June 21, 2001
HARRISON, NEW YORK
NELSON LUIS: We'd like to welcome Scott Hoch into the interview room. I am sure most of you have heard what we are doing for tomorrow. Starting tomorrow at 7 o'clock in position. Scott, currently will finish the day here. He is on the 8th green at 4-under par. So Scott perhaps you can just give us a little bit of insight on your day today and the waiting game.
SCOTT HOCH: Well, in the beginning it didn't look like it was going to be too fruitful. I didn't play very well. I had to get up-and-down a good bit probably the first five or six holes and then after that I started playing pretty well. Took advantage of everything. I guess the only bogey I had was on -- I don't remember -- 3-putted from the fringe thought I had a really good shot to the green on 4. Then 3-putted from that position. That was my only bogey. Then I made five birdies. But I was kind of interested seeing them play this afternoon. I was hoping that we were going to get out and finish up after the first rain delay because we played 6 and 7 after the first rain delay and you couldn't hardly stop the ball it was spinning back so much the green was so soft. It would have been extremely difficult for people to hit the ball close on these greens with all the slopes and it would be tough to get on the right level of any of the greens with as soft as it was. Because I almost -- I had 67 yards on the 7th hole and the pin was on the middle level and I was just trying to figure out how to hit it on that middle level and keep it there. I hit my metal sand wedge which is normally 59 to 100 yard shot just tried to hit it without much spin hit it low, hit it right behind the hole and still almost came back off that level. So it would have been difficult. As a matter of fact last hole pouring rain, hit 6-iron about six feet over the top hump, it rolled back 30 feet. So it was going to be difficult for the guys playing later, but obviously they are not going to see that. And unlucky for me we weren't able to get that last hole in. It is going to make it a little tougher day, we have to come back at continued play at 7:00 A.M. just to play one hole. I got to putt on 8 and then play, 9 then I am done. Best case scenario I will be done 'til 5 o'clock in the afternoon. So that will be a tough day. We are already out here anyway. We are sitting around and it is tough but I think we are all getting used to it. This is I believe our fifth -- I have been playing 5 weeks in a row now I think every tournament we have had rain delays so we are kind of getting used to it.
Q. How long was the putt you have left?
SCOTT HOCH: For birdie, 6-iron in, like I said, ten feet over the hump, it just barely got going back and rolled down the hill. Now I have probably 40 feet.
Q. Normally firm greens would be harder. People would say boy, if the greens get softer going to be like shooting darts. The characteristics of these greens make it just the opposite?
SCOTT HOCH: Yes. At least if these greens were firmer you could tell what they are going to do, you could allow for the bounces and stuff. Here you have some shots because you have all these different plateaus that they can put the pins on that depending what club you have coming into it, it would be very difficult to hit it without any spin or spin it back to where -- or play it past the pin and spin it back a certain amount to leave it by the hole. It will be very difficult just thinking of 11 I am not sure how they can play 11, it is on that back tier and you only have about eight yards there, but if you hit it on, it's liable to suck back down, but if you hit it to the back of that tier you go over it then you are dead. So -- and then many of the greens the way they are built here, they have plateaus but almost all of them are facing -- are slanted back to front. So that compounds the difficulty of the shot, especially when they are really soft like this and you have I think when you have these greens with a good amount of poa annua in it tend to make it much softer on the surface so the ball will really spin. You don't have to spin it much to really get it tearing back either.
Q. They can't play lift clean and place tomorrow morning, right?
SCOTT HOCH: No. Since the first round since they did -- designated before the first group teed off they have to play in the same conditions. So -- and obviously going to be a little muddy, but in some ways that might help them not spinning as much. But they are still not going to be able with the mud on it not going to be able to control the flight either. So I mean, you'd rather be able to control the flight and know it's going to spin than have that question in your mind the whole time whether it is going to jump because of the mud or is it going to spin.
