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July 31, 1998

Scott Hoch


DAVE SENKO: Scott, the, leader right now at 8-under. Maybe just talk a little bit about your round today.

SCOTT HOCH: Well, actually the first ten holes I played really well, and had a lot of opportunities and lipped out two or three; went right over the edge on a couple more. Had a real easy chip on the 5th hole, real easy chip, didn't get it up-and-down; ended up making par there. I just left some shots out there and then misjudged the wind on 11, made bogey. After that, I really didn't -- hit only a couple good shots after that. Mostly a matter of scrambling. So, I don't know what happened between 10 and 12, but it wasn't good.

DAVE SENKO: Birdie at No. 3, what was --

SCOTT HOCH: Well, I hit a sand wedge in there about six feet. Made that for birdie. Next hole I hit a 4-iron in about three feet, made that for birdie. Then I already told you about what I did on 5. Had a fairly easy eagle chip, made par. What did I do -- I hit a bad shot on 8. Missed the green on 8 in the bunker; got that up-and-down. And then I had birdie at 10, 5-iron, probably about eight feet, made that for birdie. And then I misjudged the wind on 11 and the pin is kind of on the back there, you don't want to go over it. I was thinking -- I thought it was downhill. I was thinking it was downwind. I hit it. The wind just didn't help. I came up short. I just sort of -- the green, I thought I made a decent chip, but the ball hit a soft spot on the green came up short and missed the putt.

DAVE SENKO: How long was the putt?

SCOTT HOCH: About ten feet.

DAVE SENKO: What did you hit on 11?

SCOTT HOCH: I hit 8-iron. Thinking that would be just trying to hit it easy. But as it was, just a regular 8-iron would have been fine.


SCOTT HOCH: 16 I hit a driver, 3-wood just up by the green and then chipped it to about five or six inches.

DAVE SENKO: Any other saves?

SCOTT HOCH: Yes. I made up-and-down out of the bunker on 12. Just had a wedge to the green. Hit a bad shot, I pulled it. Then I hit it over and left of the green on 13 and really made a good up-and-down there because the pin was back. And then actually hit a good shot next par 3. Hit it about 10, twelve feet, couldn't make that one, though. Got it -- then had a wedge, I think the only fairway I missed was 15, that was just in the short rough. I hit that fat. It came up short of the green, then chipped it on, oh, about a foot. After that, like I said, I birdied 16 and 17. I just went right over the edge of the hole, and then 18 was just routine par.

DAVE SENKO: Questions.

Q. Last year the scores were significantly lower. Is it the heat? Is it the rough? Why do you think it is tougher this year?

SCOTT HOCH: I wasn't here last year, so I don't know how it played. But, well, let's just say the afternoon group, if they have the conditions that are out there right now, they are probably going to have the low scores. That is probably going to be the shift that will have the better scores in it. Obviously, it was yesterday. And, today nobody made that much of a move. 6-under was leading yesterday. Then a couple of us were at 5 and some at 4 yesterday and we didn't, you know, 8 is leading by itself - when I came in it was. Obviously we weren't able to score as well as they did yesterday in the morning. We had to play in -- for some people, in pretty intense heat yesterday. Didn't look like you are going to have that today. They might have the better of the shift. But you never can tell. If it comes out and you have to play in some rain, whatever, who knows, it might equal itself out. But the course is playing long. That is the main thing if the scores are higher this year, it is playing much longer because you are getting very little roll. Even today they had -- our field staff did a good job and a couple -- couple of the longer holes, they had the tees up - they were into the wind. The lock holes and the wind are very difficult. But they did have the tees up for us today. You play well enough, you get some decent conditions, some guys can shoot really low. Any time you look at the leaders, they are shooting 5- and 6-under yesterday, it is tough to back that round up with another good round. It always is. It is -- not so much a letdown, but obviously if you play well enough to be leading after the first round, it is tough to shoot that same score again the next day. I mean, I anticipate somebody could get to 10, like you said, if the conditions stay decent.

