Vertigo-like feeling sends Hoch down leader board

Notebook

October 07, 2007|By Don Markus | Don Markus,Sun Reporter

When Scott Hoch bent over to survey his first putt in yesterday's third round of the Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship at Baltimore Country Club, he knew he was in trouble.

"It was like, `Woooo', something's going on there," Hoch recalled later. "I don't know what vertigo is, but I tell [you], it was the strangest thing."

The feeling, which Hoch said started coming on late in his round Friday, never left. It contributed to Hoch's shooting a 4-over-par 74 and shooting himself out of contention after coming into the round two strokes behind the leader, Loren Roberts.

"I absolutely had the worst touch on the greens that I ever had," Hoch said.

It was the latest medical issue to undermine Hoch, who saw his PGA Tour career deteriorate with a combination of failing eyesight and a damaged left wrist, which required surgery at Baltimore's Union Memorial Hospital two years ago.

Hoch believed that the problem with his eyesight, which caused what had been 20-15 vision after Lasik surgery to quickly become 20-50, occurred after Hoch was prescribed medication to lower his cholesterol.

The wrist, operated on by Dr. Tom Graham, still needs some time to heal.

"It's not hurting, except when I play," said Hoch, who is in his second year on the Champions Tour. "After this offseason, then we'll know. Then I'll be probably be able to get it much stronger and play much more consistent."

After winning his first Champions Tour event at the FedEx Kinko in May and having four other top-10 finishes in his first 13 events, Hoch has done no better than a tie for 23rd in his past six.

That was after not playing for nearly two years because of two torn tendons in his wrist.

Birdies or worms?

Most kids who ask for autographs don't give anything in return. Not 3-year-old Sadie Wetherall of Relay. Stationed outside the scorer's tent yesterday afternoon, little Sadie was offering up her most prized possession for the moment - gummi worms.

Mark Wiebe declined, saying: "I don't eat gummi worms anymore."

So did Gil Morgan.

"But Tom Kite took them and said he loved gummi worms," said Chris Wetherall, Sadie's dad.

Rumor has it that Tiger Woods likes them, too, so the Wetheralls might try hitting Congressional Country Club next summer.

Early tee times

Because of more morning fog in the forecast, players will go off the first and 10th tees beginning at 9:20 today. With the leaders teeing off around 11, play is expected to conclude, barring a playoff, at around 3:30 to 4. After the champion's ceremony at the 18th green, the Ravens-San Francisco 49ers game will be shown on the JumboTron by the green.

don.markus@baltsun.com

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