Tiger Woods would come up more than a few times, as would the veteran names Hal Sutton and Tom Purtzer. You might here some stories about the old guys, too ' those players who well never get to fully compare against todays greats. Folks might tell you about Hogans ballstriking or Demarets fairway woods. Maybe Sneads too.
Youd probably hear a ditty on Nicklaus and Littler. Or Arnold. And, oh yeah, getting back to todays game, theres always Scott Hoch.
Thats right, Scott Hoch.
All in all, Hoch might be the best iron player out there. There are times when he is undisputedly the best ' times when he seems to knock down the stick with that unorthodox swing of his time after time again. I can picture it now ' weve seen it a thousand times ' Hoch steps up, gives it his patented waggle.then its up, and WHAMO!
The ball lands the green, hops a little dance, and then checks back to a beautiful little length of three feet.
You see folks, as they say these days, Scott Hoch got game.
But then he reaches the green, takes out that putter and suddenly that little three-footer doesnt seem like such a gimme. Thats when it might get a bit dicey with Scott Hoch on occasion.
As a result, over the course of his career, some have questioned this man from Raleigh, N.C. People have questioned his fortitude, questioned his heart, questioned his nerve under pressure.
Hes been the victim of rather unfriendly nicknames after a certain Masters Tournament, where he missed a short one which would have won him the Green Jacket.
Then, there was the instance in 1995 at the Shell Houston Open, when ' after playing beautiful golf for some 54 holes ' he floundered with a final round of 75 to ultimately lose to Payne Stewart in a playoff.
Hoch has only won eight times on tour, people will tell you. Hes never won a major. A guy with that kind of talent should have won 20 times by now in his career with THREE majors, they might say.
Well, maybe its true. Hoch has endured a lot of tough ones. Hes been on the other end of the stick maybe second only to Mr. Greg Norman.
Thats a distinction nobody wants to hold. It may be romantic, it may make for nice stories, but for the receiver, its got to be downright gutwrenching.
So, some would say Scott Hoch has had a disappointing career.
Me? I beg to differ.
True, Scott Hoch has won just eight times on the PGA Tour. True, he probably let his best chance at a major championship get away from him. And maybe he has not lived up to the kind of potential with which he has been blessed.
But I ask you, in golf, how many really do this side of Tiger Woods?
Not too many.
Just a few facts on Mr. Scott Hoch that you may or may not know:
Did you know that Scott Hoch has recorded 141 top-10 finishes in the 568 PGA Tour events in which hes competed?
Any idea what kind of an average THAT is? That, my friends, is an average of a top-10 finish every 4.03 times he tees it up.
And did you know that Scott Hoch has, on 14 different occasions, finished runner-up, including at that particular 89 Masters and that 95 Houston?
Furthermore, did you know that Scott Hoch has finished in third-place in PGA Tour events another 23 times?
People, these are numbers that stagger the imagination. Many pros dont even make one top-10 on the PGA Tour in their career.
Hoch? For 22 years now, hes been achieving one every four times he plays!
Not so many wins, but this is a man who has been there time after time. He is a fixture. He is exciting. He is fun to watch. Youll remember a guy like Scott Hoch. He may not be the most charismatic fellow on the course, maybe not the biggest champion of all time, but years down the road, when watching an old highlight and seeing that guy with the up-and-down swing whos right in contention for the tournament, Id bet you would know who it was immediately.
Hey, theres old Scott Hoch!