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April 20, 2013

Charley Hoffman


DOUG MILNE:  We'd like to welcome Charley Hoffman into the interview room at the RBC Heritage, 5‑under, 66 today in Round 3.  Puts you in prime position heading into the final round tomorrow.  Just some comments on the day and then we'll take a few questions.
CHARLEY HOFFMAN:  Putted great today, obviously.  If you look at any of the stats.  I hit the ball very average.  Didn't hit that many fairways or that many greens, but when I was on the greens, I made the putts.  I got a few good breaks on the drives that were sort of headed into the trees and bounced out into playable spots.
All in all pretty frustrating ball‑striking day, but the ball ended up in spots where I could chip and play from it, and I got a lot of shots up and down.  I guess I strategically was playing away at the end of the round, I guess, because I knew I wasn't striking it that well.  I was trying to get the ball in the house.  Did a great job.  Feel good about that.  Obviously have a little bit of work to do tomorrow and this evening to get the ball‑striking back where it should be.

Q.  Must be very gratifying to have a round that you don't think was your best ball‑striking round and yet be leading the tournament?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN:  Yeah, it was definitely the best playing round I've had in a long time, probably since Boston, back when I won that event.  It's nice to see the ball go in the hole.  Hopefully you'll be able to chip it a little closer.  Made the putts you needed to make from six to ten feet, to keep the round going.  And it was nice to see the ball go in the hole and hopefully one more day it keeps going in.

Q.  The four birdies I think in the first six holes, obviously three guys tied for the lead, not a lot of separation from top and bottom, how important was it to get off to that start?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN:  You know, I really didn't think about thinking about getting off to a fast start.  Obviously 6‑under was leading and 2‑over was the cut, and there was 90 guys in between.  You could go out and shoot a low number and be right in contention.  I made a long putt on the first hole for birdie.  Got lucky on 2, ball bounced up and made a birdie there.
I was off and running.  Played the par‑5, made a good birdie on 4, and then made a nice birdie on 5, and then sort of hit the ball, hit a lot of good shots early that didn't turn out.  And I hit some bad ones, but I was able to make those putts to keep the round going.  Obviously you try to get off to a good start, but out here it's one shot at a time, you've got to hit the right side of the fairway, hit the right side of the green, then you've got to try to make the putts.
I guess I was just focused, going forward it's one shot at a time, but I try to plot my way around this golf course, and I'm always aiming for the fairway, but I'm aiming for certain sides of the fairways and certain sides of the greens and give myself opportunities.  I know birdies are few and far between out here.  I'm trying to give myself the best chance to make pars and have an outside chance to make birdie.

Q.  Your body language on 14 and 15 indicated you weren't very happy with your shots, but you came back with par at 14 and birdie at 15, how did you feel after that?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN:  Yes, 14 is one of the hardest par‑3s you'll ever play.  Pin up front and if you're not striking it well, and if you hit it short, you're in the water.  I tugged that one a little bit, and didn't really miss my spot by a ton.  I hit some practice shots over there during the practice rounds, so I knew I was in for.
And the par‑5 is just an easy little cut wedge, and I yanked it.  I was looking to make birdie there.  The wedge game has been good, and now I'm trying to two‑putt and it goes in.  It was definitely I nice little bounce there to keep the round going and make birdie there.  When you're trying to two‑putt and get par and get out of there.

Q.  The wind is supposed to blow 20, 30 miles an hour, any change in your approach going into tomorrow compared to today?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN:  Maybe the wind will blow my ball closer to the hole (laughter).
No, I won at the Bob Hope probably six years ago and it was blowing 30 or 40.  I live in Vegas, it blows out there.  I like the wind.  I'd rather have the wind blow than not blow.  I'm usually a good ball‑striker, I usually hit the ball solid and control it better in the wind.  I say bring on the wind.  You never know, sometimes the forecasters aren't always right.  So I don't ever really anticipate for the wind or not the wind.  But I'll go out there and play it as it comes.

Q.  In the past Harbour Town did it not fit your schedule after what you've done the last couple of years?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN:  No, the first two years I came out here, heard a ton of good things about it.  I would say I wasn't mature enough to play this golf course.  I didn't understand how to play it.  I guess I would get frustrated when I hit the fairway and didn't have a shot at the green.
Through the years then I took it off because I didn't think it fit my game.  I always wondered why good drivers of the golf ball won, because I didn't think it fit good drivers of the golf ball.  Once you learn what side of the fairway you need to hit or the green you need to hit, you have a good advantage being a good driver of the golf ball.  So I learned that this golf course would be good for me.  Sort of agent talked me into playing this past year, and finished sort of back door to the top 10.  And then obviously the good vibes coming this week.
I haven't won a golf tournament yet, but I'm putting myself in position.  I'm getting good breaks and making putts, and that's pretty much what it takes to win golf tournaments.  And hopefully I can control my breaks a little better tomorrow and hit the ball a little better and have a chance to win coming down 18.
DOUG MILNE:  Charley, best of luck tomorrow.  We appreciate your time.

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