Q. How many holes did you get in between --
SCOTT HOCH: Two holes. I was on 6 green - we were on 6 tee when they first called it. We played 6, 7, now I am on 8th green. 6 I hit a 9-iron past the pin there after the first delay and that green hadn't been hard in practice. I hit it past it on the left-hand side. It sucked all the way back to the front and down five yards down the fairway. This was after the first rain delay. So I imagine tomorrow it's going to still be wet in the morning, they are going to have a lot of difficulty with that.
Q. Supposed to rain.
SCOTT HOCH: Supposed to rain when?
Q. Tomorrow and Saturday.
SCOTT HOCH: Yeah but I am not sure-- I just asked them -- I think the forecast is supposed to be all right in the morning. I think it might build up in the afternoon. I don't know if that's the case or not. When I asked that's what they said.
Q. Those of us into our mid to late 40s aren't supposed to play anymore. Are you particularly proud of how you have maintained your ability to compete at this age because a lot of guys hit that wall and just --
SCOTT HOCH: Do you not write as well after you turned 40? (Laughter).
Q. I would say yes.
SCOTT HOCH: That happens to certain ones and other ones it doesn't happen to, I guess. So no, I have kept myself in pretty good shape. So I think that's the one thing and I still have my desire. So I think those are the two things that if you are in pretty good shape and still have your desire, sure you are going to lose some of it, but maybe over the years that I have played, I have learned to play better or learned how to play the game more, play my game better. So yeah, I mean, they are -- there are not that many guys mid 40 that are playing well these days. But I feel good about it. Next time people say like Trevino's wife or Trevino said one time: The putter doesn't know how old you are, so, I think that was a quote that was used when he won the PGA in Alabama. But I feel good that I am still playing well. I have really been playing well lately. This is my fifth in a row and I have been playing pretty well for the last two months. I feel good about that. I have got next week off. And actually I have been looking forward to it. I told my wife not that I was looking forward to playing here but looking forward having my week off, but then I told her I said look, you know, I looking forward to getting off but I still got one more week to do, so I still want to go out there and not go through the motions since I am playing well I still want to go out there and do well.
Q. Getting up that early tomorrow, then the one hole, what do you anticipate you will do between? I mean you are the type of guy that can go to sleep easily?
SCOTT HOCH: I am a late night person so might not go to sleep. I might be afraid I am going to miss my tee time. All you can do -- I am going to coming back out here, go through my same practice routine, I have had a hand that has been bothering me for quite a while. It takes me a long time to get it where it doesn't hurt. I have got to get it really loose by practicing so it doesn't hurt because I have got one hole to go but I still got to hit some good shots, hopefully I can make birdie on that hole. I still have to go do my same routine so get up pretty early, then I will go back to the hotel probably might even go back to sleep. If I can, I will. I have got my family here so that might be a little more difficult to go back go to sleep but then again I might get back in bed before they even wake up, so I don't know. Did that answer your question.
Q. What is the trick or is there one to maintaining consistency with the helterskelter schedule that the rain causes?
SCOTT HOCH: I don't know. I guess we are just used to it. You know you can't do anything about it. You just kind of sit and wait until they tell you what you are going to do then you just have to -- when they tell you you are going to back out, you just have to mentally be ready not just go out and hit balls and listen up, but mentally you have to be prepared to play also. That might be tougher than the part about loosening up again. Because you got to get ready and knowing that the way this tournament is going to be it is probably going to be a lot of number of stoppages during this week. So it just as important to be sharp mentally as it is to be loose.
Q. Did you get caught on the course last week? Did you get your round in?
SCOTT HOCH: See that's what one thing that happens when you turn 45. All of them are running together especially with the rain I know that I hurried up to finish before dark. I played 'til about 9 o'clock, I played in the dark and bogeyed the last three holes because of it. Which I wasn't too happy of that on Friday. When did it rain?
SCOTT HOCH: Actually I think I finished. I think I finished Thursday, yeah, and then I had a later time on Friday and I just barely got my second round in on Friday.
