Bad feel to his game
Champ Hoffman has been ailing
NORTON - Yesterday, TPC Boston’s guest of honor was in a Las Vegas hospital.
Charley Hoffman, defending champion of the
So Hoffman participated in a conference call, during which he acknowledged not feeling much better.
“Hopefully this all gets cleared up and we figure out what the problem is,’’ said Hoffman, who was seeking a second opinion yesterday. “It’s a really weird pain in the stomach. I wish I could be there. But I couldn’t even imagine flying 5 1/2 hours from Vegas to Boston.’’
Hoffman’s plan is to recover, travel today to Akron, Ohio, and kick off the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational Thursday. Hoffman said if he’s not feeling better by tomorrow, he most likely will not play at Bridgestone.
Hoffman hopes to be fully healthy by Labor Day weekend, when he’ll be at TPC Boston to defend his 2010 title. Hoffman’s competitors should include Luke Donald, Phil Mickelson, Steve Stricker, Vijay Singh, and Adam Scott.
Last year, Hoffman recorded his second career tour win after a final round he’ll never forget.
After the first three days of the 2010 championship, Hoffman was in fourth place, four strokes off the pace. On the final day, Hoffman didn’t just climb steadily. He rocketed skyward, grabbing the leaderboard and smashing it to bits, making sure nobody else would challenge for the crown he had targeted.
When the day was over, Hoffman had shot a career-best 62 to tie the tournament record at 22-under-par 262. He made 11 birdies, tied an event record by shooting 6 under on the back nine, and won the championship by five strokes.
Naturally, Hoffman would be pleased with a repeat performance.
“Everything I looked up and tried to do, it happened,’’ Hoffman said. “I got on the second hole and made birdie. Third hole, I made birdie. Fourth hole, I think I made birdie also. All of a sudden, I went from just trying to make it to the next FedExCup event to actually winning, or having a chance to win, the $10 million prize of the FedEx tournament.’’
Hoffman left Norton with the $1.35 million winner’s share. He also believed that after ripping up TPC Boston, he had placed himself into the Ryder Cup conversation as a late entry.
But a day later, when Corey Pavin announced his four captain’s picks, Hoffman wasn’t one of them. The San Diego native, who turned 34 last December, probably was beaten out by Rickie Fowler, who’ll turn 22 in December.
“You’ve got to groom our young players,’’ Hoffman said. “I know Rickie hasn’t won yet. I think he’s an unbelievable player, obviously. For us to start winning Ryder Cups in the future, we have to groom our younger players to play in Ryder Cups. To pick Rickie was smart to get his feet wet. In the coming years, hopefully he makes Ryder Cup teams and he’s ready to go, ready to play. I’m 33 years old last year.
“Don’t get me wrong. I would have loved to play. But I don’t have many Ryder Cups in me. Rickie Fowler is 20-something and has a ton more Ryder Cups. For the future of the game of golf and US Ryder Cups, Rickie Fowler’s a great pick.’’
The man with the long blond hair who turned TPC Boston into a kiddie course hasn’t had the same luck this year. Hoffman’s best result was in April, when he tied for second in the Valero Texas Open. Since then, he’s missed three cuts, including at the British Open last month after finishing 7 over after two rounds.
“I started off a little slow,’’ Hoffman said. “I got in a little groove before the Masters. I played all right in my first major, then finished second the week after that. I haven’t played really well. Unfortunately, I haven’t putted as well as I would like to. Hitting the ball, I haven’t really had any problems.’’
That’s why in the past few days, Hoffman has been reviewing video from last year’s Deutsche Bank. The hope is that within those clips, he will pick up something that will make his return to Norton more palatable than spending his days in a Las Vegas hospital.