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March 28, 2007
JOEL SCHUCHMANN: We'd like to welcome Charley Hoffman to the interview room here at the Shell Houston Open.
Charley, you won your first PGA Tour early this year at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic in a playoff. I'm sure it was an exciting week for you. You've had a great season so far. Make some opening comments about coming to Houston for this week's Shell Houston Open.
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Yeah, I'm excited to come back to Houston after last year. I have some good experiences after last year, playing alright after the first two rounds.
Hopefully be able to play a little better on the weekend. Like the golf course, like the town. I usually play good in Texas and hopefully keep it running.
JOEL SCHUCHMANN: What types of things have changed for you since winning? I think so that was your first start of the year. Obviously, great way to start your year. What's changed on and off the golf course for you?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Lot of new opportunities have come up. One this week we're going to be going with Waste Management, going to be a great family to be along with, and I'm excited to be with them, and I can't wait to see where it expands to and where it goes to.
It's to save the planet and the way they think, and I go along from being from San Diego along with where I come from the environment and keeping it beautiful for everybody.
JOEL SCHUCHMANN: As far as your goals on the golf course, obviously you have the two-year exemption now and a lot of perks that go with it. What have you looked at as far as other goals this season and in the future?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: One of the big goals is getting in the Masters. That one fell a little bit short after last week -- hopefully get in the majors and try to contend in the majors every year, what your career is based off of. That's what I want to have my career based off playing good in the Majors.
JOEL SCHUCHMANN: We'll take some questions now.
Q. Did you do any splurging or do anything cool after you won?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: I had a pool going in. I had that sort of planned before I was going into the Bob Hope. It definitely made a little easier. Those things aren't very cheap to deal with. They keep adding up. It's amazing you get a call from the contractor every day, they hit rock. It's a little more expensive.
This barbeque is a little more expensive. Everything keeps adding up. It's nice -- that's about the only thing I really splurged on.
Q. Do you line it with diamonds or anything?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: No. Just rock. Just natural rock, which I guess is a diamond but not -- maybe we'll find some diamonds in those rocks.
Q. You break through for something like that kind of a big life-changing event, how long did the feeling or has that feeling lasted the few euphoria?
Do you still have the goal? Has it faded?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: You're always going to have that memory of winning. You can't really ever lose that.
Obviously the next week is a new week and you start all over again. You're back at level one, so you want to keep it going.
It was nice to go back to San Diego where I grew up right after the week in Palm Springs. So it was nice to have some family and friends around when I won and then go back to that, which is pretty unusual on tour. You usually win in a state or country where you have no friends or family around. It's pretty unique to have that.
I mean, I've come down off of it a little bit, but hopefully after this week, I'll be back on top.
Q. How do you think you've handled the aftermath? You obviously haven't had the results you'd want since then.
Has there been any sort of hangover?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Not really. I played decent in California afterwards. Florida has never been my biggest swing of where I make my money. I usually make money traditionally in Texas, so can't wait for the Nelson and this week, and I like the warm weather and the grasses they have around here.
So hopefully we'll get it going again this week.
Q. What is it about Texas courses, if anything, for you? Is there a comfort level with the grasses or the weather?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: It must be the weather and the grasses because I won my first Nationwide event in Midland a few years back. I played good at Colonial and Nelson last year and just one of those things and played pretty good the first couple rounds here. I guess it's the weather and the grass, and I really can't pinpoint anything on that, but, hey, if I keep playing good, that's a good thing, right?
Q. If it's in your head, that helps, too.
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Positive vibes about Texas, and it's a good thing. I like warm weather, and I think that's one of the most important things.
Q. What do you make of the differences with the course here set up from last year to now?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: I think it's great. I think the run-off areas in the water are a great addition to the golf course, and obviously the rough around the fairways is preparing the guys who are going to Augusta.
I would like to see it a little higher, just probably make the course play a little tougher, but the run-off areas, you miss a green around the water hazards, most likely going to go in the water or really close or near the water. I think it's going to be a little more challenging hitting your shots into the greens this year.
Q. So do you think it's kind of ripe for the taking? Are guys going to have to really put the pedal to the metal to stay in contention?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: I don't recollect what the score that Stuart shot last year was. I know he destroyed the field by quite a few.
