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August 21, 2008

Hunter Mahan


LAURA HILL: Hunter, thanks for coming in. Great start and a nice finish on 18. You have to be pretty pleased with your opening round 62. I think it's your lowest opening round of the season.
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, I wanted to play well today. I played so bad at the PGA, I wanted to get that out of my system and just play golf today, and I did. I was looking forward to this week and today. It's a great venue, great golf course, and looking forward to the next couple of days.

Q. When you walk off 14 after making that banana putt, did you start thinking to yourself, with the par 5, do you start thinking, I can shoot Lord knows what?
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, there were some birdie holes ahead of me so I thought I could get to 10. Didn't birdie the hole I thought I would. But yeah, I felt like I played pretty solid all day. Gave myself two good looks coming in.
Yeah, I was surprised to shoot so low, I didn't have any idea what was going to be a good score out here.

Q. How big was the eagle on the first hole, and how did that jump start your round today?
HUNTER MAHAN: I don't know, you're just trying to get into the round and kind of build some momentum on your side. I hit two really good shots. I hit it, and I hit it exactly the way I wanted to, and it went in; that rarely happens. I was surprised, and excited.

Q. What club was it?
HUNTER MAHAN: It was a 98-yard sand wedge.

Q. What degree sand wedge?

Q. Your week at the PGA, you had a lot of eyeballs on you for obviously a lot of reasons; can you sort of tell us what that experience was like? I know you were doing a lot of things that weren't necessarily related to golf with clarifying and apologizing. You got pretty beat up I guess in certain circles.
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, it was a pretty tough week, but you learn from your mistakes and it was something I learned from. It wasn't an easy week and the golf course was hard, too, so it was double hard.
It's just something, I made a mistake and learn from it and try to move on from it. I talked to the right people and clarified everything and got everything out in the open with them. I think it turned out fine in the end.

Q. Was this course this scorable today? Is it that easy?
HUNTER MAHAN: Well, it's definitely not that easy. It's perfect conditions. You've got great weather. The course is in perfect shape right now. Playing in the morning helped a lot, and the greens were a little bit more receptive. In the afternoon, it's going to be tough and it's going to firm out a little bit.
But you can give yourself a lot of good looks I think, if you hit a lot of fairways.

Q. Are you still kind of looking at this as an audition for Ryder Cup spots? You were the first guy off the tee in Montréal last year, obviously enjoyed the position and held up well under pressure. In theory, there's no reason not to think why you shouldn't be included on the eligibility list, I guess.
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, I had a great time at The Presidents Cup. Enjoyed the whole experience. It was amazing. You know, I didn't play well enough to make the team on points, so I have to go another way. Luckily there's four picks.
I think, you know, Captain Azinger, I don't know exactly what he's thinking with the picks, but I think he's going to pick the best players he can. And it was a good move having the picks a little bit later and see what guys are playing well, and build a little momentum from the FedExCup and roll into The Ryder Cup.
We'll see. I would love to be a pick, but got to earn it, too. Looking forward to that challenge and the opportunity the next couple of weeks.

Q. Could you talk about putting the new putter in the bag today?
HUNTER MAHAN: Well, I put it in after the PGA, so I've been using it for two weeks now. It's a PING -- it's one of the new putters. I think it's called the D66. It's the new weighted putters. You can kind of interchange the weights on them.
As soon as I grabbed it, put it down, it just looked good to me. I liked the feel and just been using it the last couple of weeks and been feeling great. Got a pretty good feeling on these greens.

Q. I think you had a 62 at Westchester last year.

Q. Same tournament, different course; is there any correlation or coincidence?
HUNTER MAHAN: I don't think so. They are both really good golf courses. I like them both. You know, it's a shame we had to leave Westchester. Hopefully we'll be back there. But they came to a really good golf course this week, that's for sure. They didn't downgrade. Definitely, if I can keep that up, I'll be excited.

Q. Holes 1, 2, 3, 4, the earlier holes are easier to score. Tomorrow you start on the back nine; do you still think you can put up the same numbers as today or closer?
HUNTER MAHAN: It's going to be tougher. The greens are going to dry out and it's going to be a little harder, a little faster.
I think so. I think anyone can. There's a lot of good players here and you can throw up a good number like that. You just have to hit good shots. Nothing special, no big secret. The greens are perfect. I think you can make a lot of putts out here.

Q. Did Nicklaus breaking the news to you that you were first off in Montréal --

Q. Kind of keeping my Ryder Cup theme, what was your reaction to that?
HUNTER MAHAN: I think he told me the day before, "We're going to throw you off with Stricker." I was excited and nervous, and yeah, a bunch of feelings at that time. You can't wait to get out there. But I learned a lot from the experience. I think I was a little too excited throughout the week, wanted it a little too bad. But it was fun, it was great. The first team out there, playing with Stricker was great, he's such a veteran and a solid, solid player, and we had a great time.
It was great though. I remember talking to Sean (O'Hair), if we could both make the team and be out first, because I think the first team can definitely build something for everyone else.
LAURA HILL: Thank you so much and good luck the rest of the week.

End of FastScripts

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