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July 2, 2006

Hunter Mahan


TODD BUDNICK: We welcome Hunter Mahan, runner up here at the 2006 Buick Championship. Four rounds in the 60s, a great tournament for you, your second runner up finish on Tour. Talk a little about the week.

HUNTER MAHAN: A great week I guess. It's a great place to come to. The golf course is always awesome, great shape. The people who come out here always are always very excited, always have a great time. It's just a fun, fun golf course to play.

TODD BUDNICK: You saved your best round today, a 5 under 65. Talk about what went well for you.

HUNTER MAHAN: I was just trying to go out there and have a good day and not worry about what any leaders were doing or anybody else. Just try and take care of my business. I got off to a good start on the first hole and played pretty solid from there.

Q. (Inaudible.)

HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, you know, it's just a great place, a lot of good memories, a lot of good people. You know, I'm just very comfortable here. When I go out there and play, I feel very at ease and very controlled.

Q. (Inaudible.)

HUNTER MAHAN: No. I figured if J.J. has any kind of a good day, I don't really have much of a chance. I'd have to shoot pretty low. He's going to have to come back to me a little bit. That's why I was so concerned with how I was going to play. If he keeps playing the way he's been playing, I don't think anyone is going to catch him.

Q. Were you watching the leaderboard?

HUNTER MAHAN: I tried to really not look at it and just take care of my own business, and if I make a bogey, not let it bother me and just go on.

Q. Did you get the putter going or were you just getting it close enough?

HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, everything, I was hitting a lot of fairways, irons were really solid. Gave myself really good opportunities. I was extremely confident with my putter and had great speed all week. I felt if I had to pick the line I committed to, I had a great chance to make it.

Q. (Inaudible.)

HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, I had not hit a good shot there all week, flared a couple to the right. Hit a really good one there today, right in the middle of face where I was trying to hit it. When it gets a little downhill, it goes pretty far.

Q. Last week was your best finish since Pebble, are you starting to find something a little bit again?

HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, you know, I felt like things have been coming around mentally. That's what's been holding me back. Physically I've been feeling pretty good but just been getting a little bit too frustrated on the golf course and mentally not focusing hard. But the last two weeks I've been focusing extremely hard and have had very good weekends. The weekends have been better than my Thursday and Friday.

Q. Three shots, do you think something like that can happen when you're in your position, do you stay mentally aware just in case, or do you shut it down because it's three shots?

HUNTER MAHAN: Still, I'm more concerned with Ryan (laughter) I'm more concerned about that than anything else. I think J.J. is going to take care of business, unless there's a disaster or something like that. 18 isn't the kind of hole where you can make a triple. You're going to have to hit out of bounds, not like 17 where you can hit it in the water a couple of times. He's through the hard part right now. I think he's going to be free wheeling it.

Q. In the last couple of weeks, have you been thinking about Ryder Cup at all?

HUNTER MAHAN: Not really. I think I'm just trying to get better every day and every tournament and try to get better. That's just going to be a result of me doing the little things right and if that happens, it happens, that's great. But I'm just trying to play golf right now. Obviously that would be an incredible achievement, but I'm just trying to take one step at a time.

Q. You've been out here for a couple years now, you said you've progressed, what's the hardest part about playing tournament golf at this level, 25, 28, 30 weeks a year?

HUNTER MAHAN: It's just so different than college and amateur. I mean, you don't play 25, 30 weeks, you don't play every week and it's just a grind. It's all mental. I mean, it's just the really strong mental guys do incredibly well.

Physically, you know, everyone is pretty good. Everyone's good. The great players may be physically a little bit better, but, I mean, you look on the range at some of those guys, I played with them and I'm like, man, I hit it way by them, hit it closer to the hole, but somehow they score. And that's all it is is scoring out here. It's not about how good you hit it or how long you hit it. It's about getting the ball in the hole. It's about trying to figure that out and figure out how to play your best. It's trying to find how you do it.

Sometimes we get too caught up in trying to figure out how someone else does it instead of trying to find your way. I feel like I'm getting closer to finding my way and doing what I need to do to go out there and play well.

Q. Throughout your round, I don't know if you were close enough to hear all of the cheering that was going on for J.J., did you hear any of that stuff going on?

HUNTER MAHAN: I heard a little bit of it, but you've got to expect it, his hometown here. Anything he does is going to get quite a reception.

I heard a little bit but not too much. We were kind of a couple holes in front of them. I assumed when I was playing that he was making birdies, too. I didn't want to think that he was coming back to me.

Q. Talk about the drive on 18?

HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, I hit it good. I don't want to hit it again, but I hit it good. I don't think I can hit it much further.

TODD BUDNICK: Let's walk through your birdies, No. 1.

HUNTER MAHAN: Good drive down the middle. Hit a nice 8 iron from about 155 I think and the wind was kind of in our face. It was perfect, had a little downhill lie which helped a lot and flighted it perfectly to a couple feet and made a good putt.

4, again, good 3 wood off the tee, right down the middle. I think I had 173, a little downbreeze there and hit an 8 iron and landed 15 feet short and made a really good putt there.

6, bogey, I hit my best drive of the week. That tree on the right kind of comes into play so you kind of have to cut it around almost. I hit a good 3 wood down there and kind of got a funny little lie, kind of downhill and my pitch, I thought I hit it good and it just kind of hit and skidded and went right over the green. Tried to putt it up the green and hit it short. The putt, I didn't hit it hard enough and it fell off.

7, I hit a drive down the right, had about 93 yards and had L wedge to 15 feet and made a good putt.

8, I hit a 7 iron, kind of a big 7 iron, the wind was perfect, it was down so you could shoot it at the green and made a good putt.

10, I hit a good 3 wood right down the middle. We were counting on the wind kind of down and helping there. It seemed like it kind of got lost in those trees there and we were kind of short with an 8 iron from about 193. It was a long ways, we were trying to hit 185, figuring it would hit and roll. Kind of had the wind wrong, had a long putt and 3 putted.

13, good drive and hit it a little fat and hit it up on the green, rolled back into the rough, hit a good chip to two feet and made it.

17, I hit a good 5 wood off the tee. I had 139 to the hole. Just hit kind of a little wedge to, I don't know, ten feet. Kind of a tough shot there, up front, the wind howling down, to about ten feet, made a good putt for birdie there.

18, bombed a drive hit an L wedge, 84 yards, and bounced to about five feet and made a good putt.

TODD BUDNICK: Thank you.

End of FastScripts.

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