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Yes. What was he? 20 --
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: The scores were pretty low. I think the scores will be similar to what they were last year. I assume a few more guys are going to get more under because the second-year guys have come to the course and a little more familiar with the golf course. Usually that plays along with lower scores.
Q. All Florida swing, it was like week after week guys were a little more beat up by the courses?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: It's the toughest stretch of four golf courses we play all year. PGA National and Major Championship venue. Tampa you could play a major championship there. Bay Hill the rough was as long as the U.S. Open, and last year at Doral was the World Golf Championship. Golf course setup-wise, I think those four you won't get a tougher four in a row maybe until the FedExCup starts.
Q. So how does that play -- such a contrast in setups and style this week. Is it going to make -- does it make things feel -- I know it's never easy but relatively easy? Are you guys so acclimated to the other style of golf going to be --
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: I'm happy to get off Florida. I'm real excited to play. I have a tendency to hit it in the rough more than most people, so I like not seeing the rough up that high this week and give me the opportunity to attack the golf course a little more, I think.
Q. Charley, after a win, do you look at yourself any different, or do you perceive that others out here, peers, kind of view you a little differently now that you're in the winner's circle?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Personally I'm the same person. I haven't changed any. Still the same old kid from San Diego. Like to relax and pretty low key.
I think peers-wise, I think there's an acceptance little more now that you've one a PGA Tour event, you might have more acceptance by all the players and champions that are out here, which is pretty much everybody. There's so many great players playing the PGA Tour.
It's nice to have a win underneath your belt and say you have succeeded and won on the PGA Tour. That's obviously growing up one of your goals in life, one of my goals in life was to win on the PGA Tour. I have succeeded in doing that.
Q. Any particular interesting reaction you've gotten from a fellow pro out here that you're willing to share? Any e-mail or a note in your locker, something that surprised you that somebody took note of that and went out of their way to say something to you?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: I take this as a compliment. They say I can't believe it took this long for you to get your first PGA Tour victory, which obviously I always thought I could win, but it's nice to hear it from other people that they thought I could win, too, and it finally happened.
Q. Do you have any good or interesting stories about being recognized by people you didn't before?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: It's a little different now. I guess the hair thing sort of sticks out a little bit. When you're in the airport, people coming up to you. That never really ever happened before. You can't go to a bar and watch the game without maybe someone tapping you on the shoulder and asking you a question, but that's good things that come along with winning on the PGA Tour.
Q. You could shave your head.
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: I could. No one would recognize me.
Q. Ball that up in a ponytail.
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: I don't think the ponytail would work for me.
Q. Charley, it's kind of unusual to hear a player say they would like to see the course play tougher, the rough longer especially like you said, you kind of hit it in the rough sometimes.
Could you explain your thinking behind that?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: I think the players want to see the golf course play as hard as it can every week in and week out, because obviously the best player will most likely come out on top more because they won't hit it in the rough as much.
I think as a competitive person you want to see the course play as hard as it can.
I think last year the rough was a little longer and obviously played -- it would have played a little harder, shots into the green than it is this week, but they also changed around the greens. You might not be able to attack the pins as much anymore because the ball is going to run off into the water.
Q. Do you find -- in mapping out how you plan to play this course, do you feel like you're going to need to take a little bit different approach because of the run-off areas?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: You've got a pin last year on 18. We'll say, for example, that's back left. If you miss to the left 90 percent chance, it's going to stay on that bank while this year, there's maybe 1 percent chance that you'll stay on that bank if you get lucky.
Obviously you're going to be a little more conservative and play a little more to the middle of the green than you were before, which is good.
Q. Did it play hard enough for you Sunday at Hope?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: There was enough wind out there to surprise anybody who was even out there. Everybody got blown away.
Q. You talk about a Nationwide win in Texas. Did you play well in this state as a college guy? Did you play that much here?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: For some reason I have played alright here at the college events in Austin. I think I played alright.
I just have always played pretty well in Texas. I really can't pinpoint a reason why or anything, but the track record speaks.
Q. It goes back that far. You felt good when you went --
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: I think I like firm golf courses. The majority of times they are pretty firm.
JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Any more questions? Okay. At this time I'd like to introduce Dave Steiner who is the chief executive officer of Waste Management.
MR. STEINER: Obviously we have a lot of employees here. We got a round of applause for that. You know, Waste Management is headquartered here in Houston, Texas. A company that is the leading environmental services company in the United States, about $14 billion in revenue, 50,000 people throughout the United States, and so people say why is an environmental services company getting involved in golf and getting involved with Charley Hoffman?
