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June 7, 2006

Charley Hoffman


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Charlie Hoffman, thanks for joining us. Three Top 10s this year in your rookie season, really off to a great start. Just talk about your year so far on the PGA TOUR and maybe if you've played the golf course out here, what you think of Westchester Country Club and the Barclays Classic.

CHARLEY HOFFMAN: I played yesterday afternoon, and it's a great golf course, old, traditional. You don't get many golf courses like this on the PGA TOUR. It's just fun. It's a great lead up for next week at Winged Foot.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: As far as your season so far, a lot of great success, had a couple opportunities to win, 68th on the opinion list, so you're position for your card is great. Talk about your season is far.

CHARLEY HOFFMAN: It's been fun. It's all come pretty fast. I don't know really what to say. I mean, it's more than I ever expected out here. Just trying to win it pretty much what it comes down to now. A few Top 10s, like Joel said. But it's just fun.

Q. Charley, how many drivers would you hit on this golf course?

CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Not many. Actually when I played now when it's raining probably a little bit more because the ball is not rolling out a lot. I only hit about four drivers yesterday, and I expect to hit a little bit more tomorrow obviously with how soft it's going to be.

Q. Is it safe to say that this appears to be a golf course where having just sheer power and length is not an asset like it would be at Memorial or somewhere else?

CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Yeah. I mean, why I like the golf course is because you can hit driver on every hole if you want to. I mean, every fairway accepts a driver if you want to. You don't have to, but if you want to hit driver, you can hit it and have wedge in if you want, but you can hit iron off the tee and have an 8 iron. That's why I like this golf course. You have the opportunity to hit driver; you're not held back really. I think it's a great thing to be able to hit driver if you want to, and you can make a good birdie if you hit driver off the tee and have the opportunity to get close to the green.

Q. I imagine, though, that by hitting driver, you're also possibly bringing more trouble into play?

CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Yeah, but the whole theory is if you hit driver and you're closer to the green you can hit wedge out of the rough where if you hit iron off the tee and you're hitting a mid iron you might not be able to get it to the green. You sort of want to get as close to the green as you can.

Q. There was a time when it looked like you could not look like that on the PGA TOUR. What kind of response do you get? Is that instant recognition for you in sort of a way, that people look at you and say, geez, who's that guy?

CHARLEY HOFFMAN: You know, I'm just a normal guy. I'm a California guy. I mean, I like to have fun, like to do whatever. It's just who I am. PGA TOUR used to be the ball cap, shirt, slacks, everybody looks the same. I think the European guys actually broke the mold a little bit wearing the crazy slacks and doing that. I'm just a normal guy. I'm just like anybody else. That's who I am.

I'm trying to be who I am instead of somebody I'm not. I get criticized sometimes about the long hair, but I like to have fun, I like to be who I am, and I think people like a different entity on the Tour than the normal person. I wouldn't call it a trademark or anything. I mean, who knows, I could cut it three weeks from now and no one would even recognize me. It's just who I am.

Q. When you wake up on a day like this and you know it's going to be a wash out, what do you do to get something productive out of the day?

CHARLEY HOFFMAN: To tell you the truth, I couldn't be happier. I played 36 on Monday for the U.S. Open and I'm a little tired. I'm just going to rest today, take it easy. If it was sunny out I would sort of feel bad for taking the day off. I was going to take the day off anyways. The rain makes me feel a little better actually.

Q. I asked this question of Trevor Immelman. There is a knock against sort of the younger generation of players that because of technology, they have not learned how to shape shots or be shot makers like the older generation needed to be. Do you agree with that, first of all?

CHARLEY HOFFMAN: I disagree personally because I play a little bit older golf ball, just a regular Pro V, so you can actually shape it a little better. I had this conversation with Kenny Perry yesterday. I like shaping it. I think the hardest shot in golf is to hit the straight shot. I like to work every shot that I hit, right to left, left to right. Obviously the older golf ball was easier to work, but also it didn't go as far.

But the whole theory of the further you hit it, the easier it is to hit off line. If you have a fairway and you hit it 280, it's easier to hit it 280 yards than it is to hit it 300 yards. It's hit or miss. I mean, it's a different game and everybody evolves. Jay Haas obviously, still 50 years old, qualified for the U.S. Open. He can still play the game.

Q. The reason I bring it up is that this week and certainly next week, as well, one course has a ton of doglegs, this course has some doglegs and it's tight. It seems like it would be an asset to be able to work the ball on those type of golf courses than others.

CHARLEY HOFFMAN: You've still got to obviously hit fairways just like any other golf course. You're not going to get away with anything. Like I said earlier, the further you hit it, they have doglegs but you can cut the corners, do whatever. You can take what you choose; you can hit it way down there and have a wedge in, or you can just lay up and sort of play the traditional hole.

This golf course fits everybody I think. Who knows who wins, but I think anybody can win out here.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Charley Hoffman, thanks.

End of FastScripts.

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