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June 24, 2009

Hunter Mahan


THE MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Hunter Mahan to the interview room here at the Travelers Championship, 2007 Travelers Champion. Coming off a good week last week, a Top 10 at Bethpage. Just want you to open up with a couple of general comments on kind of assessing your game as we head into the week?
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, it's good to be here in Hartford. Had some past success, so I'm excited to be here. The game feels like it's in good order, so, I'm excited to kick this week off.
THE MODERATOR: If my memory serves me correctly, you played 15 events this year and have yet to miss the cut. You've obviously been consistent throughout the year. Actually, I don't think you've missed a cut since the middle of 2008. I don't know if you're keeping track, but you've got to feel good at least about the consistency part of it.
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, yeah, it's something I wanted to do was just be consistent. Give myself a chance every week and improve in a few areas of my game, which I think I've done. So it feels good being able to go out there and play and not have to protect anything. Just go out there and play and try to contend each week.

Q. What is it about this course that obviously it fits your eye? What is it about it that you have had such success here?
HUNTER MAHAN: I've played here a bunch. You know, I played here as a Junior in '99 or 2000, I think. I just like the course, just the set up of it. It just suits my eye pretty well. I think it plays to my strengths, I guess.
I feel like I'm a good driver of the ball, good ball striker. And I just have a good touch around the greens. I feel like I can read the greens really well. I just kind of have a great sense, a great feel for them. I can see the ball going in the hole.
I just have a lot of confidence when I step on the greens that I can make any putt. And I've had some good rounds here, so now I just have confidence in what I can do on this golf course.

Q. Are you back to a regular schedule after all of the stoppages? Do you realize it's Wednesday?
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, I mean, in the sense of this week I feel like I'm kind of back on track. Yeah, last week was a long week. I got there, played on Sunday, and then didn't play Monday and played Tuesday, Wednesday.
So I just kind of tried to figure out the course and tried to rest in between and get as much rest as we could, because it was a Long -- starting on Thursday, didn't even hit a shot on Thursday. So it was a long week, you know. Kind of not knowing what was going to happen. It's always weird.

Q. It seeps to be a lot more sunny outside now. Are you glad everything's kind of back to normal instead of being rainy and not knowing when you're going to tee off?
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, it's nice knowing. I mean, the course itself is in great shape, so it will be nice to on get this place a little harder, a little faster. I think this place plays a lot better that way.
It will be nice to not have them roll out and have to deal with weather delays and stuff like that for a week. It's nice to just get back on a normal PGA TOUR schedule and play well this week. This is a place I like to be and I'm excited to be here.

Q. Hunter, coming after the Open at Bethpage, a long, physical, mental drain. The adjustments that you have to make, what are they coming to a regular tour stop so quickly?
HUNTER MAHAN: For me, I didn't do anything yesterday. I tried to get as much rest as I can before the tournament. Mentally just try to recoup from last week and get all that stuff out of me. Just played 18 today this morning and just tried to see the course and get a sense of how it's going to play.
I feel like I got that pretty well. And I'll just try to take it easy today and get ready for tomorrow. You know, try to just forget about stuff that happened last week and try to get mentally and physically ready for the week. For me, I've just got to get away from it for a few days and focus on this week.
Luckily, this is a place I like to be. If it was anywhere else, it would be a little more difficult being here somewhere I've had success is a pretty easy transition.

Q. I believe Tiger Woods and yourself have Top 10s in both Masters and the U.S. Open this year. What can you kind of attribute that success at such a high level event?
HUNTER MAHAN: Well, I love playing majors. I look forward to every one. Every one has its own kind of challenges. But just the atmosphere, the people in the crowd, you just have a sense that it's just the best kind of golf, you know, because it's hard, it's tough.
You got the best players in the world. They can't get lucky. There is no really anybody that goes out there and wins or contends that hasn't been there before. It's just such a fair test. It's such a great test mentally and physically that it's easy.
I just feel so comfortable playing in a major. You just kind of know what to expect, I think, because you know it's going to be hard. It's going to be a long, tough week. So I just really enjoyed the challenge.
I love, I mean, I always love Augusta. Playing there is just awesome. Like Bethpage a lot. It suits my game really well. And the course playing as long and tough as it did, it was brutal. But I just love the layout, you know.
My swing was really pretty much on track all week. So, the U.S. Open I think fit my game really well, because I'm such a good driver and iron player that I feel pretty comfortable playing those type of courses. So every time I get to play it, it's a lot of fun for me.

Q. Did you breakthrough on that one?
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, I thought being in the hunt and playing with Phil on Sunday in the last three groups there was a lot of fun. It was a great experience. And I feel like my game is ready to win at that level.

Q. Did you feel a little snake bit when you hit the pin and you end up 40 feet away?
HUNTER MAHAN: No, not snake bitten. I couldn't have been happier with the shot, the way it felt. The way it was flying in the air. It looked perfect. And those pins are different from most pins. Those are like metal pins. I mean, they're firm.
Once I heard it hit, I saw it. Sometimes you hit a pin and it hits and the ball just goes down and rolls away. I mean, this thing, it hit and it was gone. As soon as it hit it, it was flying away, so. It's just one of those things.
I take only positive stuff from last week. Man, I hit it so good that last day. There were some pressure shots, so I was really proud of how I played and learned a lot about what I needed to do to win a major. So I don't feel snake bitten, it's just one of those things.

Q. You've kind of been among the tragedy of the PGA TOUR with Kenny green's accident? Can you describe the mood? Was everyone supportive of each other?
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, every week I think we're -- you know, it is kind of like a fraternity, because we see each other every week for 30-some weeks a year. We get to meet the wives and the families and stuff like that, so...
You know, I've spent a little time with Amy at the last couple of Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup, and she's just so much fun to be around. It was a shock to hear that.
I'd never met Ken Green, but I know guys like Calcavecchia have known him for a long time. And to hear about Chris Smith on I think it was Sunday or Monday we heard about it. It's just unbelievable. I couldn't imagine, couldn't imagine going through stuff like that.
You know, it's weird. Right now I think we're trying to give them all their space, you know. Trying to handle this and let them be with their families and stuff. But, you know, when time passes, I think as players we'll do what we can to help them out. We're obviously here for them and here for everybody. But it's a tough situation to go through three kind of tragedies like that. It's just very tough.

Q. I was going to ask about hitting the pin on 16, but you already went through that?
THE MODERATOR: We appreciate your time, as always, and best of luck this week.

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