Media Center Interviews
April 19, 2017
Pre-Tournament Press Conference With Charley Hoffman
DOUG MILNE: We'd like to welcome the defending champion of the Valero Texas Open, Charley Hoffman. Charley, thanks for joining us for a few minutes.
In looking at your numbers I'm always amazed at your numbers here. You haven't finished worse than 13th since the tournament moved to TPC San Antonio and your 11 starts here you only finished out of the Top 13 one time.
So, obviously a place you're comfortable coming back to and playing. With that, some thoughts on being back here and defending your title.
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: It's funny, sometimes you look at those numbers and you're like scared that when is it not going to go right? Hopefully keeps going good. I saw all those numbers. It's like Luke Donald last week at the Heritage. It's one of those you step on the property and feel good. Love the hotel, love having the family with me and getting on the first tee. The golf course fits my eye.
So, I saw a stat somebody showed me yesterday that I'm 43-under. The next closest person is like 13 or something like that which is sort of mind blowing. My excuse was I guess I played here more than anybody else.
No. I mean obviously it could go the other direction being over-par. A golf course I feel comfortable at and I enjoy playing and hopefully keep the momentum going.
DOUG MILNE: You're enjoying a good season. You had your good stuff at the Masters and a couple of Top-5 finishes Arnold Palmer L.A., Top-5 finish here. Feeling good about your year.
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Everything feels good. Missed a few more cuts than I'd like. I've been in contention a lot which is the most important thing. Body feels good, the game feels good and obviously stepping here at TPC San Antonio is a great place and hopefully knock off a W, knocked off a win and hopefully get another one this year.
DOUG MILNE: We'll take a few questions.
Q. Charley, can you talk about the 8th hole, one of the hardest par-5s on the Tour. You've had a couple of doubles there. You played well there last year.
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: I forgot those. I just remember the birdies.
Q. What makes that par 5 more difficult than most on Tour?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: It's all windy dependent. I played year that whole stretch, 8, 9. If it gets blowing 30 miles an hour into your face you got 600-something yard par 5 that's 30 miles an hour wind in your as face. Plays pretty long and hard.
With a green that's -- when the pin is back it's hard to hit the little plateau back there. It's just a tough hole when it gets into the wind. There's times I remember being downwind I've hit hybrid or mid-iron on that green.
This whole golf course is wind-dependent and when that hole gets in the wind it plays hard and when it gets downwind you can make birdie, knowing that depending on the wind conditions.
Q. Charley, what's your feelings now after the Masters, you had that great start and kind of not so great finish? Have you been able to put that behind you or some lingering?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: No. No. Nothing but positives out of the Masters. That's what I tell people.
Would love to finish better but really only a chip shot on 13 that went in the water, was looking at birdie, ended up making double, and a mid-iron on 15 that if I hit on the green I make birdie.
Two birdie opportunities, pretty easy ones. When it was said and done I made a double and bogey. That was about five shot swing at least there. So, I mean if you throw those two holes out all of a sudden I'm still right in the mix.
So, I'm not going to harp on two funny shots. And then obviously 7 I made double at 7, sort of funky 7. You can make a double in a heartbeat even if you're in position. I proved that.
And I didn't do that the first three rounds for the most part and that's why I was in contention. But that golf course it happens. Nothing but positives out of the Masters.
Q. Your missing cut last week was no residue --
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: That was more just -- the mental strain of playing the Masters and being in the lead and all that sort of stuff. Just little bit fatigued for lack of a better term, unfortunately, because I love Hilton Head. I love the golf course. I just wasn't all there. Had nothing to do with me thinking about the Masters at all. Just a little tired from a great week. Had a good week Easter and feel great going into this week for sure.
Q. Like you said, if there was any lingering effects maybe this tournament and this course would be the remedy for that.
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Yeah. We go through so much failing on the PGA TOUR. I can leave it behind. I lose way more than I ever win.
