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January 16, 2014

Charley Hoffman


Q.  Talk to me about how your round was out there?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN:  Played pretty solid.  Made some good key par putts early.  Made some birdies, got the ‑‑ I putted pretty good, made the putts I needed to make.  And on the back nine I got it going with a birdie on so and an eagle on 11 and made a couple good par putts coming down the stretch.  I hit it in the water on 18 and was able to get it up‑and‑down made a good 20‑footer for par on the last hole, which was nice.

Q.  Great.  Started out a little slow if you can say four pars are slow for around.  Do you get a little nervous at that round or do you feel a little pressure to start making birdies?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN:  No, I hit it close on 1 and just missed.  And then 2 and 3 are great holes, 4's a decent hole, and you know you got 5 and 6, and a few par‑5s coming up.  So, obviously, if I didn't birdie 5 or 6 I might have gotten a little impatient, but birdies on 5 and 6, that got me going.
Pretty much I coasted and am happy with the first round of 2014, that's for sure.

Q.  Is this style of golf course or tournament, if you will, where you have to go low and generally low scores are going to win this, fit your game, do you feel a little more comfortable playing here?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN:  Obviously I feel somewhat comfortable, I've won out here.  I embraced playing with two amateurs.  The majority of guys are great guys.  Sort of takes your mind off golf which is always nice.  You're out there for close to six guys so if you have a good guy you're playing with, just talk to him and hang out, actually makes it a lot easier, you don't have to worry about pars or birdies or bogeys.  So I embraced that and have had a little bit of success out here.

Q.  Three rounds to go, just try to keep your foot to the floor, so to speak?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN:  Yeah, like I said before, this is a big putting contest out here when it's said and done.  I putted good and if I keep the putter going I know I'll have a chance to win coming down Sunday.

Q.  Nice save on the last.  What did you do on the drive?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN:  I‑‑ we had the wind dead into us and walking down the fairway it was more across.  When it was said and done, pulled the wrong club off the tee.  I had 3‑wood, I had around 250 to the water and 3‑wood into the wind is not getting 250.  Misjudged the wind, it was sort of swirling out there, it wasn't blowing hard, but just misjudged it and pulled it a little bit more.  I mean I pulled it more than I thought.  And just a little miscalculation, but got away with it.

Q.  You took a lot of time to look at that, the next shot and then obviously the putt.  Were you kind of thinking about that, were you trying to be patient on that?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN:  Oh, yeah, for sure.  To be honest with you, I was just trying to get it up there and have a putt for par.  I've been out here long enough to where if you try to force that shot in there and try to make a par the next thing you know you're fanning it in a bunker and you end up making double.
So, I was just trying to hit pretty much where I aimed where I was at, have a 15, 20‑footer for par and I couldn't be happier not making a bogey out there today.

Q.  And was that putt kind of the result of other putts today as far as confidence?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN:  Yeah, I putted great.  I made all the putts I needed to make.  And for me that's nice.  If I make putts, I'm going to shoot a few under par.

Q.  Tell us about the eagle.  How did that go?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN:  Hit a good drive down 11, right in the center of the fairway, and then I hit a hybrid in there to about probably 35 feet, made a good putt and the ball hung up on the tier, or hung up on the tier behind the hole and it just happened to go in.  Sort of got that, that's sort of what got the putter really going.

Q.  What is it about being a defending champ here because a couple of guys that came out here have put up great scores.
CHARLEY HOFFMAN:  Past champ, not defending champ.

Q.  Past champ.  My apologies.  A couple past champions came out and put up a good number today.  You put up a good number today.  Is it something you're familiar with the courses, you're comfortable?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN:  I think it fits, you can get away with some loose shots out there ‑‑ I hit it pretty good today, but knowing that there's not a ton of pressure on ball striking and knowing that these greens are so good, especially at La Quinta are so good, that if you start the ball where you're looking it's going to go in.
But I thought today I was patient and hopefully I can keep it going.  There wasn't a lot of stress out there besides really the last hole.  So, obviously, tomorrow's a new day and I got to keep it going out here and it's‑‑ this is definitely got to keep the pedal to the metal.  You can't let up after around like this.

