April 28, 2001
GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA
JOAN V.T. ALEXANDER: Thanks, Scott, for joining us. Wonderful round. Great position going into Sunday. Let us start out with a couple of comments and then we will go into some questions.
SCOTT HOCH: Well, I feel that I really played well today. Probably one of the best rounds, ball-striking rounds I have had in a while even though my stats won't show it. I hit a lot of good shots right at the pin but a number of them went over the green or the fringe or just over. But you know, as far as hitting the ball on line I really did that well today. I had a lot of good birdie opportunities when I did hit it on the green and pretty much in line with the pin, I had quite a few close birdie putts and fortunate to make them. Had a couple of glitches. Probably the easiest putt that you can have 3-foot, straight uphill after having about a 90-foot very tough lay-up, left it three feet right where you want it; didn't even touch the hole on the next one. That kind of took the wind out of my sails a bit. Luckily I came back and birdied the next hole, 13th hole. Overall really played well. I was pleased with it. Disappointed a couple bogeys I had because I shouldn't have made them. But that was the only drawbacks to the round.
Q. Putting off just a little bit?
SCOTT HOCH: They were on those two, but for the rest of the day, I putted quite well, I think. I made a lot of putts, a lot of 4 and 6 foot putts, and a few 10 foot putts, but no, I hit some-- hit ugly 3- and 5- footers. I did the same thing on both of them. I did the same thing on both of them so at least I was consistent. I was wide right - from Florida State.
SCOTT HOCH: My first bogey that was the one that I misjudged the wind, hit it all the way left side of the green, pin was right, hit a really good putt down about three feet straight uphill and missed it. So you know, I wasn't too concerned with that, because I had done a lot of good things before that. I just wanted to make sure that I didn't back it up with anything stupid and fortunately for me I came back with a birdie on the next hole.
Q. Your iron-play today was extremely crisp. Take a lot of pressure off your putting when your iron-play is that good?
SCOTT HOCH: It makes it easier when I am hitting it close to the hole but then again, it was crisp but many of the times it was over the green. First hole went right, I probably had 5 or 6 that went right over the pin either back fringe or just in the rough behind it. But I really felt good hitting the ball so that is why I went at a lot of the pins. Then right at the end, if you were watching TV, I am licking my chops over the 9-iron I hit ot 18. I have 152, I am thinking I am a little into the wind and I don't believe I have enough club so try too hit a hard 8. I did. Was hooking right into the pin. It flies over the green. You know, that is just kind of the way it was. I couldn't figure why some of the balls were flying so far today.
Q. Ever figure par, couple under is going to get it done tomorrow?
SCOTT HOCH: Right.(Laughter) I am figuring that.
Q. What do you think you have to do tomorrow to win score-wise?
SCOTT HOCH: I don't know. You know, I am not going to pick a score. Well, say if I had to pick one I would feel good if I could shoot 65, would be awfully tough getting beat, but I hadn't shot 65 yet, on this course, but and I think the conditions are supposed to be good again tomorrow. You know, it is going to be tough and the conditions are out there. If somebody really gets hot, I mean I could play well and still lose. So my thought is I just have to go out there and play - obviously do the best I can, try not to make any mental mistakes, and take advantage of my good shots.
Q. One thing about it though you have three rounds in the 60s?
SCOTT HOCH: That doesn't mean anything starting tomorrow. Somebody can have 12 rounds in the 70s and they shoot 62 tomorrow and win. Then you can come out and say well, how do I feel with four rounds in the 60s and still lose; not very good.
Q. A lot of the players just behind you haven't won on Tour. Do you feel more comfortable in this position than if you say had Woods, Mickelson and Els a shot back?
SCOTT HOCH: Now if Tiger was a shot back then I might be a little bit more worried. No, those guys are all really good players. You know I am not so concerned because they are hungry, I am pretty hungry too. It has been three years since I have won. It would be great to win close to home, close to school, to me it would be fantastic, so they have got something to play for and so do I. It is something that whoever wins tomorrow you know, it really would be a feather in their cap and they will achieve something that you know, especially if it's their first one, they'd be achieving something they have been dreaming all their lives about. At my age it is something you never know how many chances you have to win, so in that regard, I will have a lot to play for too.
Q. Historically how have you done on this golf course going into the last rounds with a lead?
SCOTT HOCH: How have I done? I have done well in some and poor in others. I don't think you could say either way. I have won a number of tournaments leading all the way and then I have been leading and I have been leading by 3 and 4 and lost some of them and won some. So obviously I have lost some that I shouldn't have, but then again I have won a number of them leading also.
Q. Joan said it was 5.
SCOTT HOCH: 5 what?
JOAN V.T. ALEXANDER: Shared the lead 13 times and I think you have won 5 of them.
SCOTT HOCH: That is not so bad, I guess. Better than being 13 ties and no wins. I know that.
