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June 7, 1998

Scott Hoch


LEE PATTERSON: Thank you. All right. We're ready.

SCOTT HOCH: Could we do something with the lights? Do we really need those? Jeez.

LEE PATTERSON: All right, sir. Maybe just a couple thoughts about the day and we'll entertain questions.

SCOTT HOCH: Starts with "S" and ends with "T." That's shoot, in case you all thought something else.

LEE PATTERSON: That's fine.

SCOTT HOCH: Well, I was disappointed. I really left a lot out there today. I think in the last 40 to 45 holes, I only missed one fairway and I really drove it well. I missed one today on 10 and got away with it. I started hitting my irons much better. And I was very disappointed with my putting early in the week, so I changed something about the last five holes on Friday, started making some. Putted pretty well, putted well yesterday. Then I guess today it's not as if I hit that many bad putts, it's that things fooled me. I putted once from about 10 feet, another one from about 12 to 15 feet. They were easy putts. I was trying to make birdie on them and I hit them too hard. The greens were quicker, I didn't adjust. What fooled me on those, I hit good putts going by the hole; they were breaking one way. So that means coming back, they're supposed to break the opposite way, and mine didn't. If they broke left went by the hole, coming back up, it broke left again. So that's how I missed both of those putts. But these greens are like that. You don't want to leave yourself too many 5 to 6-footers or 4-footers or whatever. With the poa annua and late in the day and the traffic, they do get bumpy. Then, plus I made a key miss too. I hit a good shot on 17. I heard that Stuart did also and missed the same putt I had. You know, I'm thinking the ball is going to swing left. It goes perfectly straight. I had it 6, 7 feet. And then I hit a good shot on the last hole to make it just in. But... One good thing about it is I have not played well as of late, and it makes me feel good that I'm still driving as well and I'm starting to hit my irons much better. And, actually, I made a few putts in the last three days. So, you know, we got a little tournament coming up in a week or so, so I'm glad that I'm getting my game in shape rather than the way it was.


Q. You were probably one of maybe two guys who were able to shoot in the last few groups under par. What was so difficult about it today and what was kind of going on out there?

SCOTT HOCH: I tell you what, if you would have putted for me, I would have shot three or four under probably. I wanted to be aggressive. But knowing this course -- I've played here a lot. And it's probably to my advantage that I played here years ago when it played real firm, when Kite played well here year after year. Because there's some places you don't hit it; you don't want to hit it; pins you don't want to go at. There's not a whole lot you can't go at. But you have to pick and choose where you go after your birdies. Fortunately for me, I had easier birdie putts, gunned them and ended up making bogey. So, you know, other people I'm sure did the same thing. They just probably didn't hit it as well. I only missed one fairway. And the bogey I made, I made a bogey on 3, hit a good shot, hit a 4-iron about 12 -- 10 or 12 feet, three-putted. Then I hit a good shot on 9 and the ball carried too far, just went over the back edge and I didn't have a shot. That was probably the only -- that and 15 are the only greens I missed. I made a couple on the fringe, 12, 15 feet from the hole. But I'm still putting them. And I think that was the key. I had a lot of good shots today. And if you don't hit too many bad shots or make too many bad decisions, then you're going to -- you're gonna have a chance, more than likely.

Q. As well as you've played here, as many high finishes as you've had, you've got to be thinking this is a place you're going to win one of these days. Aren't you?

SCOTT HOCH: I think this year was probably a good shot at it. But, you know, being -- what was I, four shots back? Being four shots back to start with and quite a few guys in front of you, that makes it difficult. That's why I felt I needed to come out strong. And I didn't. I played the first -- gosh, I played the first eight holes, I don't know if you can play it much better than I did. I was one under. I mean, that's a little discouraging there. I lipout on the front hole, lipout on the second hole, and three-putt the third hole. But... That's the way it is. And, I mean, I'm disappointed. Then, again, I feel good that my game was much better, much more like it was early in the year and last year.

Q. Scott, the British Open, are you going to play the birdies this year?

SCOTT HOCH: I am scheduled to appear. Unless I get a hangnail or something -- that's part of my contract, that I have to play in the British Open now. So that's the contract that I signed this year, which is something I should do, but... I have so many good tournaments here.

LEE PATTERSON: Anything else?

Q. What were you thinking watching Stuart on that last -- I mean --

SCOTT HOCH: He hit a great shot. I couldn't see where his drive was, probably left side of the fairway if it was in the fairway. I really couldn't see for the hill there. But I imagine he probably pulled a second shot perfectly, because I don't think he's going for the pin. I know I wouldn't in that situation, knowing I have to make par. But, you know, if you win, you need a break. If you miss shots, you need to come out in good shape. Maybe he's been playing well enough that he went for that pin; I don't know. But he hit just the shot he wanted to hit. You know, having 12, 15 feet, but straight up the hill, all you have to do is two-putt. My hat's off to him knowing that he has to par the last hole. He probably knew it, because they were quite a bit behind the group in front. They probably saw the leaderboard on 17, when they were playing 17.

Q. You hear so many --

SCOTT HOCH: By the way, do they call us on play with two shots or anything?

LEE PATTERSON: I don't know that.

SCOTT HOCH: That would be my only shot. I'm lobbying for it!

Q. You hear so much more about some of the other guys in their 20s, Duval and Mickelson and Woods and so forth, where does a guy like Appleby fit in, do you think?

SCOTT HOCH: You can't put him in that. He's won twice. The other guys play awfully consistent. I'm not sure -- I'm not sure exactly what his record is, but when he's played well, he's done well in tournaments and won them or finished tie. But he might not be as consistent as some of those guys. Plus, he doesn't have the -- he doesn't have the press. You know, you have to do a lot to take some of the attention away from those other guys. He's kind of like Duval was until he started winning everything, then the media recognized how talented he was. And he's a strong player. Appleby is a strong player. This would be a good course for him.

