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Hoch No Joke in Match Play

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CARLSBAD, Calif. -- To some, he is simply so much roadkill, one more victim underneath the wheels of the Tiger Express.
 
Scott Hoch understands that. But the 47-year-old says before you dust him off away to the Old Folks Home, you might consider what he has done this week. Woods is the best in the game, but he has to lose someday ' doesnt he?
 
Whos to say hes going to be at the top of his game? asked Hoch. Thats the way match play is.
 
Hoch beat Toshi Izawa, 4 and 3, Friday to skip into Saturdays fourth round. His play has been superb so far this week ' he was 1-under in the first round against Tom Lehman, another 1-under in stopping Padraig Harrington Thursday, and 3-under against Izawa Friday.
 
I feel good about (my game), said Hoch. I feel good going into a match-play event.
 
I dont know ' its not to my advantage that the course is playing as long as it is. But Ive always said that ' most people think I want short courses with rough. Thats not necessarily true. I dont care how long the course is, as long as it has rough.
 
Rough is the great equalizer for the bombers that hit it anywhere.
 
Hoch has played sparingly since November, getting in only three tournament rounds. The only tournament he played on the West Coast was last week at the Nissan. It was there that he putted poorly, prompting a couple of visits to putting guru Scotty Cameron. And to make matters worse, he is playing with a new set of clubs that are somewhat less than reliable.
 
They are a new set from Yonex, the company that he endorses. He sent his old set back to the factory in Japan to have new ones made to the older ones specifications. The new ones he received still arent dialed in, he said.
 
I told the president of Yonex (who followed him in Los Angeles) to get my clubs back from Japan and send them here, said Hoch. Well, I guess the translation was a little garbled because the clubs did come back, but they went to my house. So Im going to have to make do with what I have this week.
 
He hopes to get by with them Saturday when he goes up against Woods. Woods hasnt been in trouble all week, trailing only at the first hole Thursday and then zapping K. J. Choi.
 
Ill try to bring the best I have, and hopefully he doesnt bring his best, said Hoch, because Im not sure many people out here can beat him on his best ' even if they bring their best.
 
So I look forward to the challenge, actually. Hes the best player in the world. Hes on top of his game. Man, it would be great to play ' believe me, it would not be a shame if I lost, but it sure would be great if I won.
 
I would say it would be unexpected for me to win, but yet I feel I can.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage of the Accenture Match Play Championship