Q. What did you do during the delay today, Scott the long one?
SCOTT HOCH: I ate lunch twice and ate dinner twice. So then had a bunch of cookies in between. So this is -- the weather delays have not helped me at all in the last week. I have talked about going home not eating for a week and still be more than I was 5 weeks ago. These are bad for me because I can't sit there and do nothing. So I have been-- I was eating a lot, reading a good bit, reading a lot of articles in the magazines and stuff seeing how truthful they were.
Q. You mentioned last week having to play three holes when it was dark and for you and making--
SCOTT HOCH: That was my choice.
Q. It is your choice?
SCOTT HOCH: It was there. My vision is not real good when it doesn't -- when the light or sun starts going down and I mean I could have-- it would have been better for me to stop an hour earlier than I did. One thing, I got Lasix surgery at the beginning of the year and my depth perception especially when the light is not there is not good. I have difficulty. That's why I bogeyed 16. 17 I hit a tree off the tee and went almost in another fairway. So I wasn't really delighted because of that. 18 hit really two good shots, I could not see the putt but I putted anyway and 3-putted. I saw it later on the news and I said shoot, that looks like plenty of light there but that was the lens they had. I could not see. I actually asked my caddie I said, does this look like it is going to break a foot? He says, yeah, I putted it. I had about 30-footer and I putted it up, it broke six feet. So then I missed the ensuing 5-footers, I was really PO'd then. I told my wife she better drive home because I didn't feel -- I might pick off a few spectators on the way if they didn't get out of the way fast enough. Kind of like the drivers that I have had here. (Laughs).
Q. What do you credit this year too, first three events missed the cut, then you have played really, really well.
SCOTT HOCH: I was hurt. For the first two I take two and a half months off, I came back and I started getting tendonitis really bad in my hand. It bothered me the first two weeks. As a matter of fact after Thursday's round I went and saw a hand specialist in L.A., got a cortisone shot because I could not -- my first round in L.A. I was hitting it then letting go right after I hit it with my left hand. That's tough to do. Right hand I can see but left hand is kind of tough. Actually he gave me a shot. My hand was fine after that. It didn't bother me in Miami. I just didn't play well. Then after that also I got some bad habits because my hand was really weak and hurting me and I saw Leadbetter and we changed a few things because my hand had gotten weak, I got in a few bad habits; changed a few more things that I hadn't even been doing before that. And obviously what we have worked on has been paying off. And as a matter of fact, after I mean my hand -- it was great until New Orleans. After New Orleans I went deep sea fishing and 5 of us went out. It was -- five of us went out. It was too rough and all the other guys were chumming over the side, so we had to take them back in. Since we already paid for it I said I am not going back in. I was out there fishing by myself or with the Captain, we had six lines going and bringing in fish all over the place and strangely enough the tendonitis came back the next week. So that's what deep sea fishing caused my tendonitis to come back. That's pretty sad when you get hurt deep sea fishing. But that's what happened because the other guys couldn't. I had to bring in all the fish. But I got another shot after Sunday night at Memorial because it starting to bothered me. It lasted a week but it's coming on again. I have got to go through the same routine hopefully because it's really painful when I start, but then it has been loosened to where it is okay once I get on the golf course.
Q. You have been around, been successful on the Tour for a while. Do you -- what do you think about all this people coming out with Tiger and watching Tiger? Do you mind it? Do you care? Do you just go about your game and play?
SCOTT HOCH: I think a lot -- like a lot of guys that came up with Palmer, they thank Palmer for putting extra money in their pocket, and hey, I am the same way. I am very happy he is out here. While he gets a lot of attention but don't you think he deserves it? It is incredible the things he's done. I know it's putting money in my pocket, so, that's great. I think it's great having him out here and actually if -- with Sergio and I know they are trying to create a rivalry. It's not a rivalry but getting a lot of good young players, that can only help the Tour. I think it helps all of us. We may be jealous of his play, of how well he plays, but I can't see anybody being jealous of him. I mean, us -- let me say this: We are jealous. We wish we could play like him but no, I am thrilled he is out here and doing as well as he is doing. I just like to beat him one tournament. (Laughs) I had my chance at the Open but he still clipped me.
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