Scott Hoch Press Conference Transcript

By Golf Channel NewsroomMarch 24, 2001, 5:00 pm
Q. Happy?
SCOTT HOCH: No. But then that's a relative term. Happier than most of the guys here. I was talking about it being a little ugly the other two days, and everybody was saying, 'Oh, how can you be ugly and do that?' Well, if anybody saw me today, they would know what 'ugly' was on the golf course. I'm just hitting bad drives -- I'm just lucky I made enough good shots to keep it in there, and recovering well. But a lot of times, you hit it in the stuff that you can't recover.
Q. Perfect example, it looks like you were disappearing, and all of the sudden you make eagle and you're right back there.
SCOTT HOCH: Well, with TV they always have me disappearing, so that's nothing new. (Laughter.) I'm like fourth or fifth of the worst-ever guys, and like you say, I'm disappearing. That's TV. Thank you very much, TV. And if it was CBS, it would be even worse. They might not show me at all.
Q. So you're a better man.
SCOTT HOCH: I just think it's funny. You're the one who brought it up.
Q. (Inaudible)?
SCOTT HOCH: Yeah, I am. I can go through spells like this. I tell you, I really drove it and hit it well last week. My stats were good last week. And then I putted like a moron. And then I get to where I actually feel that I'm putting pretty good and making some putts, even on this course, which is difficult, and just not driving it good. And I think it all goes back to Tuesday and Wednesday, playing in all that wind. Actually, I played less than I normally do, because if I play in a lot of wind, it doesn't do well for my score. If I'm playing in a tournament, then it is okay. But if I'm playing in a practice round, it just messes me up. And I think it's -- you know, hopefully I can attribute that to some of what I'm doing. But also, I have a new swing going that I just instituted last week. Not so much a new swing, but just trying to shorten it. And I tried being short with my driver today, and then I tried hitting it hard. You know, different things that I can try. And one of those things usually work, and right now, it's not. Half of them are coming off, and half of them are not. It's kind of tough when you don't know whether it is going to go left or right. It's not a good course to have to be straight.
Q. And you don't want to be messing with your swing in the middle of a round.
SCOTT HOCH: Luckily, I missed enough shots in the fairway bunkers and stuff like that where it is easier to recover than it is from the rough. I actually had a decent shot on 16. I hit it just left, just left of the green on 16, because I had a 4-wood in there. And I thought the wind was coming across, and I hit it a little left, and I just stayed there. And I saw it hit and bounce. And when I finally found it, they kept telling us where it was, standing all over it, it was absolutely the worst lie I had seen in my life. That goes back to a lot of bad lies. You could stand over it and not see it. Matter of fact, I had to put a tee down just so I would not go back and re-step on it -- not re-step on it; otherwise they might fine me. But step on it for the first time. But you hit some poor shots, they are going to end up bad; and you hit some good shots, they are not going to end up too good, either. That's just the way this course is.
Q. What are your chances of winning on Sunday?
SCOTT HOCH: Well, I'm going over to the range, which is something that's rather foreign for me after a round. I brought a couple other drivers, so I'm just going to try that. Actually, I did try -- I did start using another driver last week, along with my new swing -- or different swing, and so I'm going to go see if it's something there that I could find. But problem is, I can get on the range this morning and hit it pretty good, and it is not transferring out into the final groups.
Q. Do you prefer to scoreboard watch or just play your game?
SCOTT HOCH: I'm really playing my game. I'm aware of where I am or close to where I am. I didn't know that I had dropped off, like somebody mentioned earlier, but I knew I was in pretty good shape. And I can't control what the other guys do. You know, the first five or six holes played kind of difficult. I'm looking up there and they are 3-under, and I'm thinking they are playing from different tees, at least from the fairway. But then again, if you start hitting bad shots, it's going to start catching up with you, and I guess it did to a number of people today.
Q. (Inaudible.)
SCOTT HOCH: You heard last night on the Golf Channel and other places that nobody else has won -- this being their first tournament. So they've already ruled him out, but I'm not sure you can do that quite so quick. You know, he's the kind of guy that's pretty fearless, and he just goes out there -- I mean, he seems really loose and everything else. And he might very well be that way when he gets out there tomorrow. But, we'll see. Who is he playing with? Tiger? I tell you what, if he wins his first tournament, and it's here and he's playing with Tiger, my hat is off to him, he deserves it and that would be great. A lot of people can still win this tournament, though, and hopefully I'm still one of them.
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Match Play security tightens after Austin bombings

By Rex HoggardMarch 19, 2018, 8:06 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – A fourth bombing this month in Austin injured two men Sunday night and authorities believe the attacks are the work of a serial bomber.

The bombings have led to what appears to be stepped-up security at this week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin Country Club.

“I was out here [Sunday]; typically that's the most relaxed day. But they had security officials on every corner of the clubhouse and on the exterior, as well,” said Dylan Frittelli, who lives in Austin and is playing the Match Play for the first time this week. “It was pretty tough to get through all the protocols. I'm sure they'll have stuff in place.”

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The PGA Tour told The Associated Press on Monday that it doesn't comment on the specifics of its security measures, but that the safety of players and fans is its top priority. The circuit is also coordinating closely with law enforcement to ensure the safety of players and fans.

Despite the bombings, which have killed two people and injured two others, the Tour has not yet reached out to players to warn of any potential threat or advise the field about increased security.

“It’s strange,” Paul Casey said. “Maybe they are going to, but they haven’t.”

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Rosaforte Report: Faxon helps 'free' McIlroy's mind and stroke

By Tim RosaforteMarch 19, 2018, 8:00 pm

With all the talk about rolling back the golf ball, it was the way Rory McIlroy rolled it at the Arnold Palmer Invitational that was the story of the week and the power surge he needed going into the Masters.

