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September 1, 2011

Charley Hoffman


MARK STEVENS: I'd like to welcome back defending champion Charley Hoffman. Charley, if you want to kind of talk about your thoughts coming back into this week, and if you've played the course, maybe talk a little bit about the course and we'll take some questions.
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Obviously good feeling coming back to Boston. Last time I left the media center I was pretty happy. So I got here Saturday early and stayed downtown, then came out to the golf course on Tuesday, played nine, and remarkable how good a shape it was with obviously the hurricane that went through here, the tropical storm. I played 18 yesterday, and the course is in as good shape as it's ever been, and it's nice to see the superintendent cleaned everything up after all the wind and rain that came through here.

Q. We're doing some coverage on 11 and 16 this week for pgatour.com. Can you talk about how you play those holes?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Yeah, 11th hole, long par-3, I think pretty much anybody in the field is just trying to make 3 and get out of there. Hit the center of the green. Tough bunker in front; if you hit it short most likely it's going to plug in there and you're going to have a hard time saving par. I mean, it's fairly small green for how long it is. I'm trying to hit anything in the center of the green and hopefully have a 15-, 20-footer for birdie and get out of there with a 3.
16 on the other hand is a little different. The pin placement is on the left-hand side can get a little tricky. You can get over-aggressive and obviously hit it in the water. But at the same time it gives you an opportunity to try and make a birdie. You're only usually having about 7-, 8-, 9-iron into that hole. You can be aggressive or you can sort of bail out to the center of the green and take your chances making a little bit longer putt and put it on the green.
I like the 16th hole a little better because there's a little more opportunity to make a birdie.

Q. Going back to last year, can you talk about the final round 62, 11 birdies? Do you feel like you've ever had a better round than that? It's hard to imagine.
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: I definitely have never had a better round than that, especially under the circumstances, Playoffs, sort of the spot I was in. I really didn't have anywhere to go besides up. Going into Sunday I was playing good, but I can't say I saw a 62 happening when I was warming up early in the week.
But once you get the putter going, a lot of things can happen. You make 15-, 20-footers for birdie, and just sort of the momentum kept going. Got a few good breaks holing a bunker shot, and it just seemed like everything came together in one day, and I couldn't have picked a better day for it to come together in Boston. My instructor Sean is from here, and he grew up here. His dad grew up as a pro at The Country Club, and it meant a lot to him and me to be able to win in his hometown. Actually it was kind of funny that my two wins -- after The Country Club his dad went to Palm Springs, and I won in Palm Springs, so maybe he needs to move around the country a little bit more.

Q. I was going to follow up. From that point on can you talk about what's happened this year and where you feel like your game is right now? I think you had some health problems at some point?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Yeah, early in the year on the West Coast I usually get off to a decent start, and I struggled early; wasn't in rhythm, didn't have anything going. San Diego, obviously I call that -- so-called fifth major for me, growing up there, watching everybody play Torrey Pines, always a good field, always a good course. Didn't play well there, didn't really play well at the Hope, and sort of stumbled on the West Coast where I usually get some good momentum.
Then started to play pretty well in the middle of the year. Masters I felt like I played all right; didn't get a lot out of my rounds. Then went to San Antonio and finished second there and then sort of tapered off after that, nothing great. And then I made a run on Sunday at THE PLAYERS, which I really like that golf course, and 17 jumped up and got me on Sunday there unfortunately.
But a little slow, and then in the middle of the year after the British Open I took some time off and went on vacation, acquired some sort of bug or parasite, and that took me a few weeks to get over. Unfortunately it was during some big tournaments, World Golf Championships in Akron and then the PGA, so didn't play that well at those two events.
And then felt healthy going into last week and played good last week, and I'll hopefully keep the momentum from last year and play good here.

Q. Is that kind of how you're approaching this, just to salvage the season right here with a big showing in Boston?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Yeah, I wouldn't say it's over. You can make a season. I would say last year I was hurt for a long time with a wrist injury, so I felt like I was doing all right, but I came into this event feeling good, sort of like I feel now. I feel like I'm feeling some confidence.
Fortunately enough the last two years have been during the Playoff run. I know golf is notorious -- you get on a good streak for about a month and that's usually where you make your money. Hopefully I make a trend of making all my money during the Playoffs and obviously good events that can make a year. You play good this week and you play good next week, and all of a sudden no one talks about the first six months of the year.
Hopefully I can say I had a great year just like last year, walk away with a W somewhere in the Playoffs.