Q. Looking at your record recently, you have played very well except for the U.S. and British Opens. Do you have an explanation why?

SCOTT HOCH: Well, I was playing well going into the Open and then got there and then -- I have been driving it beautifully. Then I got to the Open and I just lost -- ever since then, I have had of kind a little bit of a problem with my driver. I don't know if it was something that might have been done to the shaft in transit or something that was done to my swing in transit, I don't know. But I was able to do whatever I wanted to do with the ball, with my driver before that and as soon as I got at the Open, it just wasn't there. It wasn't a whole lot of fun playing when you couldn't hit the fairways and plus I had been putting very poorly lately. Even though these good finishes I had, up until last week, I had not been putting well at all. For the first time I can't remember, I actually got a putting lesson about ten days ago right when I got back from the British because my mechanics were bad over there. I actually hit the ball pretty well, missed the cut there. My mechanics were bad and then with the wind blowing the way it was, just had a terrible time putting. Last week, it is a matter of getting used to. I am still getting used to it. I had nine holes where I really putted bad last week trying to work on something that I have been taught. But, other than that, nine holes I actually putted quite well for the week.

Q. Who did you have the lesson with?

SCOTT HOCH: Jim Deaton. He is a pro at Bay Hill, one of the pros at Bay Hill. Actually, I see Dick Tiddy a lot there, which he is with Arnold Palmer Golf School. He helps me with my game when I need it. Actually, I saw Jim just kind of by happenstance because I have seen Corey. He works with Corey from time to time in the past, so I said: Well, if he works with a putter that good, then he must know something, so I went and just talked with him. What he told me made a lot of sense and just my mechanics were bad. I have been able to putt the ball, the ball is rolling much better since then.

Q. What specifically was bad with your mechanics?

SCOTT HOCH: Well, I was putting ala Ben Crenshaw type - when I can't putt that way, meaning I was fanning it open and I never could get it back to square consistently. I mean, I was going like this and like that, just -- and depending on my setup and everything else, it is very difficult for me to hit a lot of good putts or keep putts on line or even get them to roll very well with that kind of "this way." So, now I am trying to keep it a little more square. Actually, the first couple of days up at Pleasant Valley I was doing exactly what he said, keeping it really square, kind of all the way through, turning it up and then back this way, so the blade was fairly square instead of fanning open. And I did that pretty well until I got to Saturday when things started meaning a little bit more. All of a sudden, I went like this and forgot to -- of turning it back, started to hit some bad putts. Then I just decided to incorporate what he told me into my stroke, keep it not as square as he said, but more square than I have had it. It did help me. I am still hitting some ugly putts, but at least just because it is something new every now and then, but yet I am hitting putts that look like they were looking for the hole instead of trying to miss the hole. So it is helping. Even, like I said, this week I have hit a lot of good putts right over the edge and a lot more I have made, plus I have hit a lot more over the edge than I have in quite a while. It is fun to do. Fun to play the game when you can make some putts for a change. Before I was just playing well just on the way I was hitting it. Now, you are also talking about my type of weather I like. You look at the weather those two tournaments that you indicated, compared to the weather that I like, all the other ones I pretty much finished in the Top 7 or 8 since the Kemper, except for those two, that were played in cool - well, not quite the ideal weather for me anyway.

Q. You were in the Gilette Challenge the other day with David Gossett and he comes out here and he is the focus of all the media - 19 years old. Is it going to be more difficult for him today?

SCOTT HOCH: Shoot, it is always more difficult after you get a good round, I don't care who you are. But I think it is great. I mean, he is from around here, correct?

Q. Yes.

SCOTT HOCH: I think that will make him feel a lot more at ease or it could have the other effect. I hope it just makes him at ease and makes him play -- and it makes it easier for him to play today after having such a good round. I hope he doesn't put so much pressure on himself because he is at home. Some people do that. But then again he might be good enough to where he can do that and still play awfully well. I was impressed, I couldn't believe the guy is getting ready to go to college next year. Geez. You say he is 19?

