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May 15, 2018

Hunter Mahan

Irving, Texas

SHARON SHIN: Please help me welcome into the Interview Room at the AT&T Byron Nelson, Hunter Mahan.

Hunter, you're making your 10th start here at this event. Could you give us a comment about the new venue here at Trinity Forest Golf Course?

HUNTER MAHAN: I've been a member at Trinity since the inception. It's been a lot of fun to see the course start from dirt and turn into what it is today with all the grandstands and all the signage out there and all the AT&T and FedExCup and Byron Nelson signs everywhere.

It's come along way in the last few years and in the last couple weeks. It's great to have an event like this at Trinity Forest. I think that Ben and Bill are obviously super excited to have an event on their course and, you know, Joe "Naswood" and Harrison Frazier, AT&T, they put a lot of time into this.

You know, I think all the members are super excited about having, you know, the best golfers in the world come here and play.

It's a start to something new and hopefully it's something that will last a long time. Hoping the fields get better and better each year and becomes one of the best events on Tour, I think with the partnerships we have with Dallas and AT&T.

Q. Your foundation, the Mahan Foundation is hosting a special match play event today. Could you kind of talk to us about the significance of that event and how it came to be?
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah. My sister-in-law was diagnosed with leukemia, AML, end of January during Palm Springs and we knew a few weeks later we wanted to do an event or something to help with her cause and help the cause with so many suffering from this cancer and, you know, we're lucky enough to have AT&T and Trinity Forest and Tom "Dundin", "Richie Herron" allow us to go use the par 3 course here.

It's great, so many players, because we wanted to have something easy for players and for our amateurs and some celebrities that come out, something really easy for them travel-wise and logistics-wise so we get to use the par 3 course by the range and it's been a great -- a difficult process in so many ways and it's something that my wife and I are obviously very passionate about and we've the got the matches out for swabs of people to be matches and be in the bank -- when you have leukemia most of the time you need a bone marrow transplant.

They create the bank from bone marrow transplants and hopefully we'll get a bunch of people this week to sign up for that and be transplants because when you're doing that you are saving a life and so it's extremely important and hopefully we put a spotlight on that and, you know, I want to thank the pros for coming out today.

This is a new you golf course and a place where playing it once is great but you'd like to play it three, four times hopefully before Thursday.

So, we feel really special and honored that the pros have taken time out of their schedules this week to come over and play and obviously means a lot to my wife and I and Jason, who is my brother-in-law, and the struggles that we are they're going through.

SHARON SHIN: We'll open it up for questions.

Q. Jordan, tried to put a number on the rounds he's played out here. The best he could do was somewhere in the range of 25 to 40.
How many rounds have you played and how much of an advantage do you think you guys have sort of being here on the grounds?

HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah. I probably played probably more rounds than Jordan probably, 50, 60, maybe 70 rounds here. It's different. It's strange to come around and play because I just kind of know what to do.

I just pull driver on these holes and 3-woods on these holes. But, you know, the nuance of the course has kind of changed a lot. It's matured so much over the past, probably, two years so it's not exactly the same -- it's not like you're getting the same course everyday or every month.

It's still growing, still new and still maturing and every time I play it -- every time that someone plays it they're kind of scratching their head on it a little bit.

The next time they play it and next time they play it, oh, they start to understand it, understand the nuance of the golf course and understand it's kind of a second shot golf course and so many different ways to play the hole depending on the winds or pin position, that's could change your strategy off the tee.

It's a course that definitely helps to play a lot because I do know how it plays with the different winds but it's a course that's -- you know, I think any player, any type of player can have success on it and it doesn't really favor anybody, which I think is great, and the condition of it right now is just awesome.

I mean we finally got some warm temperatures that's allowed the grass to grow and I think this week the temperatures that we're getting and the weather that we're going to get is really going to be an incredible venue and I think it's only going to get better and better from here on out.

I think the player's opinions are probably -- I don't know really what they are right now but I think throughout the week they're going to understand it more and more and are going to like it more and more.

Q. How has your sister's battle with cancer affected your perspective on life in general?
HUNTER MAHAN: It's made you -- it's made us, my wife and I and just appreciate the little things probably more, just taking our kids to school, picking them up, spending time with them.

Refocuses you on the important things in life more than you know -- we all know what's important but, you know, until something like this hits you you gain a whole new perspective on the things you think about in times like this for sure.

Q. Hunter, you're playing this week but if you were to come out and just watch and having played the course so much, what hole do you think would be the most entertaining for you knowing the golf course and the way the ball reacts on the ground?
HUNTER MAHAN: I love 14, the par 5. You're kind of hitting uphill on your tee shot so kind of a blind tee shot, don't really see it land. Then it's a completely blind second shot into the green. Your lay up isn't really blind, you kind of know where to see it. Second shot is really interesting.

