some of these guys are really working for bulk and getting strong. I'm trying to gradually get that. I don't want to do too much, because my age, and not having worked out before, don't have to do much, but I can tell a big difference. And then in my off weeks when I go home I'll work out. And I'll get to a point where I'll feel good enough where I can work out at home and carry it out on the road, start doing it on the road. But right now, right now I pretty much do it when I'm home. I haven't done aerobics lately, I took a month off to let my back heal, and that's in good shape now. And that's really the reason I wanted to start working out because last year at the Memorial I hurt my back and actually it flared up again one other time last year, and I had to miss the tournament, and I don't want that to happen. So it's a matter of trying to strengthen my back and everything else.

Q. Trying to make your back better, you hurt your back?

SCOTT HOCH: Well, the one time, yes. But I would have hurt it, if it was that week, I would have hurt it doing something else anyway. So it's just a matter of my chiropractor, my doctor and the conditioning coach said, when I talk to all of them they said now is the time, when you turn 40, unless you've had a regular regimen of doing stuff you need to work out, because you start losing muscle mass. And I started hitting it really short last year. Maybe my timing was off, I don't know. But that's another reason that my par-5s weren't as good as they had been in the past. Because normally my -- that's one of the stronger parts of my game.

Q. How much longer are you hitting it?

SCOTT HOCH: I don't know. I can hit it -- well, like today. Last year I was like 380th or something for longest drive of the year, I hit 295 or 293 for my longest drive of the year last year. And today I hit it about 310 on the 1 hole. I'd say on the average six or seven yards, but sometimes I can get it out there a little more. Well, maybe not even average that much, I don't know. It's hard to say. It's just made -- maybe five yards, but when I hit it good it goes considerably more than it did before. And it's the same club, so essentially that has to do with it. But if my timing is better, anytime your timing is better, you'll hit it farther.

Q. Still with Yonex?


LEE PATTERSON: Go over the birdies.

SCOTT HOCH: Okay. First I hit it in the left bunker -- I've got to get my holes straight, here -- okay, I hit it in the left bunker off the tee, and hit it up, short of the green, chipped home, made about an 8-footer for birdie. 4, I made about a 20-footer for birdie. 5, I made about a 30-footer for birdie. 9, I made about a 12-footer for birdie. Into 9 I hit a 6-iron, hit it behind the hole. 10, I hit a 3-wood, 3-iron on the green and 2-putted for about 25 feet. Then I birdied for about 8 feet on 11 and 12 feet on 12. And hit it close on 14, but missed it, and 3-putted 15. And then 18, I hit it about 4 feet for birdie.

Q. What did you hit into 18?

SCOTT HOCH: I hit it just in the right rough and hit a flying 5-iron. I had a 4 and 5, and all of a sudden the wind died down, and I said hurry up and give me the club, and it turned out just right, had about 195 yards.

Q. What did you hit on 12?

SCOTT HOCH: 12, I hit a 4-iron. Actually that was another hole they gave -- they moved the tee up about ten yards there today.

Q. Playing a little better in Florida now, you had a good finish at TPC last year?

SCOTT HOCH: Well, they had rough last year, and that makes a difference. You get that course, when you can hit it anywhere, shoot, I might as well not even go. But they had some rough there and then it makes a premium on driving. And this year hopefully they'll have some rough. Certainly they've had enough rain to grow some roughs. But also I happened to be playing well at that time, too. It's not just the one reason why I played well, but I was hitting it a little better, even though my confidence wasn't exactly the highest going up to TPC, missing the cut 8 or 10 straight times, and then almost having a chance to win. But actually I putt northern greens or other greens better than I do southern greens. I wasn't brought up on Bermuda. Even though I live in Florida, I don't play hardly any at home. Our greens -- ours are so much faster than these, it's like putting on carpet, so it's not really like putting on Bermuda.

Q. Scott, could you tell me what your shots were on 12 after your 4-iron?

SCOTT HOCH: Oh, I'd say about 20 feet, I guess.

Q. On 12?

SCOTT HOCH: I was thinking 13.

12, was about 12 feet.

Q. But could you go over every shot on that hole, if you don't mind?

SCOTT HOCH: I hit a drive, they had it measured about 310, and then a 4-iron and then I had 82 yards and hit a sand wedge, a 60-degree sand wedge about 12 feet past.

Q. Thanks.

SCOTT HOCH: Tiger eagled that hole, didn't he? What did he hit in there?

Q. He did.

SCOTT HOCH: Jim, what did Tiger hit into 12?

JIM FURYK: 3-wood. We were there, and that was our third hole of the day. So --

SCOTT HOCH: It was going pretty good down there. I was surprised he hit a 3-wood, but I guess he didn't drive as long as I did.

Q. You must be longer than he is now.

JIM FURYK: He hit an iron yesterday.

SCOTT HOCH: I played 3 rounds with him yesterday, no, I'm not -- I can keep up with his 1-iron. (Laughter.) I know I'm longer, because now I can keep up with his 1-iron, maybe even a little past it instead of behind it like I was last year when I played with him.

End of FastScripts....

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