Q. When is the last time you led going into a final round?
JOAN V.T. ALEXANDER: At the 1998 Canon.
SCOTT HOCH: Whose interview is this?
JOAN V.T. ALEXANDER: Well, you can't answer the questions. (Laughter). At the 1998 Canon Greater Hartford Open.
SCOTT HOCH: I was in that?
JOAN V.T. ALEXANDER: Tied or leading, one or the other.
SCOTT HOCH: I imagine it has.
Q. Is that okay for you, right?
SCOTT HOCH: I mean doesn't change substantially, but well, the difference is, you change your game. I changed mine. I am not as -- well, if you have a tournament that has got high rough, then you are a little bit more careful on the tee grinding a little bit more, might hit different shots with it. Like this, I think everybody is going out there and letting it loose, letting it fly; not really worried that it is going to be in the rough and that you might make bogey from the rough. I think that is the one reason why so many people are bunched up tight because you can hit poor shots and still make pars, or shots a little off whereas before if you had a lot of high rough, if you miss many tee balls, you weren't going to get -- you weren't going to keep making par from the rough the way it used to be. Now, it is not so bad. If they want a real shoot-out then with a lot of people there, this might be the condition that they want then. But I think if you want to bring the top player, the best players to the top, then you have the toughest conditions.
Q. When you stepped on 1st tee that first day, Thursday, did you mentally say: I am just going to let it loose like you normally don't, compared to some of these other guys?
SCOTT HOCH: No, Tuesday I am just out there playing a practice round.
SCOTT HOCH: Yeah, you are not so concerned about where the ball is going. I mean, you want it in the fairway because obviously you have a better chance of hitting it close, but yet if you do miss the fairway, then most likely you can hit the next hole on the green; you won't make as many birdies but you should still be able to make the pars in a row. Whereas that is the difference from before, I believe, that if you were off the tee then you weren't going to be able to save a lot of those pars. That is one of the reasons why Hal Sutton won because he is such a good straight hitter. It is kind of tough to catch him if somebody like that has got the lead, it is kind of tough to catch him when they keep hitting it down the fairway on the greens, 2-putting, every now and then making a birdie. But -- so your mindset is just totally different when the conditions are like this. Actually this is kind of like it was the first tournament I won at Quad Cities, they didn't have that much rough, you just let it fly. Back then I couldn't hit a driver in a 10-acre field when I came out first five years or so then I learned and probably that is one of my -- that might be the best part of my game is driving, normally.
Q. Mike said he is going to the concert tonight. Are you going too?
SCOTT HOCH: No, those guys are too old for me. (Laughs) no, I am passing on it. I really didn't even know that -- I heard about it this morning some of the guys said they were going, but that is ---that is not anything I do. If I wasn't playing very well then I might go to something like, that but since I am, I am just going to go back kick back and hopefully watch Orlando beat Milwaukee for the first time in ten years.
SCOTT HOCH: In Raleigh?
SCOTT HOCH: No, that is too long a commute, I am staying in Greensboro. It was important to hit a real good shot on 18 and over the green, good bit over the green and I got that one up and down. Because I wanted to play in the last group. I know if I didn't do that then I wouldn't be in the last group. And that plus when you hit a good shot you don't want to end up making bogey. I just misjudged the wind, I guess, and ended up making a good five or six foot putt there for par, especially considering I missed a couple of relatively easy par putts earlier. So that was -- that was kind of big.
SCOTT HOCH: You just like to be in the last group plus you are leading. It is one less shot you have to come from behind or one less shot you have to have to win. I prefer to play in the last group to know what I need to do. Here -- well, I would say here it is not as important because you have so many people up there, but if you had --if you were in a tournament where, you know, you had a guy one or two shots back and most everybody else was 4, 3, 4, 5 shots back, then it would be important to play with the guy that you have -- most likely have to contend against. But when you have conditions like this you have so many that it might not be as important in the overall scheme of things playing in the last group, but for pride sake or whatever else, you'd want to do that.
Q. Will you watch the board throughout the round?
SCOTT HOCH: Various times. I am not going to sit there and watch it - depends on how I am doing, but then I won't be too interested in it until, you know, until the back nine. Actually maybe 'til the last five holes. I will still glance at it probably know how I stand, but I won't really look at it and see -- I can see the numbers but I won't see -- really see the names until later as far as who might be doing well or whatever.
Q. Last Friday what time did you commit? You decided to come --
SCOTT HOCH: I didn't decide to come until late Monday afternoon or evening.