Q. You've been working on your putter. You weren't happy with the way you were putting for most of this year, correct?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Really unhappy. Usually putting is one of my stronger stats. I'm sure everybody saw the putter that went in two at THE PLAYERS Championship. But it's been a weird year. I've been working on a lot of things, been practicing and just nothing has clicked, and then last week I went home and sort of went back to basics, just tried to work on setup and getting in athletic position. I went and saw my college coach, Dwaine Knight, and we just sort of went back to not thinking about it -- as easy as it sounds, don't really think about anything; think about making the putt, get in athletic setup, make the stroke and then make the putt.
Last week I obviously made some putts. Obviously I wish I would have made a few more.
But this week I'm back to the basics. I've been working with a wobble board I made at my house, just stay in athletic position, don't think about anything dealing with the stroke, just be, I guess, stable in your setup and stroke it. It's been working.

Q. On Tuesday in the putting practice you were standing on a board. Is that something that you've developed just recently, or can you explain a little bit on that, please?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: No, I've had this wobble board for a while. That one I have is one I actually made. But I hurt my ankle probably like three or four years ago, and I did some exercises on the wobble board just to gain balance back in the ankle, and then I have sort of a small we'll say a ten-foot artificial turf putting green at my house, and the thing is set flush right on that, and I started hitting some putts on this, and I go, wow, this gets me in position that I like.
I putted great right after I was doing that, and then last year I used it when I was hurt with my wrist, and then this year I sort of got away from it. I just never used it. I don't usually travel with it. I usually when I go home jump on it or something.
This year I happened to never get back on it, and I sort of got off my groove. I actually brought it on the road. I rarely bring it on the road because I usually feel pretty good on the weeks off that I practice at home with it. I'm in good position. But I felt this was a good time to bring it on the road and make sure I was in the right spot for the Playoffs, and I think we're definitely back on the right track.
But it is something I just came up with and developed myself. It wasn't some putting instructor that told me what to do or whatever. I just felt like it put me in the spot I wanted to be, in athletic position, really, nothing more than that. It's pretty simple.

Q. How big is the wobble board?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: You know, it's wide enough to fit my feet on it and long enough to take a stance. I didn't do any measurements or anything like that. I actually went to Home Depot, sort of got a piece of plywood, looked at my feet, made it that long and took a stance and made it that wide. It's pretty simple. It's got like a little stick underneath it that was supposed to hold up a sign or something that you put in your yard. I mean, it's a pretty simple thing.
The wobble board I had at my house to do my ankle stuff wasn't really wide enough to take a stance. It helped, but I just made my own just sort of to fit my stance.

Q. Do you have to check it into the airplane?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Fortunately enough they put it through in my travel bag. It barely fit. I had to pay some overweight fees obviously on that one. And then Hulka, which transfers a lot of us golfers' stuff around week to week, it's in his trailer from now on.

Q. Are you going to patent it?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: I'm scared of the hazards of falling off of it and maybe breaking a wrist, maybe worse than the gains if I ever did sell any. So I don't think I'm going to patent it. I think the wobble board is already patented. There's not much more to do with that.

Q. You touched on this earlier. Heath Slocum a couple years ago at the Barclays made a huge move; you last year made a huge move. Talk about how in these Playoffs, one win you shoot right up there, and what's kind of the mindset going forward this week to the next week from dropping from 100 to 70?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Well, obviously every tournament you start in, I'm pretty sure all 100 players here want to win the golf tournament. But I think everybody is real aware if you win the golf tournament you have a really good chance of winning $10 million and winning the FedExCup. I mean, everybody is aware of it. Everybody is trying to win. Everybody knows if they have a top 5 they're going to be pretty much guaranteed in the TOUR Championship. I mean, I don't know the exact numbers, but if you get a top 5 in one of these three events, I'm pretty sure you're guaranteed in the TOUR Championship, which means guaranteed into all the majors. But obviously that's the flip side of it. There's guys that were in the top 30. You look at Nick Watney -- I don't know if I'd say it's a perfect system. The guy has had a great year and finished top 10 last week and all of a sudden I think he's third. Is that fair? I mean, I don't know if that's really fair. I consider a top 10 on the PGA TOUR a pretty darned good week, and for him to lose a couple spots is pretty harsh.
So there's obviously a flip side of that, and we sort of all know what's going to happen now because the points have been the same the last couple years. Still, a little confused with everything that's going on, but I think everybody knows if you play good, you're going to be rewarded, and if you don't, you aren't.
MARK STEVENS: Thanks a lot, Charley, good luck this week.

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