Just nine days earlier, a despondent McIlroy missed the cut at the Valspar Championship, averaging 29 putts per round in his 36 holes at Innisbrook Resort. At Bay Hill, McIlroy needed only 100 putts to win for the first time in the United States since the 2016 Tour Championship.

The difference maker was a conversation McIlroy had with putting savant Brad Faxon at The Bears Club in Jupiter, Fl., on Monday of API week. What started with a “chat,” as McIlroy described it, ended with a resurrection of Rory’s putting stroke and set him free again, with a triumphant smile on his face, headed to this week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, and Augusta National in two weeks.

The meeting with Faxon made for a semi-awkward moment for McIlroy, considering he had been working with highly-regarded putting coach Phil Kenyon since missing the cut in the 2016 PGA Championship. From “pathetic” at Baltusrol, McIlroy became maker of all, upon the Kenyon union, and winner of the BMW Championship, Tour Championship and FedExCup.

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As a professional courtesy, Faxon laid low, respecting McIlroy’s relationship with Kenyon, who also works with European stars Justin Rose, Martin Kaymer, Tommy Fleetwood and Henrik Stenson. Knowing how McIlroy didn’t like the way Dave Stockton took credit after helping him win multiple majors, Faxon let McIlroy do the talking. Asked about their encounter during his Saturday news conference at Bay Hill, McIlroy called it “more of a psychology lesson than anything else.”

“There was nothing I told him he had never heard before, nothing I told him that was a secret,” Faxon, who once went 327 consecutive holes on Tour without a three-putt, said on Monday. “I think (Rory) said it perfectly when he said it allowed him to be an athlete again. We try to break it down so well, it locks us up. If I was able to unlock what was stuck, he took it to the next level. The thing I learned, there can be no method of belief more important than the athlete’s true instinct.”

Without going into too much detail, McIlroy explained that Faxon made him a little more “instinctive and reactive.” In other words, less “mechanical and technical.” It was the same takeaway that Gary Woodland had after picking Faxon’s brain before his win in this year’s Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Sunday night, after leading the field in strokes gained-putting, McIlroy was more elaborative, explaining how Faxon “freed up my head more than my stroke,” confessing that he was complicating things a bit and was getting less athletic.

“You look at so many guys out there, so many different ways to get the ball in the hole,” he said. “The objective is to get the ball in the hole and that’s it. I think I lost sight of that a little bit.”

All of this occurred after a conversation I had Sunday morning with swing instructor Pete Cowen, who praised Kenyon for the work he had done with his player, Henrik Stenson. Cowen attributed Henrik’s third-round lead at Bay Hill to the diligent work he put in with Kenyon over the last two months.

“It’s confidence,” Cowen said. “(Stenson) needs a good result for confidence and then he’s off. If he putts well, he has a chance of winning every time he plays.”

Cowen made the point that on the PGA Tour, a player needs 100-110 putts per week – or an average of 25-27 putts per round – to have a chance of winning. Those include what Cowen calls the “momentum putts,” that are especially vital in breaking hearts at this week’s WGC-Dell Match Play.

Stenson, who is not playing this week in Austin, Texas, saw a lot of positives but admitted there wasn’t much he could do against McIlroy shooting 64 on Sunday in the final round on a tricky golf course.

“It's starting to come along in the right direction for sure,” Stenson said. “I hit a lot of good shots out there this week, even though maybe the confidence is not as high as some of the shots were, so we'll keep on working on that and it's a good time of the year to start playing well.”

Nobody knows that better than McIlroy, who is hoping to stay hot going for his third WGC and, eventually, the career Grand Slam at Augusta.

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Golf's Olympic format, qualifying process remain the same

By Rex HoggardMarch 19, 2018, 6:25 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – Potential Olympic golfers for the 2020 Games in Tokyo were informed on Monday that the qualification process for both the men’s and women’s competitions will remain unchanged.

According to a memo sent to PGA Tour players, the qualification process begins on July 1, 2018, and will end on June 22, 2020, for the men, with the top 59 players from the Olympic Golf Rankings, which is drawn from the Official World Golf Ranking, earning a spot in Tokyo (the host country is assured a spot in the 60-player field). The women’s qualification process begins on July 8, 2018, and ends on June 29, 2020.

The format, 72-holes of individual stroke play, for the ’20 Games will also remain unchanged.

The ’20 Olympics will be held July 24 through Aug. 9, and the men’s competition will be played the week before the women’s event at Kasumigaseki Country Club.

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Webb granted U.S. Women's Open special exemption

By Will GrayMarch 19, 2018, 6:22 pm

Karrie Webb's streak of consecutive appearances at the U.S. Women's Open will continue this summer.

The USGA announced Monday that the 43-year-old Aussie has been granted a special exemption into this year's event, held May 31-June 3 at Shoal Creek in Alabama. Webb, a winner in both 2000 and 2001, has qualified for the event on merit every year since 2011 when her 10-year exemption for her second victory ended.

"As a past champion, I'm very grateful and excited to accept the USGA's special exemption into this year's U.S. Women's Open," Webb said in a release. "I have always loved competing in the U.S. Women's Open and being tested on some of the best courses in the country."

Webb has played in the tournament every year since 1996, the longest such active streak, meaning that this summer will mark her 23rd consecutive appearance. She has made the U.S. Women's Open cut each of the last 10 years, never finishing outside the top 50 in that span.

Webb's exemption is the first handed out by the USGA since 2016, when Se Ri Pak received an invite to play at CordeValle. Prior to that the two most recent special exemptions went to Juli Inkster (2013) and Laura Davies (2009). The highest finish by a woman playing on a special exemption came in 1994, when Amy Alcott finished sixth.