Charley Hoffman: The hair to the Augusta throne?

News & Tour

How the 38-year-old Californian played his way into the final twoball

In all but one of the last nine Masters Charley Hoffman would at least have a share of the lead, this year he trails Jordan Spieth by five.

Not that he minds of course as he looks down on the rest of the field in just his second Masters start. On a day of incredible stats the 38-year-old’s Major stats was one of the, as the Americans would say, neatest.

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In his first 14 starts in the four big ones he was 101 over par. This week, after rounds of 67-68, he is nine under.

Hoffman, a three-time winner on the PGA Tour, the last of which at the back end of last year in Mexico saw him stamp his ticket to Augusta, began his week asking for the autograph of Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer for his foundation.

The two legends of the game were warming up gently for the drive-in while Hoffam was preparing to open up the main event in a twoball with Brian Harman.

I was sort of scared, should I ask them, should I not ask them? My mind wasn’t really on golf really, I was watching those guys. I got in and out of there as fast as I could.

“Come the 1st tee, I was a little nervous, hit a little hook over in the 9th fairway and was able to get back over to the green and settled nerves and a little twoputt par.”

Two days later he is in the final pairing on moving day of the year’s opening Major, a tournament he tied 27th in on his only visit in 2011.

In his first 14 starts in the four big ones he was 101 over par. This week, after rounds of 67-68, he is nine under. Not much is known about the Californian. The go-to comment is how his hair is shorter than it used to be and that his glove is green. The reason for the latter is for Waste Management’s green initiative. The former is, most likely, because he looked slightly ridiculous. 

“I guess the hair’s gone, so I’m not that much different than any golfer now. My hair stopped growing on top like it used to so it wasn’t that great a look anymore, to be honest with you.”

And despite the hoopla of the weekend Hoffman will be sticking to the formula that has got him into position for the biggest round of his life. A strategy that saw him make five birdies on Friday and drop just the one shot at the last.

“I’m looking at the leaderboards because they are pretty strategically placed, right? I mean, it’s hard to miss them,” he smiled. “Jordan’s playing great golf, so sometimes you get in the lead and you sort of maybe change your game plan a little bit. 

“I just kept my game plan and just kept trying to make birdies and I was able to do a pretty good job of that.

 

Hoffman ranks 157th in third-round scoring average this season, in Texas he shot 79 before a 74 at the Houston Open but he doesn’t foresee those type of scores being repeated.  

“I can’t say why I played bad on Saturday the last couple weeks. I felt comfortable but got off to a couple bad starts, bad breaks those Saturdays. But I don’t see that coming at all. Hopefully it doesn’t.

“You’re trying to hit shots in a specific area on this golf course. So far through 36 I’ve been able to hit my spots, and I think that’s the most important thing.”

 

The spots might look a little bit smaller on Saturday but, as he explained, his previous experiences of the course have mainly come from the comfort of his settee.

“I’m an experienced TV watcher of the Masters.” 

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