PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- An early 4-under-par 68 Thursday at The Players earned Charley Hoffman an invitation to the interview podium, where he had a chance to talk about his opening round ... from 2007.
That year, Hoffman, competing at TPC Sawgrass for the first time, shot a 75 in his first round at The Players Stadium Course that included a quintuple-bogey 9 on the par-4 10th hole, his first hole of the tournament. After some opening remarks, Hoffman, wearing mostly green as part of his sponsorship deal with Waste Management, was asked about his first hole ever in The Players and his, um, waste management.
"All in all I like this golf course. Besides the first hole, the first year I've played out here I've done all right," Hoffman said. "First Players Championship I ever teed it up on I made a 9. So we brought it up during the practice round. Some bad luck, but definitely think about it."
Hoffman, who finished T-75 that year after bouncing back with a 69 to make the cut, had five birdies, an eagle and two bogeys going out in the first group of the day off No. 1 tee with Martin Kaymer and Michael Allen. It was a confidence booster for the Las Vegas resident who is playing for just the third time after taking five weeks off to rest a sore left wrist.
The first group on the back nine included Tim Clark, who was among the players who joined Hoffman Wednesday night for a dinner comprised of Mexican food in honor of Cinco de Mayo.
Not only was Hoffman hit with questions about his dubious start three years ago, but he also had to fend off a mischievous Clark, who was behind the podium poking at him as he spoke. Clark also shot 68.
"I don't know what that's all about," Hoffman said with a laugh.
-- Dave Shedloski