June 30, 2000
JON LESE: We're here with Hunter Mahan, and I just wanted to just before we start kind of give an overview of how Hunter was able to play this week. Canon supports the American Junior Golf Association, and we've done so for over ten years, and in doing so, we provide a sponsor's exemption into the Canon Greater Hartford Open to the AJGA Player of the Year, and Hunter received that recognition last year and was able to play this year, and we will offer that opportunity again for the winner of the AJGA Player of the Year for next year's tournament. One interesting point is that Charles Howell is here today playing as a professional, and he received this exemption in 1996, played in this tournament in 1997, and has turned professional this week and is playing here, and he's the first of the people who we offered this exemption to that have turned professional. Canon also supports the AJGA with the Canon Cup, which Hunter played in last year. And other notable players who participated in that were Stewart Cink, Tiger Woods and many other notable players, but those are of the big ones that participated four or five years ago when they were juniors. So that's all I have to say about that association. Hunter, why don't you talk about your round? How did you do?
HUNTER MAHAN: I did well. I played 15 strong holes, four birdies and just one bogey and played well. And just one hiccup, a bad break caused a triple so that kind of hurt.
JON LESE: What happened on 16?
HUNTER MAHAN: Pulled a club little bit, rolled through on the short grass into the thick rough, and didn't have too much control in that. Kind of shot out there and went into the water, and it dropped in the same spot and made triple there. It wasn't the highlight of my day, for sure.
Q. Was it intimidating for to you play with these guys this week?
HUNTER MAHAN: Starting out, probably Monday and Tuesday, it was a little different, not quite what I'm used to. But, as soon as you start playing, you get used to playing with these guys and it's not as tough. You're really not trying to play the players as much as you're trying to play the course. So I was just really focusing on each individual shot when I was throughout and not worrying about how these guys were playing too much, and not really pressing my game out there too much, to do what they do. I was just trying to play my own game and not worry about it.
Q. Were they generally supportive, your playing partners?
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, they were great guys to play with, real nice, and had good two days with them.
JON LESE: The Canon Cup is a Ryder Cup style format, east of the Mississippi versus west of the Mississippi for juniors and they qualify their tournaments just like the professionals. So throughout the year, people qualify and get to play in the Canon Cup. Is. The pressure being here as an amateur greater than in the Canon Cup?
HUNTER MAHAN: Here junior amateurs aren't expected to do as well. Canon Cup, we're really fighting for respect, and it was just a lot of fun playing out there with the guys, you know, and there's always a back-and-forth. And it was just a great week to play.
JON LESE: So coming here, it's a little different because you don't have that arena golf with the cheering.
HUNTER MAHAN: And not going back and forth as much, just playing golf, more of the normal routine, not too different.
JON LESE: What were you talking about with the players as you were walking some of the holes?
HUNTER MAHAN: Upcoming tournaments, you know, what they do in the off-season and stuff like that. Not too much, I guess, chit-chat today. Just kind of really playing golf and trying to get going out there. We were kind of struggling as a group; so we were trying to pick each other up.
JON LESE: And you're off to USC in the fall?
HUNTER MAHAN: Yes.
JON LESE: To play golf?
HUNTER MAHAN: Yes, hopefully play a little golf.
MICHAEL LAUZIER: The local tournament for the Canon Greater Hartford Jaycees Junior Classic with AJGA players is August 21 through August 24, being held at Continental Country Club in Slimsbury and the proceeds of the Canon Greater Hartford Open, the Greater Hartford Jaycees sponsors the Junior tournament. It will be in our third year this year, and so we're excited about the partnership between the AJGA and the Greater Hartford Jaycees. So it's great players like Hunter who have come along and eventually will come back and play in the Canon Greater Hartford Open as they look to their pro careers.
JON LESE: Are you going to play in that, Hunter?
HUNTER MAHAN: No. I need to get ready for school, prepare a little bit.
Q. Do you think you'll go on to play after high school, after college, professional golf?
HUNTER MAHAN: Hopefully. This week showed me a lot of what I need to work on and what I need to prepare myself for the future, and it was a great learning experience. Really showed me where I need to go, and maybe the time frame I might want to be here. But yeah, definitely I need some -- definitely a big goal of mine in the future.
JON LESE: What do you think was the lesson you learned, the most important lesson today?
HUNTER MAHAN: Patience is a big key out here. You can never get ahead of yourself. Got to always stay within your game and not press too much. You know, bogey is definitely a good number sometimes. You really can't force too much and try to, you know, make something out of something that's really not there. You've just got to stay in your game and take what the course gives you.
Q. Does the tournament as an amateur prepare you in any way for this kind of a tournament, you know, with rules or information, or is it everything you've learned before?
HUNTER MAHAN: The AJGA doesn't provide that many people out here to watch; so it's a little different. All in all, it's not too different. There's a golf course, there's greens, there's holes. You really can't make it too difficult. If you try to get too worked up about the crowds, people asking for your autograph, stuff like that, you're going to get lost. You've really got to stay in the moment. Stay focused on what you have to do and not worry about other stuff.
Q. Are there any pro golfers that you either want to have their style or emulate or think you're most like?
HUNTER MAHAN: It's hard to look at one player and just try to copy him, because there's a lot of great mind players out there. Justin Leonard is a really smart player, knows how to play a golf course. But guys with great short games usually do well out here, and those are guys you want to emulate because if you can putt and chip out here, you're going to do well. So it's something that I feel I need to work on in my game is just work on my short game and get really sharp so I can put trust in it if my irons are not doing so well.
MICHAEL LAUZIER: The Canon Greater Hartford Jaycees during the week will benefit four junior golf charities, and those will be: The First Tree program of Hartford, the Canon Greater Hartford Junior Program, the Canon Greater Hartford Women's Golf Association and the AJGA Golf Scholarship Program.
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