HARRISON, N.Y. (AP) -- Begrudge Tiger Woods' pre-eminence on the world golfing stage? PGA Tour veteran Scott Hoch would rather thank him.
"I am very happy he is out here," Hoch said after leading Woods and the rest of the Buick Classic field after Thursday's rain-shortened first round. "While he gets a lot of attention, don't you think he deserves it? It is incredible the things he's done. I know it's putting money in my pocket."
It is no different than the way the emergence of Arnold Palmer at the dawn of televised golf made all the other golfers of that era richer, said Hoch, a 21-year tour veteran.
"We may be jealous of his play, of how well he plays, but I can't see anybody being jealous of him," Hoch said.
Enjoying yet another $1 million-plus year in earnings -- his sixth in a row in a $13 million career on tour -- the 45-year-old Hoch said he has this one little request of Woods: "I'd just like to beat him one tournament."
Whether the Buick Classic is the one remains to be seen. Thursday's opening round barely got started before a rainstorm and lightning halted play for nearly two hours. After another hour on the course, heavy rains chased the golfers into the clubhouse again and, four hours later, tournament officials suspended play for the day.
Organizers said four holes at the Westchester Country Club were too waterlogged to play.
More rain is forecast for Friday.
Woods, with an afternoon tee time, took two shots and had to quit. His 7-iron on the par-3, 190-yard first hole was short, but he chipped to within a few feet when play was suspended.
Of the 156 golfers in the field, 37 finished their rounds and 57 never hit a shot.
Hoch completed 16 holes and was the leader at 4 under. Gabriel Hjertstedt, who also finished 16 holes, was at 3 under with Mark Wiebe, who played 15 holes, and Brian Watts, who played 14.
Six players were at 2 under, including three -- Brad Faxon, Justin Leonard and Corey Pavin -- who finished their rounds.
After missing the cut in his first three tournaments in 2001, Hoch has made money in the last 11 he's played. He has finished in the top 10 six times. That includes a win at Greensboro in April, his first victory since 1997 and the ninth in his career.
Hoch has succeeded despite pain from tendinitis in his left wrist, which required two cortisone shots to deaden. And he also has a depth perception problem that makes playing late in the day or in heavy overcast skies difficult.
Still, Hoch has already made more money than in any year in his career. And it's only June.
"I have kept myself in pretty good shape," he said. "So I think that's one thing, and I still have my desire. ... There are not that many guys mid-40s that are playing well these days."
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