MORE INTERVIEWS: the Memorial Tournament transcript archive
COLIN MURRAY: We'd like to welcome Bo Hoag to the interview room here at the Memorial Tournament, former Ohio State standout, playing this week on a sponsor's exemption, second PGA TOUR start. Start us out with some comments on making your first start here at the Memorial and then we'll go to questions.
BO HOAG: Yeah, I mean, anytime a young player like myself, first year as a professional, can get a start on the PGA TOUR, it's good stuff. The course the last couple days has been in really good shape, met a lot of new guys on TOUR, as well, guys I've kind of been watching growing up. That's been kind of cool, as well.
Other than that, I mean, they really take care of you here at Muirfield Village. It's pretty nice.
COLIN MURRAY: You made your debut earlier this year at the Honda Classic. Will you be able to draw off that experience this week, anything you learned from that experience?
BO HOAG: Definitely. Yeah, I think it's important that I already got my first PGA TOUR start out of the way and kind of know the atmosphere a little bit, what it's like inside the ropes, teeing off on Thursday and stuff like that. It's kind of good to know what to expect. I think I might have a few more fans here, but I think, yeah, definitely can draw off that and just be a little more comfortable, I think.
Q. What's a reasonable expectation for you this week with all the emotion surrounding this? You know the course, but by the same token, there's a lot of other things going out for you, too.
BO HOAG: Yeah, that's a good question. Honestly, I mean, I don't really have like a goal that I have. I can't say I just want to do this or that. Every tournament I play in, I think if you ask any other player in the tournament, they'd say they want to win the tournament. Nobody tees it up to finish 10th or something like that. So that's kind of in the back of my mind.
But honestly, I'm not really focused on a finish. I don't have something like that in my mind. I'm just going to kind of stick with my routine and process and really just play the best I can and see where the chips fall.
Q. And who are some of the guys that you say you met that you watched growing up??
BO HOAG: Well, I met a few guys at Honda, which was nice. A lot of the guys are very friendly out here.
Q. Such as who??
BO HOAG: Yesterday I was on the range just hitting balls, and Carl Pettersson was next to me, and he turned around, just introduced himself. That was pretty nice for a guy just in the middle of his practice session to kind of just notice the young guy that probably hasn't been out here too much and just said hello to me. That was pretty nice.
Q. How many family, friends are you expecting to be out there tomorrow morning when you get started??
BO HOAG: I don't know. I think there'll be a few. I think there'll be a nice group. But I'm happy that they're going to be out there. I think that'll only help me having that many people kind of pulling for you and wanting you to do well.
Q. Does it change your nerves at all??
BO HOAG: Yeah, people have asked me, are you going to be nervous. I'm always a little anxious to get started any tournament I play in, but you know, PGA TOUR, just because it's the PGA TOUR, it shouldn't be any different than any other tournament I play in. It's still golf. It's the same game. You've just got to hit the shots that you can hit.
Q. What's the experience you've had with this course??
BO HOAG: It's one of my favorite golf courses I've ever played. I think every hole is pretty good. I don't think there's really any just kind of give-away holes that people forget about. I think every hole has got a pretty good look to it. It's always in good shape. The greens are fast. You know, it's green.
Q. What's the best score you've ever had out here??
BO HOAG: I shot 7-under. I think that's my lowest out here.
Q. Do you have even a guess how many times you've played out here throughout your life??
BO HOAG: A lot. I'd have to say over 100, easily, probably, over the years.
Q. And how many times have you attended the tournament over the past couple years??
BO HOAG: I mean, I've been to the tournament just about every year that I can remember. I don't know that I came last year because we had the NCAAs going on. I think it's always the same week. But you know, I at least get over here for like a day since I can remember basically.
Q. Are you staying at home I take it??
BO HOAG: Yeah, I am. Yep. I like my own bed this week.
Q. Is it fair to say this is sort of-- given all the experience you've had here, and obviously you have a ton of family ties to this tournament, is this almost like a dream come true??
BO HOAG: Yeah, definitely. You know, I can't think of one event or tournament that's inspired me more to be a professional golfer, kind of growing up as a youngster just seeing some players on the range or watching them on the course and thinking, oh, this is pretty cool, I'd like to do this someday.
Q. Obviously we remember you from college, but for people who don't know, can you kind of describe your game, what it's all about, what you're working on right now??
BO HOAG: Yeah, so I played-- I graduated from Ohio State last year, played every match for four years, which was nice. Got a lot of experience and played some-- we played a good schedule at Ohio State, played against a lot of good teams. But honestly, for me this year, I feel like I've played pretty well, played pretty solid.
