Tales Of Hoffman


There were more story lines swirling around in those stinging California desert winds Sunday than there are one-liners stored in the comedic speed dial of George Lopez brain.
Which brings us for a moment, indirectly, to Yogi Berra, one of the amateur celebrities at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic.
Here is my vote for the funniest remark ever uttered by Berra, the master of the inadvertent utterance:
Years ago, Berra found himself going through the reception line on a warm day at the Governors mansion in New York. He was wearing a lime-green leisure suit.
Why, Yogi, cooed Mrs. Cuomo, the Governors wife, you look so cool.
Thanks, Mrs. Cuomo, Berra answered shyly. You dont look so hot yourself.
Meanwhile, back at the golf tournament ...
Charley Hoffmans chances didnt look so hot in the fifth and final round Sunday at Classic Club where the winds were gusting to 40 mph and the scores were soaring faster than the Argentine inflation rate.
When it blows 40 its a whole different kettle of fish, said Justin Rose, the Saturday night co-leader who wound up tied for third. It becomes survival, really, more than anything. The wind was playing us today.
Hoffman survived by making birdie on the 89th hole with a deuce after watching playing competitor Jeff Quinney eagle it with an ace. Then Hoffman eagled the 90th hole. Then he made birdie again on the first hole of the playoff to beat John Rollins to win his first PGA TOUR event.
It feels like we played about 36 today, said a spent Rollins.
It was brutal out there, added Hoffman, who nevertheless, jumped from No. 197 in the Official World Golf Ranking to No. 92.
Lucas Glover, the other Saturday night co-leader, skied to 80 and a T13. Phil Mickelson, playing in his first tournament since last falls Ryder Cup, blew to a 78 and a share of 45th. Joe Ogilvies 68 was the best round of the day and hustled him from T60 to a T18 finish.
Until yesterday, Hoffman was more well-known for his flowing locks that are a cross between Craig T. Nelson, Spicoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Cousin It from the TV sitcom The Addams Family.
But now all that work on the range Hoffman has done with teacher Shaun Callahan at Butch Harmons golf school in Las Vegas has finally paid off in a big way.
Memo to Charley Hoffman: Dont cut your hair until you lose your exempt status. Tigers got his stare. Phils got his phlop. Dalys got his Jerry Springer lifestyle. Youve got the longest, blondest hair in mens golf and enough new money now ($900,000) to hire your own personal coiffeur.
To tell you the truth, Hoffman said, I thought Justin was going to run away with it. In the end, wet tee balls on the 11th hole Saturday and Sunday were too much for Rose to overcome.
Hoffman said he also was embarrassed in the playoff when he said nice shot while Rollins tee ball was in the air only to watch the wind blow it into a bunker. Rollins didnt feel so hot himself.
Now, the 30-year-old Hoffman has his ticket punched on the PGA TOUR for the rest of 2007 and all of 2008 and 2009. This week he returns, a PGA TOUR winner, to the San Diego area where he grew up. He will tee it up at the Buick Invitational. The story line there at Torrey Pines will be Tiger Woods quest to win his seventh straight TOUR event in his first appearance of the year.
Roses final-round 76 took the bloom off an otherwise terrific week of scoring and fun at this Bob Hope Chrysler Classic hosted by Lopez. Rose wound up 130th in final-round scoring last year on TOUR. And it is an area he must improve.
Quinney, the 2000 U.S. Amateur champion, won more than $300,000 on the Nationwide Tour last year without a victory. His T4 with Heath Slocum finally has him headed in the direction many people thought he was going five years ago. His hole-in-one club at No. 17 was a 4-iron from 178 yards.
But in the end, it was Hoffmans day. Yogi Berra once said, when asked about a restaurant: Nobody goes there anymore. Its too crowded.
Charley Hoffmans bank account just got a little more crowded. And nobody can go there but him.
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