Obviously getting back to the spot where I win at brings back great memories. It's not hard to put behind what happened the last little, say, I played 9 bad and 60-something really good holes at the Masters. I'm not going to let the 9 bad holes really affect me at all.
Q. You're like a closer in baseball. If you blow a lead late in the 9th you're going to be ready to come back just because --
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Yeah. You wouldn't be on Tour as long as I have if you can't forget the bad weeks and the bad days you've had. You try to draw back on the good ones like this week.
Q. In conjunction with what you said about the 8th hole earlier, the par-5s here are notoriously difficult. What makes the rest of the par-5s difficult as well?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: 18 -- back to wind-based. 8 and 18 are in the same direction so if you get those downwind they're birdie holes, you can get to them. You get into the wind, they're hard holes because layup on 18 is hard layup, water down the whole middle of the fairway.
I talked about -- if it gets played in the wind. You also got -- which is great about this golf course, no matter what the wind blows usually two are going to play into the wind and the other two downwind.
You hope to have a birdie putt out of the other ones. You want to get the ones that's downwind. When it's blowing 20, 30 miles an hour downwind it's hard to hold the green, get it close that way.
I think that's why this golf course is so great, it requires you to play all different sorts of golf shots and it's all wind-based here.
I haven't looked at the forecast, I don't know if it's supposed to be windy or not be windy this week. I don't think we've played it a year where it really was nice conditions like yesterday. Yesterday was perfect no breeze. A different golf course. You can attack the golf course all the way around instead of play a little more conservative.
Q. How do you prepare for the windy conditions and is there a specific shot that you focus on?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Yeah. The most important shot in the wind is hit it solid so the wind doesn't affect it. It's when you start hitting it unsolid in the wind when it's hard. In the Masters I was able to hit it really solid the 1st Round; 2nd Round I wasn't able to hit it solid and don't score.
That's this golf course. It gives you plenty of room out there but if you start hitting it unsolid you can find the native area very quickly and, if that happens, you're just trying to get it back in play and hopefully have a putt for par or make a bogey and get out. Any golf course bogies don't hurt you. Definitely not out here.
You tend to see guys make a big number trying to pull off miracle shot and I think I played here enough to know if I get in a bad spot, take an unplayable, don't try to pull off the miracle shot. Something that's going to happen to everybody.
Q. Charley, in the last four Majors Dustin has won, Stenson won, obviously Sergio, those are three guys that have spent sometime at the top of the best golfer without a Major win. I'm wondering what your thoughts are in terms of that whole list concept in the first place and do you feel like your name should come up in the conversation there?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: I mean from a guy that hasn't played a ton of Majors I wouldn't say I am even near that category. Being in contention the few times I have in the Masters is the only tournament I've ever had contention for in a Major. U.S. Open I haven't really, British Open, not really, PGA, not really. Played all right but never been in the heat.
I wouldn't put my name in that category. It's not a place I don't put a lot of stress on. That's why I play all right at the Masters. I wouldn't say I don't care but not like someone is picking me to win that week.
Obviously I would love to be in that conversation because that means you need one, you want one. It's one of those I try -- I think the more pressure I put on myself at the Major championship the worse I tend to play. More sort of overthink it.
What I'll learn from the past from Major championships like Augusta I go and I already have a plan for the most part. The other Majors I sort of show up there the week of the tournament and try to develop a plan.
I think what I've learned going forward in the Major championships is you got to let it happen. The week of the tournament you dance with the girl you brought to the party.
It's one of those -- it's not -- can't put too much pressure on it. I think Sergio sort of explained that last week like, all right, it's golf, it's going to happen eventually and will eventually did and hopefully does also for me.
Q. So who would you put up there?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Who would I put up there? Kuchar probably a guy that comes to the top of the name list there for me.
DOUG MILNE: Anybody else? All right. Great, Charley. We appreciate your time as always. Hope to see a lot of you in here this week.
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Hopefully.