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April 25, 2002

Scott Hoch


TODD BUDNICK: We welcome Scott Hoch, who had a 4-under 66 today and finds himself 1 back of the leaders. Scott, we actually got started off on the wrong foot on No. 1 and 5 birdies after that. Let's go through your bogey on No. 1.

SCOTT HOCH: Well, when I teed off today, I saw the 70th or 71st guy was the same as it was yesterday as the morning shift was finishing, so I thought this is going to play tougher today with the winds coming up. With that said, knowing it's going to be harder, it was tough getting it close today. The greens were harder, more wind, it seemed I you had -- all of your shots were either into the wind or downwind, didn't have many crosswind shots and, gosh, I knocked quite a few over early and even when I tried to hold back and not knock them over, the balls would be bouncing over and the way these greens run away from you, it makes it difficult and that's what happened on the 1st hole.

Hit a lot of good shots today, capitalized on some and missed alot of good opportunities too. I had two mid-range birdies. 8, 12-feet birdie, I left dead in the middle short. But then again, I chipped in for par on one hole and so, I was fortunate on some of the holes and other holes I let a few get by.

TODD BUDNICK: Can we go through your strokes on the birdies, No. 2?

SCOTT HOCH: Well, bogeyed 1 and it's always good after bogeying, especially early in the round, to be able to get it back quickly. And I hit 2 really good shots into 2 and made birdie, so I got that back quickly.

TODD BUDNICK: Do you know how far that was?

SCOTT HOCH: The birdie putt? I guess I hit it to 6 or 7 feet. On No. 9 I hit a wedge in there, I guess, about 10 feet.


SCOTT HOCH: 11, I hit a really nice shot into it, kept on going probably 10, 15 feet past.

TODD BUDNICK: 10 or 11?

SCOTT HOCH: That was 10. And 11 I did pretty much the same thing. I hit it, and as soon as I hit it, I was kind of looking at the board to see what a hole-in-one was worth because it was heading right at it, and I just hit it a little too far and it went probably 10, 12, 15 feet past -- about 15 feet past. Next hole I had another birdie putt and made that. That's when I thought I had a string going and I broke it because I felt like if I could birdie that one and birdie the par 5, I would really have something going, and I had about 8 feet and left it short on 12, hit it close on 13 and missed that one. I hit a lot of good shots. I chipped in on 16 for par.

Q. From how far?

SCOTT HOCH: Really, the only shot I miss-hit all day I hit it right off the tee, and it was short of the bunker on the right where I couldn't even stand with a normal stance because of the bunker there. And I fanned it so much it almost went in the water, and it went down the slope like I was talking about earlier and Tom Scherrer had the shot before me from 2, 3 feet farther, and I kind of saw what it did and it made my shot easier. Obviously, didn't make it easy enough to make it, but it showed me what I needed to do. Then I had a wedge, oh, about 7 feet on No. 17 and then hit a real good shot in out of the bunker, hit it to about 8 feet there and thought I had a putt just the way I wanted to, but I didn't read it right.

Q. So how far did you end up chipping in from?

SCOTT HOCH: Oh, it was-.

Q. 30 feet?

SCOTT HOCH: I was probably 3 yards over and the pin was probably about 4 yards on, so about 7 yards.

TODD BUDNICK: Scott, has it been tough -- I know for a period there you weren't able to play some events for various reasons, the eyes and such. Has it been hard getting back into that competitive edge part of it?

SCOTT HOCH: Well, it's good that I had a round in -- I mean, a tournament in before the Open because to be off for 2 months and have the Open for your first one, that would be a little too severe, especially the course we had to play. It probably made me fresh. I mean, from time to time I'll take a month off anyway and it's some adjustment because -- I took some time off because of my eye. And once my eye got in pretty good shape, then my hand started bothering me and that kept me off another couple weeks. So seeing pretty well know, most of you I'm only see one of you now, although I'm going to do some tinkering so I get to where with my 1 contact I see pretty well.

I guess the one big thing I can say about my round the last two days is that I really hit the ball bad at the Open. I putted extremely well and I usually drive well, and I didn't. I had so many bad iron shots, still had some good iron shots, but I had so many bad ones, probably more bad iron shots and had some bad drives, but my wedges and putting was good. Then I did the same thing Tuesday, Wednesday here.