So that is probably my favorite hole because I've done everything on that hole. I've made a disaster out of it and made a couple 3s on it that were really easy. It's really difficult to get the line on your second shot into the green. So, that's my favorite hole.

But there's quite a few great viewing sights where you can see multiple shots into greens and multiple shots.

Like 15 green, God, 15 green right there and 13 green right there and then there's 5 right there. There's just a lot of areas where you can see a whole lot of golf where you don't have to move very much which is kind of I think really exciting for a spectator who doesn't have to walk all day, they can actually walk 200 yards and see a ton of golf which I think is a great kind of experience and the way they set the tents up there, you're going to get to see a whole lot of golf from a lot of different angles which is neat to see kind of from up high I think is pretty cool.

Q. Hunter, will Jason and your wife, will they get a chance to watch you play this week or are they otherwise distracted by the off-the-course worries in their lives?
HUNTER MAHAN: They're going to be out here. Jason, you know, played -- was a professional golfer. He's the head coach at SMU right now.

He's got in some friends here that are here to see him and they're playing this week so it's a welcome respite and distraction for him a little bit to hang with some buddies he hasn't seen in a long time, they haven't seen him and they haven't been able to show that support, interactions, you know, like they probably would have.

So, I think he's going to get to watch a bunch of friends this week. You know, I see him all the time so he doesn't need to see me. I'm really happy for him in that aspect and a lot of his friends are playing today in our event.

So, it's definitely -- I think he's going to get a respite from all the worry and have a little bit of joy this week.

And my wife will be around, you know. Today she's been working her tail off to get this event going and stuff so she'll be around all week to, you know, to interact with everybody, too.

Q. How would you characterize the state of your game and what would you hope to get out of this week from a competition standpoint?
HUNTER MAHAN: My state of the game feels great. I'm just missing those moments, putts and basically I just -- I'm hitting it good. I need to hit it better, need to hit it closer to the hole.

We know all the analytics in golf right now, which is great, and I know if I hit it five feet closer that helps my chances to make more putts.

I just have to hit it a little bit better. I'm driving it great and putting it great. I'm doing a lot of things great. I'm not hitting it as close to the hole as I need to string in birdies together.

So, I'm excited to play, you know. I'm excited to go practice, excited to play golf and enjoy the challenges that come with that which is always good and continue to work at it because I do enjoy to do it.

So, anytime I get to play, play against great players like this and compete, it's always going to make me better and test myself. I look forward to this week. It's become a special event for a lot of reasons and really excited about showing this course off to all the players and all the great, great fans of the Tour.

Q. Hunter, maybe can you tell me your best and worse scores here and also talking about the course in terms of made to be -- to play hard and fast but I don't think we're going to have those conditions; just kind of talk about what you see as a good score out here, maybe a winning score.
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah. I think the course is probably going to play slower than it's intended to play, being the first year and being this course is still growing. I think the true vision of this golf course isn't going to be quite realized just yet.

This course is really, feels very elemental from the aspect it's using all the elements of kind of Dallas, we're going to get that wind, which is great and you're going to get to use the terrain of the golf course to your advantage.

So, I think it's a golf course that can really adapt and change and still play really fair. I haven't heard any players say this place isn't unfair or real challenging or anything, because they're able to control the speed of the greens and the speed of the grass and I think there's going to be -- you can make some birdies in clusters out here, reachable par-5s, reachable par-4, maybe even another reachable par-4 depending on the tees and wind.

The adaptability is kind of what I love about this golf course. I played from it all different tees on all different holes and seen all different kinds of shots, which is a lot of fun to play.

When you play something over and over between the fact that you get to play the same course over and over again but seem to hit totally different shots all the time and totally different clubs all the time is a lot of fun.

You know, scores, I mean anything -- I'm guessing, you know, 15-under is going to be a good score, you know. I wouldn't -- but you never know. You never know how it's really going to play with a bunch of great players on it.

I would never thought 18-under would win at Players so you just don't know how conditions are going to play.

But I think we'll get a little bit of wind, which is great, and warm temperatures so the ball will be flying and I think it's just going to be a great -- it's a great start to Trinity Forest and the AT&T.

Q. Hunter, where do you stand or how do you view green reading books and how -- do you see those being useful this week on this golf course?
HUNTER MAHAN: Green reading books?

Q. The lines, the new --
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I like -- obviously I like the green reading books. I use -- I use those books each week.

You know, it's information and this week it is going to be -- the greens -- lot of greens are big but they're not that big so the actual putting surfaces are generally kind of pretty average to small.

There's a lot of distraction on this course. A lot of distraction on the greens.

So, I think the green books will definitely help because there's a lot to look at that can influence your decision-making and to kind of see it with the greens book, if you knew how to read it and understand it, which some guys do and some guys don't. Sometimes you use it, sometimes they don't.

It's information that used the right way I think is definitely effective.

SHARON SHIN: Thank you for your time and good luck this week.

HUNTER MAHAN: Thank you.

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