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June 25, 2001

Scott Hoch


NELSON LUIS: We'd like to welcome Scott Hoch into the interview room. Thank you for joining us. Obviously, still a very good week for you. Another fine round, 68 today to finish 13-under.

SCOTT HOCH: Yeah, I feel good. Didn't have my A-game today as Tiger would say. Didn't even have his C -game, I guess. But I hit one poor shot, was able to make a par out of it and made three birdies, just never was able -- Early on, I put maybe a couple of birdies, got back even but then after that, never could put the pressure on him. Couldn't get my irons close enough, and with these greens you have got to leave them in the right spot. I didn't leave them close enough, and even though I left some of them putting uphill like I wanted to, many times I was putting too long a putt, to have a really good chance for birdie. I just didn't have it. I think my hand's about done, and it could use a week off. I kept trying to hit shots and turning them over which is my normal shot kept leaving them right. My hand, I guess just kept getting little weak today and just wasn't able to hit the shots as well as I wanted. But I really wanted to play bad because I know one of reporters here didn't want me to win, so I wanted to give me a little extra incentive, but unfortunately, didn't have the game to back it up today.

Q. If someone had told you that you would shoot 13-under for the tournament, and not win, would you have been surprised?

SCOTT HOCH: I guess here, yeah, I haven't played here enough in the past to know what the scores are but 13-under here I would imagine would be the winning score most of the time. But when you have a lot of rain, I guess and then put the ball in your hands, the scores are going to be lower because of the time. Unless it's a really long course, which this isn't. This is just an old style course which is one that I like. We just don't have many old-style courses left on Tour. And that's one of the main reasons I am going to put this on my schedule a lot more than I have in the past, no matter how it falls in the schedule, I will make a run for it. In the past, it's either the week before or the week after the Open, so either I'm resting for the Open or too tired after the Open. For me, like I said, just so few courses left out there that are good for my game, and this is one of them that I am going to have to -- leave some of the other ones out and put this one in. I guess Greensboro and this, these are two tournaments that I usually don't play, or I haven't played much in the last ten years, and actually been my best two tournaments this year. That shows what I know.

Q. Ever a point today when you thought to yourself this guy is just not making a mistake?

SCOTT HOCH: No, I didn't think that. I wasn't so much concerned about him making a mistake. I am not, you know, it would be nice for him to give the rest of us a chance, but the only person I have control over is myself. I wanted to try to put some heat on him, make some birdies, hit some good shots at key times, and just wasn't able to do it. I had a couple of good putts that didn't go in, like the middle side, middle of the back nine, that could have made a difference, but so did he. He had some close calls, but he really played solid. I think after he made a bogey, he made a bogey early somewhere. Oh, two, he made a mistake and putted it, 3-putted there. But really after that, he didn't make many mistakes. He hit a lot of good shots, good putts, and actually, he could have easily been, you know, few more out in front of us.

Q. Playing with someone like Sergio who has kind of the upbeat personality, how does that affect your game?

SCOTT HOCH: Doesn't affect my game. Only one that affects my game is me. I enjoyed playing. He is fun to play with. But even my playing with somebody that's a stick in the mud or something like that, you know, I don't think it would make any difference in my game. I'd still have to concentrate on what I am doing, although, you know, obviously with Sergio I have a better time doing it, no matter what I am shooting. He is fun. He is lively. He has got a lot of enthusiasm. He is fun to be around. But for four days, though, geez (laughter). I mean, enough with calling "Sergio" already. I don't think I ever heard so much Spanish in my life out there from the crowd. I am going back to Orlando, so I guess I will hear some of that too.

Q. Did you learn something about him that you didn't know before you played with him this weekend, about how he is playing, about anything?

SCOTT HOCH: Yeah, after playing with him four days, you learn a lot, especially when the guy is on his game pretty well. He is a tremendous driver of the ball and he's got a really good touch too whether it be chipping or putting. Shoot, he hits his iron shots good too. I am just trying to figure out how a guy after -- as much as he did well I am trying to figure out how he only finished -- I mean how I finished only three shots behind him. Because he has got an impressive game.

Q. Earlier in the year you missed your first 3 cuts now you are up --

SCOTT HOCH: That was because of a hand injury after the first two -- second one I couldn't even grip the club. I had to get a cortisone shot. As a matter of fact that's what is coming back on now so I am not sure how it is going to affect me after a week off. But that's because of that, I wasn't able at that time.

