Sally was so angry she stopped traveling with him on the Tour. Nonetheless, in spite of his doubts about the poll's veracity, Hoch admits that before Augusta he could be "kind of a smart-ass" and "kind of hard to get to know." He did indeed strike some people the wrong way.
"I've known Scott since I was 10 years old," says Chip Beck, another player on the Tour. "Even then he'd always be in conflicts, and people would talk about him. They considered him cocky and arrogant. But that was just Scott trying to be the best he could be."
Although Hoch's friends find him warm and funny, he does have a different way about him. When he won a $118,000 Rolls-Royce for making a hole in one at Las Vegas in 1987, he asked for the money instead. "It won't fit through the drive-through at Wendy's," he said.
On the other hand, how many of his fellow pros knew the troubles Hoch had seen? How many of them had been there that day in 1986 when he returned to his Orlando, Fla., home after two weeks out on the Tour? The day he realized that his 2�-year-old son, Cameron, who had been limping when he left, was still limping when he got back? The doctors had said Cameron probably had a sprained ankle, but Hoch thought something was not right.
The X-rays taken the next day at the Orlando Regional Medical Center showed a dark mass about the size of a quarter on the boy's right femur. That was bad. Further tests showed the same thing. Scott and Sally feared the worst, and when they asked Dr. Joe Flynn if it was cancer, all he would say was, "I can't rule it out."
That was a sleepless week. "It was like living in a knot of fear," recalls Hoch. Sally would spend all day and most of the night at the hospital, waiting for test results. It wasn't the best place to be hopeful. Many of the kids on the floor with Cameron had terminal diseases.
One test remained: taking a piece of the bone out for a biopsy. When Flynn came into the waiting room afterward and said, "It doesn't look like cancer," the Hochs collapsed against the wall and cried.
Cameron had a rare bone infection called kingella kingae. It responded to medication, and he went home a month later, on Scott's 31st birthday, three days before Thanksgiving. "That was the happiest Thanksgiving ever," says Sally. But as Cameron grew stronger, many of the other children on his floor grew weaker, and some eventually died.
Scott was determined to give some money to the hospital. Sally kept pestering him to write a check, but he kept telling her no. "I was starting to get a little mad,"" she says.
She didn't know his plan. He wanted to handle the donation in his own way, doing it after he had won a tournament. But try as he might, he couldn't win, though he came close. He blew a four-shot final-round lead at the 1987 Memorial Tournament and ended up tied for third. He three-putted from eight feet on the last hole of that year's PGA to finish one stroke out. Each time he was ready to make his donation, but as each year passed Sally would look at him a little harder. "You've got to give something," she would say.