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July 23, 2014

Hunter Mahan


THE MODERATOR:  Welcome Hunter Mahan to the media center here at the RBC Canadian Open.  Actually making your 300th start on the PGA TOUR this week, actually quite a milestone, at a tournament where you've got two previous top‑5 finishes and you were the 36‑hole leader last year before going home for a special family event with the birth of your baby girl.  Tell us what it's like being back here this week.
HUNTER MAHAN:  Yeah, well, obviously it feels good to be back here.  This is a tournament that I enjoy coming to and I covet very much.  It's a place I do want to win.  It's nice to be back in Montreal where we were at the Presidents Cup.  I'm kind of sorting to recollect a lot of the golf course and kind of remember a lot of the shots we hit and how it played, and it's nice to be in Montreal and kind of see some of the city because we didn't really see much of it in '07.
I've been here since Sunday night, and it's been a great couple days so far.  I look forward to this week.
THE MODERATOR:  Maybe you could remind us how it all went down last year when you were the 36‑hole leader and then got the phone call to suddenly go home and maybe what went through your mind and how you reflect on that moment now.
HUNTER MAHAN:  Yeah, obviously I just got to the range, and luckily my manager was here because my wife called him kind of right after we had lunch.  Probably 30 or so minutes kind of when her water broke and when she went to the doctor and got confirmation that the process has begun, and I need to get‑‑ basically get home as soon as I can.
Unfortunately I had to WD and left and came home and saw the birth 15 hours or so later.

Q.  So is that a story that will probably go down in family lore that your daughter will be telling her kids and you'll be telling your grandkids for years to come?
HUNTER MAHAN:  Yeah, I hope so.  That was one of the main reasons we did so many‑‑ we did kind of good morning‑‑ we did a couple news outlets and did that because it was kind of a pretty incredible story.  It's always one of those things for golfers, what if, if you had to go home and you were in the lead on Sunday or Saturday or something like that.  It's kind of one of those crazy things you think about and you discuss with your family and your wife and whatever, but most of the time it never really happens, so it's kind of a crazy thing that happened.  It's kind of neat that we have the video of it all happening and going down and then the newspaper clippings and all that stuff, so it'll be a fun story to show her and kind of tell her about, about how she kind of entered the world.
It's pretty neat.

Q.  You talked a little bit about being mechanics of getting home, but what were the emotions that you had going from being at the top of the leaderboard and then having the surprise of going home and understanding what was going on?  What were your emotions during that period of time?
HUNTER MAHAN:  Yeah, you know, you're excited‑‑ I was excited to start the day.  I remember waking up and going through my normal routine and getting out to the course and excited how I was playing that week and kind of halfway home to trying to win this event.  And then getting the phone call, it was kind of pretty shocking.  It's hard to kind of‑‑ it was more shocking, and then trying to get the pieces to get home was kind of like the next step.  But yeah, I don't think it really hit me until I got to the hospital, like this is for real, this is really happening, because it was so early.  She was three weeks early.  So the process of beginning to think your baby is coming never really hit me.  It never really started until we were in the hospital and things were moving.
It started with shock and then it was kind of like how do I get home, and that was the next kind of plan, so it was a little bit of frantic, a little craziness, and then calm on the plane like I can't really do anything, I just have to wait until I get there, and then it was kind of‑‑ you're going through tired and exhaustion and can't wait, and obviously excitement kind of when everything happened and she kind of came into the world.

Q.  The common narrative up here is how long it's been since a Canadian has won the Canadian Open.  Can you talk about how hard it is to win on the PGA TOUR, period, let alone in front of a hometown crowd?
HUNTER MAHAN:  Yeah, no, it is hard.  There's a lot of great players who have gone big stretches without winning tournaments.  To play golf, great golf for four days and to make all the necessary putts, all the shots, you're going to need some good luck, some breaks along the way.  You're going to need to be mentally tough through those four days, and it's definitely a grind.  Golf is definitely a marathon through four days, and a lot of emotions, a lot of things that can run through your head.  There's a lot of great players who haven't won on the TOUR or only won once or twice.  It seems like they should have won a lot more.
It's not an easy thing to do, and I think on top of Canadians trying to win this event specifically, you know, and this one means so much for them and probably for the families and the country and everything, there has to be a lot of‑‑ there has to be a lot of almost trying too hard this week.  That's probably the greatest‑‑ kind of the greatest enemy this week is trying too hard and just going out there and playing.  Guys like David Hearn and Graeme de Laet are plenty good enough to win out here.  They don't need to do anything extra, they just need to play their games and hit big shots when they need to hit them.
But yeah, I'm sure these guys are‑‑ and it's probably wanting to win, too.  There's a lot of pride in each guy to end the streak here and to do it and do it on their home soil and to get their first win, or whatever, like for Mike get their multiple win.  It would be a big deal for a lot of people.

