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October 31, 2008

Scott Hoch


THE MODERATOR: Scott, 66 today. 8-under through 36. Just some quick thoughts on your round and we'll take some questions.
SCOTT HOCH: Gosh, you know, I had a good round today. Missed two fairways. Birdied one of them. The other was a 9th hole, which I'm having a tough time figuring out. I'm trying to play short. Just get the ball in the fairway. Yesterday I hit through the fairway. Today I hit it in the rough, bad lie, made bogey. Only two bogeys I had. Other than that, I really played well today. Lipped out three other times on the front side.
But, you know, hitting the greens and giving myself some chances. Actually made some putts over 10 feet for a change. Haven't made too many of those lately.
THE MODERATOR: Maybe go through your birdies.
SCOTT HOCH: Easy as one, two, three. Birdied the first, second and third.
1st hole was about six feet. 2nd hole was about eight feet. 3rd hole was about 20 feet. On 9, I hit a 4-wood, tried to lay up short of the bunker. Hit it in the left right. Pretty bad lie. Made bogey. Hit a good putt out of it, but just wasn't close enough. Misread it.
SCOTT HOCH: Then after bogeying 9, it was important to birdie soon, so I did. I birdied the 10th hole. I hit it in there about four feet. Then, what, the par 5 is next?
SCOTT HOCH: Par 5, I had about 55 yards and hit it about two feet, made that for birdie. I birdied 15 from about 20, 25 feet. Then I birdied 16 from about 20 feet also.
One thing about it, I made some longer putts, but I left myself good. For the distance, those were probably the best angles I could have had to putt it. Most of them were up the hill. The ones I made were up the hill with just a slight break.
But felt like I had a really good touch today. Hit a lot of good shots. Drove it well. I made some putts. Usually you do all those things, it's the key to having a good round.
THE MODERATOR: You had 24 putts today. You had 33 yesterday.
SCOTT HOCH: Yeah, just didn't make much yesterday. I 2-putted for two birdies. Made an 8-footer for birdie the other time. Yeah, I didn't make much. I hit good putts yesterday; just didn't go in.
These greens are a little different for me. You can read the break and then you've got to figure in, behind the first green, everything kind of breaks towards there. Then you start figuring, how much does it really affect it? Or if you read it right to left, the green's supposed to be going the other way...
I think sometimes I maybe overanalyze it too much.

Q. This is your third full year.
SCOTT HOCH: Second. I missed the first year. I was hurt.

Q. What was the surgery about?
SCOTT HOCH: I severed two tendons. They had to replace them. It was in my hand.

Q. Was that one swing?
SCOTT HOCH: No, what happened was I had a calcium deposit on the back of my hand. You could see it. Most of the time it's smooth. So it had been bothering me for about five years. All the doctors thought I had arthritis or tendinitis or whatever. Whenever it bothered me, I'd get a shot. Then I'd have to get a shot more often because it wouldn't just last as long.
Well, what ended up being the calcium deposit actually had some jagged edges to it. The tendons went over the calcium deposit. So all that pain I was experiencing for five years was actually my tendons getting shredded little by little until they finally snapped. One snapped. Must have been a little one because it snapped. I mean, it hurt. All of a sudden it didn't feel so bad. I put ice on it. I was actually on a golf course when I did it, at Isleworth.
Two or three days later I started hitting balls. It felt great. First time I played without any pain. I called my doctor. He said, Must have been some adhesions and it just broke loose.
I went to Baltimore about a week or two after that 'cause my hand hurt me so bad I couldn't play. But that was in my thumb. Anyway, when I was in his office, he said, Do a mock swing. Show me where it hurts in your thumb and where in the swing it hurts. He was trying to figure out exactly what it was. Before I even addressed it, it snapped in front of him, the big tendon snapped in front of him.

Q. That's about three years ago?
SCOTT HOCH: But I didn't have it till about six months after that. That was in March. I didn't have it till October because the MRI, it fooled all the doctors or whatever. Plus all the tests they put me through, strength tests, I was able to do stuff that I wasn't supposed to be able to do if I lost that tendon. So they just probably thought I lost part of it. I don't know.
Then the guy, Tom Graham, best hand guy in the country, he's proven to be really good for me and good for a lot of other players, professional teams. He's getting to be like the Andrews, I guess, of hands.

Q. We've watched you for years and years, back from the '90s. You always didn't want to come in the press room.
SCOTT HOCH: Always didn't? There was a period there that I didn't go in, but that was the only time. All the other times, I just got tired of being interviewed and not being what I said. I said, They can't misquote you if you don't talk to them.