So I did something I've never done before. I called -- I had a lesson over the phone, and I was talking to David Leadbetter, and I was telling him what I was doing. He saw a couple swings I made at the Open, and he suggested something to try and, gosh, I've really been hitting it really well. I think I missed one fairway each the last two days, and other than hitting it over some of the greens today, the only shot I miss-hit was the one on 16. And I was miss-hitting five or six iron shots a round last week, so first time I've ever done that, I mean, ever called somebody and gotten a lesson over the phone, but I was desperate.

Q. When did you do that and what exactly did he tell you?

SCOTT HOCH: Yesterday afternoon, late yesterday afternoon -- no, excuse me. Late Wednesday afternoon because I figured usually I'll have a slop or hit it bad and I'll work it out in a week or so, figure it out, but I was doing the same thing. I was hitting it all over the place off the tee and also miss-hitting a bunch of iron shots Tuesday and Wednesday, so I called him.

Q. What were his little tips?

SCOTT HOCH: He told me a couple things, couple things to try. If I'm doing this, then I might be doing something to cause it. And I had pretty much gone over everything in my swing, you know, that would make me do that except for what he told me, and he was right on it.

It was just a matter I was probably on my toes too much, and it makes me take the club back and then what it does when I'm on my toes too much, I tend to reach or tend to bend over more when I'm on my toes. It's more of a -- I just have movement, too much movement, and he just said rock back on my heels and try to stay back on my heels more and that would help my swing plane and probably even it out because if I'm miss-hitting it, then I'm moving on it, and I couldn't figure out how I was moving on it because I didn't feel like it and my caddie didn't see it either. It was just a fine line between hitting it really well and I was coming out of it because I was on my toes.

Q. When you said your wrist was bothering you, was that the same wrist you were saying was bothering you last year?

SCOTT HOCH: It's a chronic problem. I went out and saw my hand guy, and he gave me a little cocktail and it should last for quite a while unless I do something to reinjure it.

Q. Didn't you have another second time around?

SCOTT HOCH: What are we talking about now? On my eye?

Q. Yeah.

SCOTT HOCH: Yeah. And all of a sudden I had astigmatism pop out, fairly severe one after about 2 weeks.

Q. When was it done originally?

SCOTT HOCH: Originally, it was done about a year-and-a-half ago. And then I had a touch-up -- well, it's a long story, but I started taking some medication. Very strong coincidence. My eyesight was 20/15 in one and 20/20 in the other, I just had my yearly checkup and then my eyes were the same, and they prescribed some medication for my physical. I started taking that and 10 days later, my eyesight went to 20/50 in both eyes. It went from, of course, perfect depth perception to only being able to read 2 out of 9 on a depth perception chart. So very strong coincidence that my eyes would be perfect, and 10 days after starting this medication it would be that way, and that's what precipitated me having this other eye surgery. It's tough to play when you go from 20/20 to 20/50 in two weeks.

Q. When was the second surgery?

SCOTT HOCH: Monday in Atlanta. And it was perfect, I saw 20/15 out of both eyes afterwards. But then at Augusta something was going on with my right eye, just wasn't right. I didn't know what it was and didn't play particularly well, didn't bother me that much, but didn't play particularly well. And then Saturday we had to come out and finish our round, and suddenly I come out to the range, I'm seeing 2 balls, seeing 2 Titleists written on the practice ball, so I knew I was in trouble.

Q. So you started taking the medication the end of March?

SCOTT HOCH: Started taking it middle of March probably, right about -- right about -- yeah, right about Bay Hill time, beginning of Bay Hill time, because I had just had my physical the week before. And it's a cholesterol medication, so I figured it's probably better to live and not be able to see as well than not to live. I'm still taking it.

Q. The same stuff, you're still taking it?

SCOTT HOCH: Still taking it. I figure it's already done its damage now. Why take something else that may have another side effect?

TODD BUDNICK: All right. Well, thank you, Scott. Good luck the rest of the weekend.

End of FastScripts....

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