Big Play Scott Hoch pulled the plug on the playoff at Doral because he couldn't commit to his putt, a controversial decision that led to a belated victory

March 17, 2003

No tour player thrives on adversity quite like Scott Hoch.
Sometimes it seems as if he courts controversy just because he
plays better amid the uproar. Hoch's iconoclastic attitude
doesn't win him a lot of fans, but it earned him a victory at
last week's Ford Championship--the 11th win of his career--and
his ability to focus despite distractions is why he is sixth on
the Tour's alltime money list, with $17.1 million. On Sunday
evening Hoch displayed his mental toughness by opting to put off
until Monday his nine-foot birdie attempt on the second hole of a
playoff against Jim Furyk. Hoch didn't care that fans were
heckling him, NBC's Johnny Miller was criticizing the decision
and Furyk was willing to play on. Hoch had one goal, to make a
putt to win the title and $900,000, and he wasn't going to let
anything compromise his chances. Hoch's putting routine never
wavers, and much of it is devoted to gauging the line. It was so
dark on Sunday evening that he knew he had little chance of
seeing the correct break. On Monday morning Hoch read his putt
perfectly and rattled it in, then he ended the playoff on the
next hole with a birdie set up by a brilliant approach to seven
feet. Hoch didn't win any popularity contests last week, but his
commitment to his putting routine led to an unforgettable


NO TWO players have the same pre-putt routine, but mine includes
four key steps.

Walk the length of the putt to get a feel for the distance and
the slope of the green.

Squat behind the ball to view the break and visualize the ball
rolling into the hole, while hearing the sound of the ball
hitting the bottom of the cup.

Make two practice strokes, holding your position at the end of
the second to be sure the putter face is square to your line.

Aim the putter face where you want the ball to start rolling and
stroke the putt.

TWO COLOR PHOTO: COURTESY OF NBC (TOP LEFT) COLOR PHOTO: CHUCK SOLOMON (HEAD SHOT) Brad Redding, 40, the director of instruction at Hartefeld National in Avondale, Pa., is a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher. FOUR COLOR PHOTOMONTAGES: MEL LEVINE (REDDING, 4); JIM GUND (BACKGROUND, 4)


"Who has more personality, Tiger Woods or Frank, his headcover?
I vote for Frank."

"Scott Hoch will dominate the Champions tour in a few years and
challenge all of Hale Irwin's records."

"Jim Furyk is the most talented man on the PGA Tour, because he
plays at such a high level with a swing that creates so many

"People who say Jack Nicklaus should have retired before his
skills began to erode are nuts. Having Nicklaus in the field
makes any tournament special, and at 63 the guy can still play.
Despite so-so putting he missed the cut by a mere three strokes
at Doral, beating Rich Beem, Bernhard Langer, Peter Lonard and
some kid named Gary Nicklaus."