Well, a couple things. As an environmental services company, our tag line is "Think green," and so when you look at us, we're the largest recycler in the world. We're by far the largest recycler in North America. We don't just recycle cardboard and paper and bottles and cans. We also recycle land. We have over 300 landfills and former landfills in the United States, and when we take those landfills and put waste into them, we'll able to use the methane gas that's created to power homes. We're able to take that methane gas and create green power.
So an example of us thinking green: When we're finished with the landfill, we cover it with natural grasses, give back to the community as green space. We give it back as hiking trails, as parks. We have 70,000 acres throughout the United States that are designated wildlife habitat areas.
So we give back the green space to the communities. Oddly enough, we've given back numerous landfills as golf courses. So our association with golf is not just a passion for our company, it's actually also a part of our business.
So our association with golf is a natural. Then when you look at Charley, we've got 50,000 employees throughout the United States and Canada. We look at them all at winners. We want to all be associated with winners. Who better to be associated with than someone who has every level from his college career at UNLV to the recent win at the Bob Hope Desert Classic, who better to be associated with than a winner like Charley?
But, you know, we can be associated with a lot of different winners. It's nice also to be associated with a winner that wants to give something back.
I think that's what makes Charley unique for Waste Management is that we're glad that we're going to be involved with Charley and Charley Hoffman Foundation, Waste Management. We're goint to sponsor so what we call a "Green Glove Charity." We're going to give money back to our communities. We've got 50,000 employees that are giving back to our communities every day. We're going to take that and turn it into dollars to give back to Keep America Beautiful.
In the local communities where the PGA has golf events. We're going to work with Charley to make sure we give back to the communities and we're proud to have Charley not only join the Waste Management team but join the Waste Management family.
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: I'm excited to be a part of you guys family. It's a big day for me and I think Waste Management.
I can't -- I know we're going to do some charitable contributions with the green glove on Thursdays, I'm going to be wearing a green glove for "Think Green." Sort of goes along with their trucks they drive around and they're green. Tie in golf courses are green. So I'm going to wear a green glove and going to get some birdies or come up with an idea that's going to give back to the community with some sort of contribution of some sort of amount of dollars to the charity of our choice.
MR. STEINER: Being from Las Vegas, they think green, too. Different type of green.
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: They take your green.
MR. STEINER: You think you had green when you went there, right?
Q. Will you have to wear a green glove to the British Open?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: We're going to really stand out there because we'll have a green glove on. No, it's going to be fun. Keep America Beautiful. I think that's the main thing. Like you said, it's going to be a great family and hopefully keep it going.
MR. STEINER: You know, being able to announce in conjunction with the Shell Houston Open for us is a great thing. We're headquartered here in Houston. We have over a thousand people that work with us here in Houston. So to give them a chance to see the newest member of the Waste Management family, hopefully see him Sunday not hitting that bank on 18 but sinking that.
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: I did hit that bank last year. It didn't stay up. I know it won't stay up this year.
MR. STEINER: We're going to watch him sink the winning putt on Sunday. You can bet you'll have a lot of people thinking green and thinking win on Sunday when Charley knocks in the winning putt. Wear the green glove every round.
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Thursday for now. We'll figure out what we can do.
MR. STEINER: When he goes out and shoots 64.
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: I'll sleep with the glove. No, we'll have some green gloves for charities that I'll sign and give away. It's going to be a good association.
MR. STEINER: Keep America Beautiful, obviously Keep America Beautiful is a national charity but also has local chapters. With what we raise here for the Shell Houston Open, we're going to dedicate that here to the Houston community and then as the PGA Tour goes through the various communities in the United States, we're going to be giving back.
Look, we're in all those communities. We're a part of the PGA. Another natural fit for us. But you know we're going to give back to all the communities as we follow Charley throughout the Tour stops.
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Be fun meeting all the people in all the different chapters in the communities that we're going to go to. It's going to be a good team. That's great. It's great to sponsor me but Waste Management to sponsor the PGA Tour.
MR. STEINER: I was born in California. You don't play well in California?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: I won in California. Florida is where I didn't play well.
MR. STEINER: We'd rather be in Texas.
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: I'd rather be here.
JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Anything else?
Okay, gentlemen. Thank you very much.
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