Q. Yes.

SCOTT HOCH: Where are all these young guys coming from? Justin Rose at the British, man, I couldn't have finished fourth in a dream there. And he is 17 and doing miraculous things.

Q. Can you sense a confidence in them or is it a cockiness or --

SCOTT HOCH: Seemed like a really nice guy. I met him up in Hartford a couple of weeks ago and, no, I mean I didn't know him at the time.

Q. Not necessarily him, just in general --

SCOTT HOCH: No, he is like unassuming. He goes out there; he is like: Gee, golly, that was a good shot. When you say, "good shot," it is like -- he is like apologizing for hitting a good shot. No, I mean, he looked like he played great. He played really well then. He is long. I mean, I don't know much about his game other than what I saw the other day, but that wasn't even what impressed me. What impressed me the other day was Penny. I have seen Penny play before. He is from Ironworth at home where I am a member and he -- must be nice to have a lockout. With all that practicing, he missed a lot last year because he couldn't play basketball, but that didn't keep him from playing golf. You talk about Jordan playing, but this golf, look how much -- he has made a big improvement the last, you know, in the last year. It is amazing. I don't know if I have ever seen a guy improve as much as Penny did. Shows you how much athleticism he has and coordination and everything. But we still -- when he was about to beat us, we still talked him into a bad shot. We knew -- actually, I didn't even do anything. I know him too well. I was going to let the other guys tell him on 18. It would have been embarrassing for Penny and Gossett to beat us in the shootout.

Q. You have had such a good solid year. Feel like you are one or two breaks away from a couple of wins, or a couple of putts, or what has it been like?

SCOTT HOCH: I could have easily had three wins in the last month and a half, could have. I mean, you look at it, Appleby hit some great shots on 17 and 18 to beat me by one shot at Kemper. I was in position to win at Hartford and I putted like an idiot the back 9. Obviously that was the way Larry Mize played for a while there, that was his to win, but when he let down his guard; then I should have been right there to jump in there and I wasn't. Then last week. So, that was just -- actually this is -- other than -- lately I have been really disappointed. I have played well. Had some chances to do well in tournaments, I mean, really to have some high finishes or have some wins and my putting has just let me down this year, especially on Sunday. But when you are putting poorly and usually, it usually manifests itself a little more under pressure or when you need it. That is what was happening to me. I was really putting bad. The more it meant, the worst I was putting. So, hopefully I have figured out something and it will change, but last week I putted -- I played well. Played last round, didn't make any bogeys and actually went over the lips of a number of holes.

Q. You are 7th on The Presidents Cup standings. Is that an important goal of yours this year or it is not a high priority?

SCOTT HOCH: Well, you always like to represent your country, and, yes, I have played them the last two Presidents Cups. They seem to be a lot easier to get on than the Ryder Cup. I don't know what it is about that. But, it is something I want to do. I am not real enthusiastic about it being during my off-season, but I am thrilled and I will be thrilled if I make the team because you are representing the country and I have played in the Ryder Cup, the World Cup as an amateur, and Walker Cup, so there is -- those are all a lot of fun. The last Cup I played in, we lost, so try to get a little redemption back.

Q. Do you normally just take it easy in December or --

SCOTT HOCH: Yeah. Sometimes I might play, but the thing is where we play, you know, where I might play other places around the world is some that I might not be or my game doesn't have to be nearly as sharp at that as it -- as I want it to be during The Presidents Cup. I always want to play well whereever I go and I usually play fairly well, but being -- if you make The Presidents Cup Team, I am going to have to put a lot more work into it to make sure that my game is in good shape; that I am not hurting the team or anything. That is our time off so you practice more, so it really doesn't become your time off. If I am lucky enough to get on it and I am in pretty good position now, then I am going to work harder to get my game in the best shape I can before I play. Because I would have to think they would be favorites down there.

Q. I am curious No. 16 here, can you sort of talk about the roll it plays on this golf course? You go from No. 5 to No. 16 without a par 5, how important of a hole is that and you know, you can make an eagle, how important is it to make birdie there?