Q.  How long did it take you to get the plane and get out of here?  What was the timeline?  You got here 30 minutes ahead of your tee time.  How long did it take you to get in the air?
HUNTER MAHAN:  Yeah, I think I left around 3:00.  It was a friend of mine's‑‑ what happened was a friend of mine, a buddy of mine called me, and he's like, hey, man, what's going on, and I'm like, I'm going back to the hotel, trying to figure out how I'm going to get home.  He said, I think a friend of ours' plane is there.  He's here but I think his plane is there.  Let me call him.  I said, all right.  So he was kind of doing stuff back at home in Dallas, and he contacted and called him, and I talked to him.  He said, yeah, the plane is there and it's coming back to Dallas and we're leaving at 3:00.  This is probably like 1:00 or 1:30.  So I was like, well, it sounded too good to be true.  I talked to him, he said, you're absolutely welcome on board.  It would be easy to get you on the manifest and it would be no problem.  I mean, we were in there‑‑ I was in the air at 3:00 and on my way home.

Q.  Was it nerve‑racking to be in the air and not knowing what exactly is going down?
HUNTER MAHAN:  I felt pretty calm.  I felt like so far it hasn't‑‑ it couldn't have gone any better up to that point.  From the time I got the phone call to the time we were taking off was like three hours, which was‑‑ like I said, it's such a fluke thing that his company was there and they were handling their business and going back to Dallas.  Trying to get home, trying to cross the border wasn't going to be easy, trying to get customs on the weekend and Dallas was going to be very difficult, just getting a normal flight home was going to be tough.  So quite a few obstacles before we found this kind of path, and it was really easy.  It was incredibly lucky and fortuitous.  It's just amazing how things worked out.

Q.  Given all that, the Snedekers said they bought you a present or the baby a present as a thank‑you for the baby showing up and for you deciding you had to head home.  What did they get you, and did you pay any attention at that point in the midst of all this at how the tournament ended up?
HUNTER MAHAN:  Not really.  I mean, I know Snedeker won.  I think they got us a nice little baby gift for Zoë, some clothes, so they got us a nice couple things for Zoë that she's worn numerous times.  But she was born at 3:26 a.m. and there wasn't much sleep, a lot going on between the time I got there to when she was born to the next day and taking care of Kandi and getting Zoë kind of learning how to do all that stuff and changing a diaper and what's going to happen the next few days.  To say there was a lot going on would be an understatement.
It's amazing what happens from being two people just in a marriage, a husband and wife, and all of a sudden having a third person in the world changing everything.  And it changes everything overnight, too, from one day to the next.  From Friday, me playing finishing up here and just playing golf and then basically Sunday morning I'm a father and I've got this girl I've got to take care of for the rest of my life.  You never know what can happen in life, that's for sure.

Q.  Was there ever any fear that you would miss the birth?
HUNTER MAHAN:  Well, I talked to the doctor here, and he said, you've got plenty of time, but also he examined her earlier that week and said, I can't tell you when the baby is going to come, but I don't think it's coming any time soon.  To predict a pregnancy is kind of silly because you can't predict something like that.  I think there was always that fear, but leaving here at 3:00, I didn't really feel like that was going to happen.  Everyone tells me how long the process can be.
I mean, I really didn't think about it that much.  I really didn't think that would be an issue.

Q.  What do you remember from 2007 here in the Presidents Cup?
HUNTER MAHAN:  I remember most‑‑ kind of playing the front nine, I remember most of those holes.  I kind of remembered kind of the shape of them, what they looked like, kind of what clubs we hit.  The greens are a little fuzzier.  I don't quite remember the greens and so on and so forth, but I remember obviously the tournament was probably in October‑ish, so the rough was a little bit lusher, it was a little colder, so I think the course was probably playing a little bit longer.  I think this week it's going to play a little shorter compared to back then because hopefully we'll have better weather going out and some warmer weather.
The rough is a little thinner, I think, but other than that, the greens‑‑ I played the first couple holes, the greens had some good bounce to them, which I think before they were pretty soft.  I think it was pretty wet at that time.  So they're probably going to be a little softer after this rain, I think, but the course is probably going to be a little faster.  The ball is going to go a little further.
I remember most of the holes, kind of the shapes of them.

Q.  How about the overall experience?  You were a rookie, right?
HUNTER MAHAN:  Yeah, I mean, the whole experience was amazing, probably overwhelming at the time.  I probably didn't‑‑ I probably got too amped up probably for the event and kind of everything going on, and to be around Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson kind of in that way was a dream come true, and at the same time kind of nerve‑racking because you want to prove yourself as a rookie, especially being a pick.  You want to go 5‑0 and you want to win the whole thing yourself.  So I learned a lot from that kind of experience in that week, and I had a great time.  I worked myself up for really nothing.  The only thing, I wish I would have enjoyed the moments more and just kind of slowed myself down.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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