Q. But you committed Friday?
SCOTT HOCH: You have to commit by Friday. I called and told them the PGA TOUR, I said I am committing but this is the "soft commitment." She says: What does that mean. I said: Well, I don't know if Greensboro is going to, if I commit, if they are going to go out there and throw my name out there saying I am going to play and everything else, I mean I don't know if they are going to do that or not, but I told her I said: I prefer they didn't. That they just keep it quiet, until I finally decide to or not. Because I didn't want to commit on Friday and then they say something or promote it, I don't know if they would do that or not, if it means that much to them or not to do that. So I didn't want to do that and then all of a sudden call them back on Monday and withdraw. Then it really make me look bad. So I mean that is the rules of the Tour. We have to commit by Friday and I understand it. Because of the tournament wants to know who is going to be in their tournament. For the sake of the alternates and everything else. But I didn't know -- I did it because I was playing well at Houston. I did not score well the last round at Houston but I did play well. I hit shots -- I hit good shots and made bogeys. A lot of my good shots I didn't make birdies on either. So I felt that my game was there and I came home and talked it over with my wife and family, and you know, my -- I said: Well, if I play here then I am liable to take a tournament off that I usually play. And she said if you feel like you are playing well you can go up there and you feel like you can win, then go ahead, we are behind you. So next thing was left was I had already told my caddie --- he was in Vegas, I am using (inaudible) this local guy used to -- he also caddied for me before now he caddies for Justin, but I called him Monday just to see if I do play would he caddie for me. He said yeah. So I said I got that covered. Then I checked the computer, see how the weather was because if it wasn't good then I wasn't. If you had normal Greensboro weather then I wasn't coming for that either. But the forecast looked good, so with the date change I was able to play. If it was where it was before then I probably wouldn't have. If it was after Hilton Head because I always play Augusta and Hilton Head and that is about enough for me in a row. After a major it is tough to play a whole bunch in a row; especially Augusta.
Q. Generally speaking do you feel more pressure going into Sunday up one or down one?
SCOTT HOCH: That is two shots difference.
Q. Everybody is gunning at you?
SCOTT HOCH: They can gun all they want but you are the one that controls your game. You can't be concerned with what they are doing. Obviously you are. I mean, somebody is making a run and yeah, it affects you, but really all you can control is what you do. And tomorrow it's how I control my feelings and everything else in my game. If I go out there and feel good about it and play well, and lose, you know, I can't feel upset. But if I go out there and don't play well or am nervous and that cost me shots and it ends up costing me the tournament then yeah, I would be disappointed. But I am not planning on doing that. Like I said, I am not sure how many opportunities I am going to have and I want to take advantage of the ones I do have from now on.
Q. Do you feel an urgency on that last point about you don't know how many chances you will have, do you really feel an urgency to get it done?
SCOTT HOCH: I don't feel an urgency. Obviously if I have not won a tournament or something -- I feel I have already let enough tournaments go in my career so I am not really worried about that, but I have won a number of tournaments also. But you don't know when the last --what the last tournament is that you are going to win. It has been three years now. I won like four straight years something like that. Then now I haven't won for three years. So just want to prove to myself, or whatever else, that I can still play; that I can still win a tournament. It's more or less for my own benefit than anything else. I just like -- plus I would like to play well too to be exempt for the Open. I don't want to have to qualify for the Open and if I get in the top 50 by a certain time then I don't have to qualify for the Open. That is also an exemption for the British Open too. (Laughter).
Q. If the computer had said: Cold weather would you not have come?
SCOTT HOCH: If it was cold I wouldn't have come. The scheduling and that is the way the weather is here usually, it is -- most likely would not have come. Because even though I am playing well, I don't necessarily play well in cold weather. Especially going from warm weather to cold don't -- that is why you know, I don't -- I don't do all that well in the British or because you go in the middle of the summer play all the tournaments here which I love which are hot; all of a sudden you go where it is cold, and I just don't adjust very well.
Q. What is cold for you?
SCOTT HOCH: 70. (Laughter) no, if it's one day, fine, but if that is the way the whole week is going to be, I can play as well as anybody for one day in the cold. But then if it lingers on, then it is a little tougher for me. I might lose interest much quicker.
Q. So if you saw 60 and rainy?
SCOTT HOCH: Well, rainy I don't like either. When you get old you become very particular, I think, but no, I don't care for rain or cold and that is -- that kind of sounds like the British, doesn't it ?(Laughter).
JOAN V.T. ALEXANDER: On that note --
SCOTT HOCH: But, no, I don't. But it looked good and it is not just the weather but we can't control it, but it is nice having a computer these days, you can look up and see how far it is in advance without looking at your local guy and knowing he is going to be wrong.
Q. Forecast tomorrow is high about 65.
SCOTT HOCH: No, it is not.
JOAN V.T. ALEXANDER: Pretty close.
SCOTT HOCH: Gosh it is supposed to be 75. It was 75 this morning.
Q. Talking about 65 to 70 is the high.
SCOTT HOCH: That is all right since-- that is fine.
JOAN V.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you for joining us. Play well tomorrow.
SCOTT HOCH: Thank you.
End of FastScripts....