Q.  You were a popular champion here and everybody remembers when you won and the long flowing hair.  Are people still recognizing you?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN:  I get a couple looks and they see the golf bag and then they, they sort of do that do a double take.  Which is nice.  Don't get me wrong, I like to be noticed, but it's nice to go to dinner a few places and not have anybody come up to me and hang out with the family.  So it's a good change.  Hopefully they can start recognizing me for my good golf instead of just my hair.

Q.  Was it more in the wind, the whole hair.  I remember the fairways photos and all that.  But how much have you thought about it changing it?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN:  I thought about it, I mean it was getting a little frustrating.  Crusty.  I don't think that's the right word, but frizzy.  I thought about it for awhile.  And it had sort of snowball affect that my daughter needed haircut and I needed a haircut, so we sort of went in there together.

Q.  Did it make you nervous to do it?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN:  No, I was extremely excited to do it.  My wife I think was the one that was a little nervous more nervous about it.  But no, I was ready for the change.

Q.  La Quinta, how has it been to you in the past?  Is this a place you really look forward to or in the rotation, how has this course been for you?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN:  I've played it good and I've played it very below average.  I love this golf course.  I think this is probably one of the better tracks we play all year when it's said and done.  I like the tree lines, I like the greens, the greens are good, and there's just the golf course fits your eye great and it fits my eye great.  So it's a place I look forward to playing.  Now if I play good there, it's a different story, but I enjoy playing this golf course.

Q.  To make the par on the last, how good is that?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN:  Huge.  Obviously I would have shot hopefully 7‑under if I don't 3‑putt or whatever, but which would have been a great round.  But to go through around out here, first round of the year, no bogeys, and sort of hang in there, I mean it means a lot.  I take a lot with that to tomorrow and the next three days.

Q.  When did you get the haircut?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN:  August, right before the first playoff event.  I think end of August, right?

Q.  The no Sampson affect?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN:  No, no, it didn't.

Q.  They asked you about playing with amateurs and you talked about playing with amateurs.  Do you miss the see will be tee aspect of it at all?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN:  I enjoyed it while I was in it and I met some good people.  Now, is it sometimes a distraction?  Yes.  Is it part of this I could say history of this tournament, 100 percent.  I sort of miss it.  Now, I wish they were here, do I wish I was involved in it all the time?  Probably not.  So I mean I think that I wish ‑‑

Q.  Because you were involved with this?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN:  I played the celebrity week every week until probably last year.  And the see will be tease have, I would say, are few and far between now.  I think that this tournament used to get a lot of people and it used to be fun to play with them, but it almost the golf got lost in it a little bit.  But I miss it but I'm glad I'm not part of it.  I don't know if that answers your question.

Q.  Because there was a certain air about it that had nothing to do with whether you were playing with somebody, but there was that tradition obviously that Bob Hope started.  When you won, who did you play with then?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN:  I was, I didn't play with any like I was in the wave of the golf course but actually my rookie year or second year I didn't play with any of the celebrities, so I was in the same wave, but I, because there wasn't, I mean obviously not everybody gets to play with a celebrity.  But after I won I played with a ton of big names.  I played with Lopez, Luke Wilson, you name it, I pretty much played with them all.  I mean which was fun.  It was, I got to meet a bunch of great people that I would never ever be able to meet unless I pretty much won out here.

Q.  How much of a difference was it out here in terms of pace of play.  A couple guys said that there's not like a three or four groups ahead of them so they were able to get through it?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN:  Yeah, that's nice.  But we still took two hours and 45 minutes to play the front nine.  So to say we played fast isn't, is not even anything close to that.  It's nice, I mean it's, well it's nice to be able to play with another pro, because you can sort of ‑‑ Aaron got off to a decent start.  He's a great putter.  Some people get frustrated when you play with a great putter.  I like it.  When you see the ball go in the hole, it's great for me.  So I think that watching Aaron make a bunch of putts is always going to help my game.  So I really like this format with two pros and two amateurs, because there's not too much going on with the amateurs, and you sort of got another pro on the other side to play with, so it's good.

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