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December 13, 2008
JOHN BUSH: We'd like to welcome our leaders into the interview room here at the Merrill Lynch Shootout, 19-under par, 125, Scott Hoch and Kenny Perry.
Scott, we'll begin with you. Fantastic day, 12-under, 60. Get some general comments.
SCOTT HOCH: Man, I'll tell you what, I don't think I've ridden a horse that hard in a long time and he just kept on galloping.
It's fun to watch Kenny play right now. He's really playing well. I just feel fortunate enough to help him on a few holes. There was one other hole I wish I would have when he was out of it, but I didn't come through on that one. He's just playing great.
JOHN BUSH: Kenny, fantastic playing. Figured out what you have you would have shot today on your own ball?
KENNY PERRY: I think I made eight birdies on an eagle, so I don't know. Don't matter. I mean, it's definitely a team deal. Scott held me in there the holes I was out of, so we team up great. That's what it's all about.
I told him, I said, If I have to drag him across the finish line I will. That wrist, I don't know how bad that wrist is. I don't know how -- you know, if we can just keep doing what we're doing and keep hit good balls and drives and having good putts, we'll do all right tomorrow.
JOHN BUSH: Should be fun and Boo and J.B. playing along with you.
KENNY PERRY: Yeah, they're my pod mates from the Ryder Cup. It was J.B. and Boo and me and Jim Furyk. So, yeah, I've been playing a lot with J.B.
Boo has his own vocabulary, that's for sure. We adopted him in Kentucky. That was a neat week. So I got to know Boo a little bit that week, and J.B. I have been playing a lot of practice rounds together the last few couple so I've gotten to know them, he and Sara, his wife. We're real good friends.
He hits it 50 by me. It's definitely a show watching that kid play. I was very proud of him how he played in the Ryder Cup, and I think all of Kentucky was proud of him.
SCOTT HOCH: We are very compatible, what is it?
KENNY PERRY: Compatibate (sic). Yeah, that's a Boo-ism. Yeah, it was -- they're great kids, so we'll have a good time tomorrow.
JOHN BUSH: All right, questions.
Q. Kenny, you've won this tournament before. How do you approach tomorrow? I mean, you do have a big lead.
KENNY PERRY: Well, I don't think the lead is ever safe enough in this format, the scramble format. It's really not.
We just need to keep going and keep shooting low. We need to somehow shoot, you know, way under par tomorrow. If we play our own game they can't catch up. It's up to us.
SCOTT HOCH: Just go as deep as early as we can. If we start out good it'll make it tough; if not, it'll be a tournament.
But we just have to go out there, and like I said, first few holes were tough. They had the tees up, and it's still tough to get ball close. If ever we're not hitting it close, we have to make some putts.
Q. What about the weather? It's supposed to clear up a little bit tomorrow. I don't know about the wind, but probably not be as bad.
KENNY PERRY: That northwest wind is tough out here on this golf course. The staff has done a great job setting the golf course up. I've heard a lit of guys complaining it's a senior tee setup with all the tees way up and stuff. I've enjoyed it.
I haven't felt so stressed out and so claustrophobic being stuck way back in the chutes and a lot of pressure on our tee balls. Tomorrow is a scramble. Scott hits it down the middle, let me get a rip at it, we're going to get in position and go get 'em.
Q. Scott, how is the wrist? Is that affecting you?
SCOTT HOCH: It seems to be doing decent. Yeah, last couple days is decent. I'm still not able to hit all the shots I way I want to. I'm doing what I can. Every now and then I'm hitting some good shots and making a couple putts.
Tomorrow, it'll be much easier when I'm hitting shorter shots to the greens from his tee ball. So, you know, I think I can be more accurate with the shorter shots, so it should be good.
Tomorrow will be the easiest format for me, I think, just the fact that I don't have to worry too much about the tee ball. I didn't even hit a tee ball. I said, You go ahead and hit it, and if you hit it off line, then I'll hit one.
KENNY PERRY: Yeah, he just walked. He just went out to the fairway. It was funny.
SCOTT HOCH: That way I can last longer.
Q. You guys actually had a good shot of winning this together in, I think it was '03 you had a lead going the final round.
KENNY PERRY: That's when we got a two-stroke penalty in the scramble format.
SCOTT HOCH: I was a pre-senior, but I was already thinking like a senior.