Q. Nobody has ever won a Kemper Open and then gone on to win a U.S. Open. So, you can look at that --

SCOTT HOCH: Good thing I didn't win this week then! But you won't convince me of that! I like to take my chances. I don't know if that means anything. The Kemper Open, sometimes it's two weeks before the Open; sometimes it's right before the Open. This year there's a week in between. Last year it was the week before.

Q. In fact, nobody has ever, the last 20 Open winners, none of them have won in those first two weeks in June.

SCOTT HOCH: You sound like a baseball statistician. What difference does that make?

Q. I'm just telling you. I'm not giving you the interpretive end of it.

SCOTT HOCH: Well, I still got a chance then, is what you're saying.

Q. Probably had one even if you did win. Who do you see your chance is -- did you play --

SCOTT HOCH: If they moved it to where it's been 85 or 90, I've got a pretty good chance. Where they're playing it, I just remember the two times I played there, the Tour Championship, and was it the Open? The Open in Florida. What Mark Twain said was correct. "The coldest winter ever spent was a summer in San Francisco." I mean, it's -- I remember we had -- I don't know if we had delays, but fog came in, we couldn't even see the ball, and it was cool.

Q. Is it worse than Pebble for coldness?

SCOTT HOCH: I don't know. I don't go to Pebble for that reason. I don't go there for that reason. But I'd say it's not as bad as Pebble. It's inland somewhat. I remember, it would get to be a heat wave and get up to 65, 68 at times, and then the fog would come in and it would feel like 50 or 55.

Q. Scott, where were you waiting while this was going on?

SCOTT HOCH: I was in the scores tent.

Q. In the scores tent. You never warmed up or anything?

SCOTT HOCH: It wasn't that long between the time I finished to what they did.

LEE PATTERSON: Why don't you tell us about that birdie on 18.

SCOTT HOCH: Well, I was in between clubs. I had a 5 -- twice I think I stood up, ready to hit the 5, because the wind seemed like it died down. Each time I stood over it, the wind came back up. I decided to hit a -- I decided to hit a fat top-spin low 4-iron in there, so it hit and rolled to

the -- actually, I hit it pretty good. I tried to hit it up in the air. I was really fearful of knocking it in that back bunker. It wasn't going at the pin if you hit it with the wind coming right to left and it got on that slope; I knew that it would release down to the pin if I hit a good shot. I didn't want to hit too good and have it get over. I hit it right where I wanted to and the ball landed sort of where I wanted it to. It landed just on the green there, just over the bunker, when I thought it easily had enough club to carry it. So, I mean, that's another reason the scores were like they were today. You had to be lucky. You had to be lucky to pick the right club, because the wind was moving. It was changing 90 degrees from shot to shot.

LEE PATTERSON: How close was that?

SCOTT HOCH: Probably about three feet, my throwup distance.

Q. Scott, you play well a lot in different places. Why do you play so well here? I think you're the all-time leading money winner here and you have not won.

SCOTT HOCH: To not have won, really, all-time? I play here every year. I like it. Ben has always been great to me, Ben Rundridge (phonetic spelling). I remember this, when I first came on tour in the early years, this was one of the bigger courses that we played. I appreciated that. I think they do a lot for me and, I think, a lot for the other players. And I enjoy playing the course. I enjoy it much better now that it's much better than it was at the beginning. But I just like playing the course. It has you hit a lot of different type of shots. And I don't know, maybe I usually read these greens pretty well because you usually don't play well unless you read the greens or putt well. Maybe, year in year out, I tend to putt better here than some of the other places.

Q. Good irons-players course also?

SCOTT HOCH: Yes, sure. They got a lot of deep bunkers. I'd be surprised if anybody -- I think I missed five fairways the first two days and none the third, one today. So, you know, getting the ball in play really helps. I drove it extremely well this week.

Q. Are you looking forward to Olympic? Or is that -- I know you don't --

SCOTT HOCH: As you probably know better than anybody here, it's another tournament. I don't treat it any differently.

Q. But you've got to feel good about it?

SCOTT HOCH: Yeah. That's why you might be thinking, Why am I not more disappointed than I am. One thing is because I played much better. I mean, I'm disappointed I didn't win. I had a lot of chances out there to win. Not necessarily at the end, but all through the round. And I looked back the whole week and looked at a number of shots I threw away, especially the first couple of days. But, you know, I feel good about my game. I went home, hit some balls, had Dick Titty, which is one of the guys that helped me, he's the pro at Bay Hill. He's one of the guys that helped me with my swing. He picked out, actually, just one thing. I actually felt good about my swing, but it just wasn't -- the ball wasn't coming off the same. It wasn't consistent. He picked out something and it helped. I started thinking about it, although my short irons still aren't very good. I'm not pleased with them. I hit my 5, 6 and 7s closer than my 8 and 9s. I feel good. I feel good about going in, going home, not really working on too much, like I said, like any other tournament, just go home, work on a little bit, hit some balls. And then get ready for when I get out there.

Q. Scott, what do you see in Appleby's future, if anything?

SCOTT HOCH: He's right there. Well, he's young. He's doing awfully well. He just beat my butt here and everybody else's. So as they say, the future's ahead of him. A Doogeyism. But, you know, I think he's a good, strong player. He's played well. I have not played with him that much, but I know he's a good, strong player. He proved it this week. He played very good, very consistent these last two days. And we don't -- he might be another 20-something that plays well. We don't need to get too many of these 20-somethings that are beating up on everybody else. It's fine if he gets there, but somebody's got to drop.

LEE PATTERSON: Thank you, sir.

SCOTT HOCH: Give us 40-somethings something.

End of FastScripts....

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