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July 5, 2009

Hunter Mahan


NELSON SILVERIO: Hunter Mahan, thanks for spending a few minutes with us here at the AT&T National. Just give us some thoughts on your round. You've been playing well recently, now second place finish. Just some thoughts on your round and your year so far.
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, I feel like I've been hitting it pretty good this year, I just haven't been able to score as I would like. I felt pretty good this week, just haven't had much success on the greens for the first three rounds, and then tough -- there were tough pins today. The pins were extremely tough today, so it was really hard to hit it close. Just got some putts to roll.
10 was a big putt to kind of get the back nine going, and then birdieing 12 and 13 was huge, and obviously four out of the last five was nice.

Q. What was it like waiting all that time? Were you watching it on TV, fidgeting? What were you doing?
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, I grabbed something to eat and was watching. It was funny, I was watching with Elin and the kids and stuff, and then when he missed on 14, I yelled, "Yes," in a joking manner. It wasn't like I was rooting against him, but it was just funny because you usually don't see him miss putts. I just was watching a little bit.
And then around 16 I went to the range just to kind of loosen back up.

Q. 62 on a Sunday at a big tournament is not usually doable by many people.
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, that's -- I love this golf course. I think I had an 8th and a 12th the last two years, so I like playing here. But I think for me, I thought it was out there today. The weather was so good. You know, I feel like I'm driving it great, hitting irons great. If I could just get some putts to fall and get a little momentum, I could maybe post something somewhat low. Yeah, I was really proud of the way I finished.

Q. Do you look back and say I wish I could have had a couple more shots yesterday or Friday?
HUNTER MAHAN: You can, but it's tough to, you know, because that stuff is in the past. Obviously I'm going to work on that stuff and try to get better at it. But it is what it is. I put myself in a little bit of a hole, so I had to shoot low today. I just feel proud that I was able to do that.

Q. This confidence, does it take you perhaps to that next step that you've been looking for?
HUNTER MAHAN: I don't know (laughing). Hopefully. Hopefully it will. But I've got a lot of confidence in what I'm doing and the player I'm turning into. So I'm excited about what -- I feel like I can win every tournament that I play in, so that's always a good feeling.

Q. Where were you watching when you yelled, "Yes"?
HUNTER MAHAN: We were just in kind of the locker room area, eating, eating area, family dining and stuff.

Q. Elin and the kids were there?
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, they were there. I saw them beforehand and had a few words with them before and joking and stuff like that. I figured it was just a good time for that since he had six holes left to make one birdie.

Q. That's when he missed on --
HUNTER MAHAN: I think it was like 14.

Q. When he's out there, I mean, do you just sort of expect him to make that putt on 16?
HUNTER MAHAN: I went to the range so I didn't see it. I saw the chip, and I was shocked that he didn't hit it there a foot or so, and I just went straight to the range. My caddie was looking at his phone and said he made it.
I mean, he's pretty good. He knows what he's doing. He knows how to play this game better than anybody. I thought he would get to probably 13 or 14 actually, maybe even 15.
You know, after I saw that he birdied 10, so not surprising.

Q. Have there been many times when you've come from this far back and gotten yourself into contention?
HUNTER MAHAN: I've had times to get kind of close to contention. Not in a situation like this where I've had to sit around and wait and kind of see what would happen. I've had -- playing the weekend to me is just an opportunity to go low because you've played the course twice. You've played it on Wednesday, you've played it a lot more. So I always feel like, heck, I've had a lot more experience on it so I should play better on it, and I always -- I just love playing on Sundays when you have an opportunity like this to go low.
I think the course was in great shape and the weather was fantastic, so you had -- I thought it was out there.

Q. You've obviously made a steady progression, Ryder Cup, U.S. Open leaderboard, 62 here. What are a couple of the keys that are behind that?
HUNTER MAHAN: You know, obviously getting your game better. It's a big jump from college golf to pro golf and finding out what kind of player you are and what you need to work on and maturing as a player.
For me it was just kind of believing that I should be contending and I should be winning events, really believing that going to the U.S. Open I should have a chance to win this week because I'm good enough to do that. Really believing that. People have been telling me, you don't know how good you are or whatever, but it doesn't mean anything if I don't believe it, and I've started to really, really believe it and really being -- just trying to go out there and play golf because I know I can do it. I know I can win, I know I can shoot a low round. I can come back or take the lead, and I can do all that stuff.

Q. A lot of golfers wonder what it's like to go down in a showdown on Sunday with Tiger, one-two. It happens to you and you're sitting in the clubhouse the whole time.
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, I think everybody was watching AK and Tiger and expecting kind of a battle there. I knew that -- I decided to go low today. That's the only thing I was really concerned about. I figured with great players up on the leaderboard like that, I figured they would get to at least 13- or 14-under.

Q. What do you think it would have been like tomorrow if you had won this thing and you shot a course record, 62, overtaking Tiger? What might that have meant to your career or your visibility?
HUNTER MAHAN: I don't know. We'll never know, I guess. I don't know. I mean, it would have helped, obviously, winning Tiger's event. I think it's kind of nice that his event and I wouldn't have won yet. That would have been kind of neat.
No, I'm very proud of how I played, whether I won or lost. It was kind of in Tiger's court there.
I'm very proud of how I played. I'm not really -- I can't really think into the future of stuff like that, but I'm excited about what I'm doing right now. I feel I can't wait for the British Open to start. Really looking forward to that week. I love playing over there.
This gives me a lot of confidence that I know I can shoot a low round at any given point.

Q. What's the go-low mentality, and how is that different than your usual mentality?
HUNTER MAHAN: Really no different mentality. I think it's the same thing. It's just getting focused on the task at hand, not worrying about anyone else other than myself and what I need to do to go out there and play well.
For me I have to be easy on myself, not get upset if I don't hit a perfect shot, and just keep believing that you're going to find it, putts are going to fall, because it's been kind of -- for me just 1-under, 1-under, then 2-under, just not much going on, haven't really gotten any momentum, so just kind of believing that things are going to turn around, you'll make a putt or two, get some momentum, and it finally came around like that today.
Q. This is kind of a loaded question, but how much better, given that it was the final round, given all the pins are tucked, how much better is a 62 today than on Thursday?
HUNTER MAHAN: I don't know. I don't know. I mean, it was -- playing Thursday you could tell it was out there. It wasn't really shocking that AK shot 62. I mean, he's a good player, loves this golf course obviously, and yeah, you could see that for sure.
Today, I don't know, I saw it, too. I thought it was out there. Pins were definitely tough on the front nine. I mean, I had 15-footers that I was lagging up there because of where the pins were. But I don't know, I feel like I'm more prepared for the course since I've played it three times beforehand. I feel more comfortable on Sundays sometimes than I do on Thursdays. That's just kind of the way I feel.

Q. You're looking forward to the British you said. What will you do now from this point to prepare?
HUNTER MAHAN: I'll probably put my clubs away. Probably won't see them for a while. I've been on the road for three weeks, playing great for three weeks, but it's been a grind. Anytime you play an Open it's a grind, and especially this year being five days of that. And then playing last week, kind of being in the hunt there a little bit, I was behind Kenny and Kenny played great.
But I'm just going to throw them away, relax. I want to be fresh, because any time you play a major it's tough. It's going to be tough.
Turnberry, I've heard it's a great course. I haven't seen it, but I know it's going to be hard, so I need to be mentally, mentally rested and really focused on the task at hand.

Q. When will you go over to do any practice?
HUNTER MAHAN: No, I'll get there Monday.
NELSON SILVERIO: Hunter Mahan, thank you.

End of FastScripts

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