Q. Is that because of Augusta in '90?
SCOTT HOCH: No, didn't have anything to do with that. It was actually at TPC that kind of started it. There was a particular writer that wasn't even there that wrote stuff, and I didn't even say that at all. It's proven I didn't say that. He misread it.
You know, certain things. It was an accumulation of stuff that finally did it. For about eight months or so I didn't say anything.

Q. I've always found you "misunderstood." You've donated a lot of money to the hospital, you seem to have a great sense of humor, yet a lot of press goes after you. As a senior, do you find things different now?
SCOTT HOCH: Part of that was some of my own doing. But I also get ticked off, whether it be TV or whatever, you play good and they don't show you, those things. Then you become a whiner, whatever else.
But, you know, this is a different atmosphere. Hey, if we were playing our Tour Championship, like Atlanta, I think there would be a little more than five or six people here. It's definitely more low-key. But it's fun.
We're at a point in our career where it really doesn't make any difference. You try to be good to anybody. You should always try to do that. Even if something's written, something that's incorrect, something that's written that you might have said a long time ago, done a long time ago, that might be negative, you know, you just say, So be it.
Too old to even worry about stuff like that. You can't worry about that. You just try to be good to people, and that's about it. I don't ever try not to be. But sometimes if people catch me at the wrong time...

Q. The hospital must make you feel very good, to see something that is constant, that you've helped build.
SCOTT HOCH: Well, I have. I don't know why it's got Palmer's name on it. We've been involved in it a long time. We've been involved in it a long time. My wife's on the board. I don't have the time to. But, no, it's been closest to us, our hearts, as far as any charities since then, since '89 or so.
I am what I am. I like to kid around. Some people don't take it that way. I can't help it. If the press doesn't want to do anything. I mean, I haven't said anything negative about them. That's just the way it is. It's too late to worry about it.

Q. You don't suffer fools great, do you? People should know what they're talking about. I get the feeling, if a guy asks you a question or if a fan makes a stupid statement, that person should have known better?
SCOTT HOCH: No, I'm not like that. You will get some stupid questions. But, no, I've never told a guy, That's a stupid question. At least as far as I can remember, that's not anything I'd do, or to a fan.
We get guys all the time say, What club is that? It's an Adams. Do you like it? It's amazing. That's the dumbest question you can ever ask somebody. No, we don't like the club we play. We just play them anyway.
We'll turn around and say something to our caddie walking down the fairway. You don't want to spoil that guy's dumb question.
It's just the way it is.

Q. Since I've got you going, do you ever look back at that Masters that you almost won, playing in the dark?
SCOTT HOCH: I learned a lesson there. But, you know, what, Augusta wouldn't let you do that. It was probably darker there. But, hey, we're Augusta, you're playing. I'm sure that's what happened.
Sure, you wish you would have done. If you look back, you know, Faldo played a great round. He got very lucky on 17. He got lucky me missing a putt on the first playoff hole. Then when he had his chance, he took advantage of it. That's what a champion does. I had my chance; didn't do it.
I certainly wish I did. But, hey, too old to worry about that now, just like everything else. But I very much would have liked to have had it. Don't get me wrong.
But I think the one thing that has been held against me so long is what I said about St. Andrews. People just gave that a blanket statement for all of the British Open courses. I was just talking about one course. They actually have my favorite course over there. My favorite course in the world is Muirfield over in Scotland. But, no, that only applied to one golf course. Any time you see it, whether it's 20 years later, this is what I say about all the British Open golf courses. That's not the case.

Q. Did the weather affect you one way or the other out there?
SCOTT HOCH: Must have helped me. You know what, I don't enjoy playing in the rain. But the thing is, if I'm playing good, then you just bear down. But it's a lot easier to be distracted if you're not playing well when it rains. I think that applies to a lot of guys. If it really comes down, like it might tomorrow, yeah, it's going to affect me. I'm not a long hitter. So that would affect me.
I thought the course played long today. I hit 4- and 5-irons to many of the holes today. I hit some good shots. What that rain does, too, when that rough gets wet, it really makes it tough. It's imperative I hit the ball in the fairway, especially when the ball's in your hand.

Q. Get between the grooves in the ball?
SCOTT HOCH: No, it's just so thick, you can't get through it. It's pretty good rough anyway for us. It's decent rough. When it gets wet, then it gets really thick. If you get in a lie where the grass is lying against you, then you really have a tough time.
I only had 140 yards to the front of the green on No. 9. I hit it as hard as I could out of there, and I hit about 138. I mean, it just makes it very tough even if the ball doesn't sit down that much. It just makes the grass really thick. The grass is between your ball and the club.

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