SCOTT HOCH: It is going to be very difficult to make eagle -- today you probably can't because the pin is in the front, but that is a hole that is going to be tough to make eagle with the wind blowing the way it has been and not getting any roll. You have to be a mega-hitter if you are going to make the pin a -- I hit two shots as hard as I can hit it today just to the front edge. I am not a long hitter, but I can get it out there a little bit when I want to. I looked on the board and saw Glen Day eagled the first two par 5s. I don't know if -- we played - third hole we wouldn't have been able to think about getting -- even trying to go for that green they were so far back.

Q. When you go so far between par 5s, does it become even more important like on the weekend on Sunday?

SCOTT HOCH: I don't know, it is a par 5, I think let's see, 14 might be as pivotal -- more pivotal that 1 because anything can happen on that. You can have a 3-shot swing there, whereas, on the other one, it would be very difficult to do that. A lot more danger lurking on the 14th hole. But, then again, par 5s, I look forward to par 5s, they are probably -- probably my best stat is the par 5s rather than any of the other holes because usually with my wedge game, you know, I look at -- when I am playing the par 5, if I don't get a wedge to the green I am looking at making birdie and disappointed when I don't.

Q. After some of the fan problems you evidently had at the British Open --

SCOTT HOCH: I did not. They made that all up.

Q. I saw you interviewed on ABC, you talked about it.

SCOTT HOCH: Well, I said that I saw a difference between Thursday and Friday. I didn't say I was heckled. You know, and I am reading the papers and saying that -- quotes that nobody should -- nobody deserves to be treated like this, all that stuff. Actually, somebody took that from another interview, I think, about when they asked me about Colin Montgomerie and they thought: Well, wouldn't it be good to stick it in there for this. Because they asked me you know, what I thought about. That I said nobody deserves to be treated like that -- it is in the football game -- then they put that as me saying that during the British Open week when actually that was the U.S. Open week, but they thought that fits the story better. What happened was -- I mean, the reception was fine there. I didn't hear anything. I played Thursday. Then Friday something came out in the paper. I didn't know it. Something came out in the paper. And, I played -- after about 15, 16 holes I asked my caddie, I said: Did you see anything in the paper because the fans seem to be a lot different, instead of really applauding good shots, it is more of a muted, "okay." I did hear some things like: Well, how do you like the weather over here? Is it windy enough for you or cold enough for you? But, you know, I didn't hear anything like: Yank, go home, or anything like that. That was put in the paper. And I read a paper on Saturday, they completely made something up, completely. I guess that, you know, they write what they want to over there. But I did say I did notice there was a difference between Thursday and Friday, and that was because -- I guess it was because an article was written, it said: Something like it-- headlines: Hoch takes dig at Monte. They didn't even -- that was a headline, and then about seven or eighth paragraphs before they had anything about me, they just said that well, when asked me about Monte, I was very reserved about it. I said: Look, he sometimes says stuff that I wouldn't even say, talking about how outspoken we both are. That is what I said, and that sometimes he got a little personal with some of the players which is why the U.S. Open -- which might be why the U.S. Open fans got on him a little bit. Those are the only two things that were in the article, but the whole headlines were: Hoch takes dig at Monte. That is what I guess the people were talking about, or reacting to, because I really didn't -- I didn't really give them any thought to get me last week, I kept my mouth pretty -- not shut, but I just didn't say too much controversial anyway.

Q. You would be at Carnoustie next year?

SCOTT HOCH: I don't know. But it wasn't because of the fans or anything like that. And it pains me to see that and when I get back here to read that in the two publications - I saw it in Golf World, and Golf Week. I think Golf World was more accurate as far as what happened. Golf Week just said that -- had those quotes that I mentioned to you about not a football game, nobody should be treated like that, I wasn't saying that about me. Because I didn't get that -- as a matter of fact, I got worse receptions in some of our tournaments. (laughs).

End of FastScripts....

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