Q. Are you surprised now that you are having your best season ever?

SCOTT HOCH: Well, I guess -- I am pleased about it. I wouldn't say surprised. That's not my best season ever. I think one year I finished 6th on the money list but I never finished very high, just very consistent. I am playing well. I am in good position to make it my best. I have had a good stretch here. And it is always good to have -- I mean I always play better in the summer when my kids are out of school and my family travels. That's a key. That's why this is my fifth in a row, and I can do that when they are travelling with me. Otherwise, you play a few weeks go home, you know, home for a while, come back out, but when they travel with me then I can play -- plus its courses and temperature that I enjoy playing in. So that's all the key to why I am playing well. Plus I had-- I worked on some things when I hurt my hand and came back, I went saw David Leadbetter, we worked on a few things because my -- with my hand bothering me and getting weak, I had gotten in some bad swing flaws. We worked on that when my hand got better and then we started gradually changing a few things. So obviously they have been working. Although this week I didn't feel that I was on my game that way as far as hitting crisp accurate iron shots, I didn't hit too many bad shots.

Q. What exactly was the hand injury?

SCOTT HOCH: I have got tendonitis and actually I got -- I went to a hand specialist one of the best in the country in L.A. and then he gave me a cortisone shot and I played the next day. I still missed the cut but I played the next day and it didn't bother me until I went deep sea fishing, you believe that I got my tendonitis came back from deep sea fishing of all places. Pulling in those big fish, strange, because when I came back and started practicing again my hand started bothering me and it has just been an ongoing process last three weeks just gradually gotten a bit worse.

Q. Making the Ryder Cup still a possibility for you?

SCOTT HOCH: It is a possibility, but it's -- it's not high on my agenda. As a matter of fact I am going to play the British and not going to play again until the PGA. So I am -- I have got -- I am going to Europe with my wife for our 20th anniversary. That's a lot more important than that.

Q. Tiger Woods mentioned that he thought Sergio need a couple more years before he'd get start to blossom was the quote yesterday. Do you think Sergio has arrived yet?

SCOTT HOCH: You mean one kid talking about another kid? (Laughter) I mean compared to me that is. Well, sure he's arrived, but I mean to what degree you are talking about. I think he is pretty awesome stuff. What is he 21? He was born when I first came on Tour 1980. That's kind of scary right there. But hey, he has got all the game right now. He has got all the game. He has won twice over here where we have the toughest competition in the world, yeah, he's arrived. I mean, he is not -- obviously he is not at Tiger's level but right now I'd put him in anybody else's level. Just look what he has done lately, Colonial and then the Open, he had one poor round at the Open, but otherwise he'd be -- he had a good chance of winning that one. But he probably learned something, that's where you got to give him credit, he had a poor round, I don't know what he did wrong, I didn't talk to him about it, but he came right back and played well and when he -- you know he had more pressure -- as much pressure on him here leading as he probably did at the Open trying to come from behind, so you know, he shot a poor round there, obviously he rectified it this week, mentally and physically, and he has got all the shots, so I think he can only get better.

Q. He nearly made eagle on the last hole. What did you tell him after that?

SCOTT HOCH: I just congratulated him. I guess. (Inaudible) Marking a one inch putt is kind of foolish. But I mean that's the correct thing to do. Telling him -- actually I kind of hit the ball back after I was going to hit the ball back to him I said, that's good, pick it up. That might have been what you were talking about. I said, yeah, go ahead, and pick it up. We just had a good time. Like I said he has got a lot of energy, a lot of enthusiasm, fun to be around. One reporter was right when he said you know he'd be -- nobody else in contention would have been a very good champion but he would be the one that New York needed, so they got it, and he played well. He played well. He deserved it. It makes, you know, his name makes it a lot better because you know with him coming back next year you know it is going to be a lively event.

Q. You mentioned that you like playing in the summer. Why also do you think you played well when your family is with you? Just because of the familiarity?

SCOTT HOCH: Well, they are with me, I mean, I am not out here wishing I was home, although, after 5 weeks, I am, you know, I said that yesterday somebody I guess took that to mean I didn't care if I won or not. But that's not true. I care about winning as much as anybody especially when I haven't won as much as I felt I should. When you have chances, especially this late in your career, you might not have that many chances. I was kept here an extra day but I was intent on giving my best and trying to win this tournament.

Q. Where are you going in Europe, Scott?

SCOTT HOCH: Italy. My wife has been there and she is making me go (laughter). After the British Open so that means I have got to play the British Open.

Q. Your hand, what do you think you are going to do about it now?

SCOTT HOCH: I don't know. Don't know. Probably -- because when the doctor saw it in February and gave me a shot, he said, well, I think you just probably need to rest it. I told him I have been off for two and a half months, I don't think rest is the problem. I don't know. I just have to see. It might be something that is going to come back on, but I just got another cortisone shot Sunday after Memorial. But unfortunately it didn't take as well as the other one. It came back on after a week. So, just things you have to deal with. The thing about it is -- it is kind of strange since my hand has been bothering me I have been playing really well. I don't know what that tells me or you, but it is getting to the point where it is causing some difficulty. So it is time to get home and rest it. Hopefully it will be ready because I enjoy playing the Western and Milwaukee has been a good tournament for me. That's another old style course then over to the British.

End of FastScripts….

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