It's kind of just been a matter of just committing to my golf shots. Before I hit every shot, just making up my mind the shot I want to hit and committing to my swing or my putting stroke or the chip, and wherever the ball goes after that, it goes, but as long as I have a good frame of mind and committing to the shot.
Q. So is your preparation any different at this level? Do you find you're chipping a lot more or something like that, or do you pretty much have the same routine?
BO HOAG: No, it's pretty similar. I don't really need to do anything crazy different this week. Obviously it's a big stage, but you know, just the same kind of stuff. Just do what I do every week, because I know that works for me.
Q. What do you do to put yourself in the right frame of mind and go out there and play good golf? Is there a certain way you go about it or just hit shots until it feels right?
BO HOAG: I'm not really-- I don't really like to bang balls on the range all day long. That's just not-- I don't think that helps me personally. So you know, I might hit a few. I like to hit wedges on the range a lot to kind of get my rhythm a little bit and some of the little shots like that. Really just kind of getting a good game plan for the course and just kind of sticking to it and sticking to your routine.
Q. So you work on feel more it sounds like??
BO HOAG: Yeah, you could say that. I'm not going to go out to the range and just-- I try not to think too much, just kind of hit a couple and a little more on the course.
Q. I watched you for a couple holes the other day and it seemed like you were hitting the ball pretty well. Do you feel like your game is where you would like it to be coming into a chance like this??
BO HOAG: Yeah, my game feels good. You know, I played nine yesterday, played the back nine. I played with Kelly Kraft and Bud Cauley, a couple friends of mine, which I think was nice. Because you can play with some of the veterans out here, for instance, a guy like Stewart Cink who's been out here for a while, and if you play with him, you might feel a little different from him. He's kind of been out here for a while and he's a major winner and stuff like that.
And if I play with-- like yesterday was good for me because I played with Kelly and Bud, and they're both my age and we're kind of doing the same thing, so we can relate to each other. I think it's good to play with different types of guys, but yeah, it was helpful yesterday.
Q. Since you've played here a lot, you've got a lot of experience on a couple holes on the back nine I'd like to ask you about. The 12th hole, can you talk about club selection, pin placements and whether you can be aggressive or not on that hole??
BO HOAG: Yeah, 12 is a really good hole. I mean, you have to have your head on straight before you hit that shot. You've got to have a clear-cut plan of what you want to do, what number you think it's playing, because you know, the wind can move down there a little bit, kind of switches. But I think it's important to play that hole smart.
Sometimes you get your ball on the green-- it's one of the kind of flatter greens out here, so if you do get your ball on the green, I feel like you've got a pretty good chance to make the putt. It's really about distance control there and getting a good number and committing to it.
Q. And the 15th hole, the last par-5, is that an eagle opportunity? Are you very aggressive on that, or what's your strategy on that hole?
BO HOAG: Yeah, I think if your drive-- if you hit a good drive and it's far enough up there on that uphill, yeah, definitely go for that one in two if you have a nice lie and a good club in your hands. I guess out of all the par-5s that might be the one that you'd probably eagle the most, and probably over the years if you looked at the number, I think that would be the same.
Q. I know you've made the start at the Honda. Aside from that, where have you been playing and how has that gone for you? How many tournaments have you been in?
BO HOAG: I've been playing mostly on the NGA Tour, which is like the Hooters Tour, and I've played I think about seven events out there. I've played pretty solid, made all the cuts, had a couple top 15s, a top 10. And honestly, the way that that's run, they run four-day tournaments with 156-player fields and two-day cuts, so it's pretty similar to what you're going to get on Nationwide or PGA, so I've just kind of been treating that like it's been Nationwide or PGA, not really doing anything different out there.
Q. How would you describe your relationship with Jack? What's the connection there?
BO HOAG: Yeah, obviously similar pasts, Arlington and Ohio State. I got to play with him at the alumni match at Ohio State, which was cool. Played 18 holes at the Bears Club down in Florida, played with him and John Cook. Yeah, he was helpful that day, kind of just gave me some tips, and just kind of tried to pump up the team a little bit, say don't ever try to finish third or fourth in a tournament, just try to win it.
Q. Were you aware this opportunity was a possibility, and what was your reaction when they called and said, hey, you can tee it up here??
BO HOAG: Yeah, I mean, I kind of always thought when I was a kid that one day I'd play in the tournament. I don't know, I just felt that way. Not that I ever thought that I deserved to get in or something like that or that I'd actually be given an exemption. Very fortunate to get in the tournament. I mean, there's so many good players. I mean, this is one of the world's best fields. So for the committee to give me an exemption, I can't thank them enough. Really just looking forward to kind of capitalizing on it.
COLIN MURRAY: Bo, thanks for your time. Best of luck this week. Play well.