KENNY PERRY: He called it a senior moment.
SCOTT HOCH: Yeah, we hadn't finished the hole, but we still putted. Were already out of the tournament then.
KENNY PERRY: Yeah, it was funny. I don't know, we finished top 5, so it was --
SCOTT HOCH: I think we finished third. You eagled 17, like you always do. I keep reminding you, and you keep eagling 17.
KENNY PERRY: Well, I don't exactly remember. I know one of us putted it down there, we had about a foot putt, you know, and the next thing I know, one of us is putting it down -- we started practice putting on the green before we putted out, so two-stroke penalty.
SCOTT HOCH: My caddie and I remember one way, and his caddie and him remember another way. I don't know who was at fault.
But you know what? Neither one of us caught the other one, so we were both at fault.
Q. You said you were out of the tournament at that point. Whatever went wrong, is that something that you have to guard against?
KENNY PERRY: I mean, I actually think we played okay that day, I just think the other guys played better. I think we shot pretty low, it's just, you know, the winning team just went crazy low that day.
Q. You guys are probably the last two guys to be intimidated by playing with Boo Weekley and J.B. Holmes. Will there be any watching or...
KENNY PERRY: It'll be fun. Actually, you know, if we get out there and hit the first shots and keep putting them in there close -- because they're going to be hitting last no matter what. They'll be way out ahead of us.
If we can keep firing our irons in there close to -- you know, we'll put a lot of pressure on 'em. Personally, I've always liked hitting first in that situation.
Q. So that strategy could work to your advantage.
SCOTT HOCH: Well, it's going to have to be our strategy --
KENNY PERRY: Exactly.
SCOTT HOCH: -- except on the first hole. I'm going to pump it by them and really get to 'em, get in their minds on the first hole. (Laughter) I mean, aim it down the cart path and hope it hits about three times. Knock it by 'em, and then we'll have 'em for the rest of the day.
JOHN BUSH: You are going to drive on the first hole?
SCOTT HOCH: Oh, yeah. You need to. It's not a very easy driving hole.
KENNY PERRY: No.
Q. A member of the Champions Tour has never won this event. Are you ready to change that? A current member.
KENNY PERRY: Oh, great.
SCOTT HOCH: Great.
KENNY PERRY: I had a few records this year. I'd like to set another one.
SCOTT HOCH: Fred Funk already told me, because he's my partner on the senior tour, he asked me earlier this year. I said, Hey, when Kenny comes out are you going to dump me? He said, I don't know. We'll have to see.
I might have to qualify to be his partner by the time he gets out there. So many people will be wanting to be his partner as soon as he gets out there on the Legends.
Q. Where is your confidence level at right now, Kenny? You seem as relaxed, and cool as the northern breeze today.
KENNY PERRY: I just came from Africa last week, and I finished second at the Nedbank. Henrik beat me pretty bad. But, you know, when I kind of get a few weeks under my belt, I've had a magical year. I played great all year.
SCOTT HOCH: I haven't seen him play and putt this well. It's great. He's got it going right now.
KENNY PERRY: I haven't changed equipment. I've used the same stuff all year. I pretty much know what I'm trying to do with the golf ball. I'm just pretty much trying to stay within myself.
You know, all my strategy has worked this year. What I've tried to put myself to do, I made to happen. When I set my goal to make the Ryder Cup team and was able to win three times and get on that team. Played great at the Ryder Cup and played great last week in South Africa. I'm trying to get over the jetlag, but physically I felt great today. I didn't feel tired. I had a good night's sleep last night. Hopefully I can have another one tonight so we can come out tomorrow and go low.
Q. How did you make that eagle on 17? What did you hit?
BOO WEEKLEY: I hit a 5-iron, driver 5-iron to, I don't know, eight, ten feet.
SCOTT HOCH: See, I was in position, so that just made it so much easier for him. I was behind a bush, so that just made it so much easier for him.
Q. 18 what did you do?
KENNY PERRY: Sand wedge. That hole -- fairways have been -- kind of the ball's been collecting mud and not been running out. That -- it ran out on that hole today and almost went into the water. But it was perfect. I had 115 yards. I hit my little gap wedge and just a normal stock shot and got in in 12, 15 feet and I was able to get it in.
JOHN BUSH: All right, guys, tomorrow should be fun.
End of FastScripts