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December 12, 2008

Scott Hoch

Kenny Perry


JOHN BUSH: We'd like to welcome Scott Hoch and Kenny Perry into the interview room here at the Merrill Lynch Shootout at 7-under par 65, and just one shot off the lead right now. We'll start with Scott. Scott, just get some general comments on the day.
SCOTT HOCH: I started off slow. I didn't do much early. Actually, I was a detriment early. We just tried to play out of my mistakes, and we did. We were a couple under at the turn. Probably about where we should have been. We didn't hit many close, and when we did, we made it.
And then I started hitting some better shots and getting it close enough where he made some good putts. That was the key. The front nine didn't really hit them close enough. I mean, if you depend on 15-footers in something like this you're not going salute very well.
Then he started make a good bit from six to ten feet, and that's how you get low. Start making those putts for birdie. He saved me on the last hole. He didn't hit a very good shot to the green, and I hit an even worse putt, and then he made a great second putt for a par. That would have been really demoralizing if we bogeyed the last hole.
That was worth at least two shots, him making that putt on the last hole.
JOHN BUSH: All right. Kenny, you've had success here in the past. You won in 2005, so obviously a format you love. Talk about the opening round today.
KENNY PERRY: I was tickled with it. Any time I think you can shoot -- I told Scott 7-under was it my head. That was my goal today. Alternate shot, to me, is my best game. I love it in Ryder Cup, President's Cup, whatever. It's the funnest game to me. I always seem to play well at alternate shot.
I thought we did beautifully. We were never in trouble. Even though we weren't tearing it up out there, we were only a couple under on the front nine. All our par putts were real close. We were never sweating or in danger of making a bogey until the last hole.
It was a very easy and very relaxing round. I think in alternate shot you can kind of get it on the downhill slide. You can look at the scoreboard, and there's a lot of teams at 1-, 2-, 3-under out there that are struggling out there. They're having some problems. We never hit that.
SCOTT HOCH: It's tough to get the ball this close when the wind is blowing this hard.
KENNY PERRY: So I'm ecstatic. This tournament you win or lose based on the first round. Alternate shot first round, you come out of here shooting even or one or two under, and when you get to the best ball in the scramble it's hard to catch up. You have to somehow shoot 6-under or more the first day to have a chance to win this golf tournament. That's all we're after, just to have a shot at it.
JOHN BUSH: All right. Questions?

Q. How is the wind out there today?
KENNY PERRY: I felt like it was in our face on every hole. I mean, it was never behind us once. A complete downwind. It was either a little right to left and down or left to right and down. Most of the time it felt like it was in our face. I was always having to try to hit a knock-down shot.
But they set course up very fair today. I give the staff props on how they set -- they pushed the tees up on just about every hole. If they hadn't have done that, the golf course would have been a monster today.
SCOTT HOCH: Yeah, even the holes going this way into the wind, and then you would turn and start going the other way, and all of a sudden you still seemed to be going against the wind again. I mean, against the wind both times. It was crazy.

Q. Talk about Nick and Jeff and the round they had. Did that help you guys out? They're just sitting right back there. What was it like playing with those two?
KENNY PERRY: They made it look very easy.
SCOTT HOCH: Actually, we were easy and they were lucky. (Laughter.)
KENNY PERRY: You know what, they were always in play and position and always having putts at it. They made it look awfully easy today. They didn't struggle on a hole. Like I said before, that is the key to alternate shot. You don't need to make bogeys and put a lot of pressure on your partner. They made it look awfully easy today.
SCOTT HOCH: Nick made a lot of good putts out there, a lot of good ones. Yours were short. (Laughter) Nick was making them 20, 25 feet. All yours were little short tap-ins that he knocked close.
JOHN BUSH: Anything else for these guys? Scott, Kenny, short and sweet. Thanks for coming by.

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