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July 7, 2001

Scott Hoch


NELSON LUIS: Scott, great round for you today. Got you right up there on the leaderboard. Why don't you give us some quick thoughts on your round.

SCOTT HOCH: I started out feeling really well. Made some good shots early and then we had to stop after I was on the third green. And I guess after we came back out I never quite seemed to have it quite the same, and just kind of threading water there, made a birdie, I made a couple of up-and-down sand saves and a birdie on 5, which was a 2-putt so that was kind of a no-brainer. Bogeyed 6 out of the bunker, actually hit a real good bunker shot out about four feet, misread the putt. Four, five feet. Then not much happened. Gosh, just barely missed birdie putts on 8, 9 and then we had a long wait on 11 again, but fortunately for me I hit a really good drive and hit a 4-wood up and over the trees landed on the middle of the green rolled just off the back able to 2-putt. I guess right then I started hitting some good shots except for I guess second shot on 13. I was trying to chase the ball up the green where that pin was and then it went in the bunker and I was able to get that up-and-down. Then I hit a real good shot on 14, didn't make birdie; then hit two good shots on 15, par 5, driver, 3-wood, kind of back left fringe and chipped it up about six inches. Next hole I hit a good 3-wood off the tee had a wedge kind of took something off the wedge thinking I didn't need to hit it all the way, hit short of the green, looked like it bounced up, almost to the hole, it rolled back down off the green just on the fringe. The pin was right on the front so it was kind of an easy putt going up the hill. And the next hole I made it, I made the putt on the last rotation of the ball. Rather fortunate.

Q. How far on 16?

SCOTT HOCH: Well on the fringe, pin was on maybe 6, so it was 18 feet, there about. And then the next hole I probably had 30 feet, 25 or 30 feet. And then 18 I hit -- I have a lot of trouble with 18 and just like the shot I hit other day had the same deal, had a 4-iron into the green, pin was left, I hit it in the right bunker; had to end up getting it up-and-down for bogey. But today I hit it up there, actually that ball was not supposed to be right of the pin. And it was. But the wind finally took it left, and got a fortunate bounce and then I made about an eight foot putt for birdie. But that hole is just no piece of cake for me very difficult, whereas some of these other guys, they are hitting 7 and 8 irons into it and I hit a good drive today and had 4-iron. That's not a hole you want to be hitting a 4-iron to. Especially when you are playing well. If you are not playing well doesn't make a difference which way you do it.

Q. The leaderboard looks like you are making a charge there through the last four. Would you describe it, makes it sound like you were just sort of playing....

SCOTT HOCH: Yeah, I was setting him up. I was setting him up no, knock them down at the end. (Laughs) I really -- I didn't know-- I looked at the board, I saw that Davis was 15-under. I don't know at what point but I saw that. I really wasn't concerned with him. I am just trying to -- I just knew that I was in the middle of a bunch of players and I just needed a par 5 to get me going because that seems -- I wasn't hitting my irons well enough to make birdies on the other holes, so, you know, just waiting for the par 5s and 15 kind of jump-started me.

Q. You guys are leading the tournament both of you (inaudible) been hurting for quite a while.

SCOTT HOCH: I think he just wanted to be home. I don't know if he was hurt. Hey, I won't say I am hurt. I mean, it's not really affected my golf too much, let's just say that. Once I get loosened up, then it's really not affecting my golf. It is just matter of loosening up and being painful at the beginning and then once I get loosened up, then it really doesn't -- it hasn't bothered me except I have had a few rounds where it got weak at the end but not really where it hurt. If I miss-hit a shot then I feel it. Then it is like hitting a baseball into the bat or something then I feel it because it vibrates through the club a little differently. But for the most -- I mean, let's just say I have got a nuisance injury, so to speak. Hopefully it doesn't get any worse because it if it does then I am -- then I will have too -- well then I won't be able to play, but no, he had something serious and for him to come back playing; especially after I think he missed the cut last week and he wasn't even supposed to be here. If he wins, I finish second, I am going to be ticked off because he wasn't supposed to be here. (Laughter) If he played good last week then it would be fine, then he wouldn't have been here.

Q. It takes you a long time to warm up unless the rain delay really hurt you?

SCOTT HOCH: Well, it didn't help me. It didn't help me the fact -- but as far as my hand goes, once I warm up for the day, and unless I have a really long layoff it is not the same when I come back. I don't have to start over. I just have to loosen up again but actually after I guess we were on for about two hours my hand didn't bother me so much when I came back out and started hitting balls. But I have had to do -- I didn't play last week but the 5 weeks prior to that I had to do that the whole time because we had rain delays out of the ying-yang for five straight weeks. So that's not really affecting it too much. Like I say, once I get started I don't have any excuses, every now and then it gets weak on me, I start leaving some iron shots to the right but other than that, it hadn't been that much of a bother, obviously, by the way I have been playing lately.

Q. This tournament would be your ninth straight --

SCOTT HOCH: No, it is not.

Q. Let me finish, please.

SCOTT HOCH: You are here early this time, I noticed that.

Q. Thank you. Your ninth straight top 16 finish last 9 starts starting with Houston. What do you attribute that nice little run to, you are playing with an aggravation, playing very well?

SCOTT HOCH: I think it is just a confidence factor. I mean, gosh, I say the biggest thing is winning. I had some good tournaments before that, but you know, nothing -- nothing -- didn't feel anything like it at the tournaments until after I won. Then after I won it is just one thing was building after another that I know I can do it. I have done it. So just go on out and get it. And I have been trying to do that and I felt good about it and as you all know I am making my Ryder Cup run, that's what it is. (Laughs) But I have been -- I think the biggest key to that I have been driving really well over the last, well, last two months, or nine tournaments or whatever and putting really well. I mean my stats weren't that good in putting or driving before that streak started. So I mean, to be in the Top-10 in driving accuracy and to be actually I was leading putting. I am either second or third now, but I was leading putting a couple of weeks ago and by not playing I lose, lose ground. But I mean, when you do that, -- my irons have not been good. That has been the worst part of my game and I mean that's a reputation -- any reputation out here is tough to get, and if you are known for good iron-play then everybody thinks you are doing it with irons and I am not. It is driving and putting mostly. Occasionally I am hitting good irons. I am not hitting bad shots that really get me in trouble. So I don't have to scramble that much.

Q. This hot streak are you expecting to contend at the British Open?

SCOTT HOCH: I have no idea. The way I am playing I am hoping to contend every week, but that's a different style -- I have never played there, it's a different style of game and everybody tells me you know, the way I am driving the ball I mean, everybody that I play with says that course is perfect for you and everything else. I don't know any course that is perfect for me. (Laughs) But they say it is good. I am looking forward to going over there. I am just hoping that the weather is good and if the weather is decent for me, warm enough, then hopefully I will continue my good play and play well over there.

Q. When did you decide to play the Open?

SCOTT HOCH: Always. If I was exempt I was going to play. I mean last year I didn't because it wasn't one of my favorite courses. And the year before that I was planning on playing 'til the very end but I had -- my foot was hurt. I was out for a month and a half. So -- but no, I was intending on playing and I am planning on playing this year and I am looking forward to it.

End of FastScripts....

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