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October 7, 2009

Hunter Mahan


Q. How much did you have to give him?
HUNTER MAHAN: I gave him -- I think I gave him five a side. It was two against three, because it was these two old guys and Lucas against me and Sean and I gave him five a side. And the front nine was okay because the front nine is a lot longer than the back nine. The back nine he played a lot better. He had a few changes from the front to the back.
We were okay. We won the front nine easily, but the back nine is different, it's a lot shorter. He played a lot better on the back.

Q. What did you play?
HUNTER MAHAN: We played foursomes, green dots. I asked him who is the best player in the League, and he said Kobe, which is what I thought he would say, because they are very much the same player, they take defense and offense very seriously and are extremely competitive. He's the best ever without a doubt.

Q. Your caddie was responsible for the jerseys, did you have anything to do with the assignment of the numbers?
HUNTER MAHAN: My caddie John Wood is a huge Giants fan. He was born and raised in Sacramento. So he's a huge fan. 22, Will Clark was his idol. He got to caddie for him in New Orleans on a Wednesday Pro-Am and I think they have remained friends since then.
As players, our responsibility to give to the fans as best we can and it came out great I thought and hopefully they enjoyed it and hopefully we can raise some good money for charity with it.

Q. A couple of the numbers, Tim Lincicome -- Mickelson -- was that who was making fun of Mickelson's fast ball?
HUNTER MAHAN: Well, Mickelson thinks he can pitch, but that's not the case. They are both lefties, but Phil thinks he can do everything. He can't pitch for nothing, so no.

Q. Steve Stricker was wearing Barry Bonds.
HUNTER MAHAN: Somebody had to be Barry -- (inaudible.)

Q. And finally 24, Willie Mays goes to Tiger. I heard Steve Williams had no idea who that was.
HUNTER MAHAN: He's from New Zealand. He doesn't know any baseball stuff. So, from the greatest to the greatest.

Q. And just Harding Park, a little scruffy around the edges, some think it's a hidden jewel, what's your take?
HUNTER MAHAN: It's a good track. It's a good track. You know, you get it in the right shape, it's a really, really good track. But it's a lot of fun to play. It's beautiful. The setting on some of these holes is just magnificent and it's a lot of fun to play.

Q. You guys don't play this style, the 1920s traditional layout on TOUR that much.
HUNTER MAHAN: No, for some reason these designers are making them big and long and fat greens and not a whole lot of creativity. It's really exceptional to play golf courses that play like this, that have not changed in a long time, and it's a lot of fun.

Q. How did you feel -- were you relaxed -- (Inaudible.)
HUNTER MAHAN: I was loose and relaxed. The Presidents Cup experience helped a lot, just getting that team competition, just getting that out of your system and getting into the same routine. But I think it does help when you've had guys for a long time that have -- I won't say struggled, but have got beat up a little bit by the Europeans that played very, very well. I think we just came in there with fresh faces and just went out there to play golf. We didn't feel like we owed the Europeans anything. We were just going to go play golf and try to win, and Paul had a great plan for everyone.
Honestly we didn't do much but play golf and have fun.

Q. Do you think you helped Justin a little bit?
HUNTER MAHAN: I don't know if I helped him but he helped me. He's as steady as they come. He's very competitive, have you keep everything under wraps, and he's not afraid of any kind of situation.

Q. International Team this year, do you think those guys can infuse some life and some energy, the rookies?
HUNTER MAHAN: For sure they can. Ryo is a great player, Camilo is rising up there quickly. Yang. They have plenty of talent. The toughest thing is to gel so many different cultures into one group, I think that's their hardest part.

Q. Do you have a favorite format at all?
HUNTER MAHAN: Not really. It's a fun -- alternate-shot I think is always interesting trying to find the right partner that you guys have a good chemistry with and play someone similar with, so we are not asking about how they want -- you can just go out and hit it and play your game.

Q. What you get together is it that different --
HUNTER MAHAN: It's not too bad because we can change off the tee now, so it's not that big of a deal, I don't think.

Q. With all of the talk of Ryder Cup versus Presidents Cup and this being funner, isn't that fun maybe to have two that have a little different feeling?
HUNTER MAHAN: I think so. I think The Ryder Cup stands alone. It's been going on for so long, and a lot of history there.
This is, you know, in it's eighth year I think and it's a lot of fun. It's great for the fans, it's great for all of these different countries to come and see us play. I think we are out here with the right attitude and we are just trying to have a good time and play some good golf.

Q. With regard to how much trash talk there is, will that carry forward to next year?
HUNTER MAHAN: The other team -- honestly we haven't seen them. We haven't said one word to them all week. We have been -- it's on our own tee. We are having such a good time with each other. We don't spend this much time together. We see each other but we don't spend time together. It's nice, kind of like a meeting, a once a year meeting of having a good time with one another.
Most of the trash talking comes off the golf course. You have some games on the golf course to make things fun, but it's a week for us where we connect.

Q. Tell me about the golf course, it's one of those golf courses that seems more like a major championship venue.
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, you have got the front nine, which is tough. You have got some good par 5s, and some good par 4s and you have the back nine where you can be aggressive. The last three holes are going to be interesting because they are all shorter birdie holes, so you'll have to make birdies there. But it's a lot of fun and you can make some eagles out there. I think it's a well-positioned golf course, and it should be a lot of fun.

Q. The team aspect of it, tell me about the fun you guys are having away from the golf course, because like you've said before, you get to spend a little bit of time with these guys that you don't during the season.
HUNTER MAHAN: It's fun, these guys are great to be around. You can ask them golf questions and you can ask them life questions. It's fun. And we are watching baseball, watching football and we are just having a lot of fun with one another.

Q. Where do you rank in the ping-pong table, somewhere in the middle?
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, I'm in the middle. I'm one of those guys that can sneak up and bite somebody. In the long run, I'm not going to beat the greats.

Q. We have to talk about the X Game Pro-Am. I heard from your dad that it was unbelievable.
HUNTER MAHAN: It was unbelievable. It was interesting. It was interesting.

Q. What was the -- I hear the Tiger/Phil battle happened last night.
HUNTER MAHAN: I honestly don't know anything about it. I know they have their yearly challenge, but I didn't know it was yesterday. I'm assuming it happened after the dinner because I didn't see it. Honestly I went straight to my room. I did not see it. I was out drinking Scotch with Sean. I can't believe he told you that. He doesn't know when to shut up I guess.
It's very competitive. Last year, I think Montréal was very fun, because Phil beat him the first time and as my caddie said, Tiger went into major mode. He literally stepped away and turned his head away and came back and he was like a whole new man. They don't dislike each other, they are just not good friends, but they hate losing to one another, there's no doubt about that.

Q. (Inaudible.)
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, I think my game got better really. I think I just improved in my putting and in majors. I think in majors I was a lot more solid, and you know, just improving in all areas. Really if I can get my short game to where my ball-striking is, I'm going to be really excited about my game and hopefully win a lot more.

Q. DC, in Tiger's tournament, you sounded more confident than I've of seen you; for years did people tell you, you don't know how good you are and that kind of thing?
HUNTER MAHAN: People tell you that, but it's one of those things if you don't believe it, it doesn't matter. You have to believe it.
You would rather have belief in yourself than no one believing you, so I needed to kind of find that in myself, and at times, I still need to find it. But if you can believe in yourself, it's amazing what can happen.
I believe in myself, having a plan of what I want to do and how I want to play, and at the same time keeping things simple.

Q. What parts of your game?
HUNTER MAHAN: I think my putting got better. I think I finally figured out -- putting is tricky because it's so personal. You can have the best putter in the world tell you what to do and have it not work for you.

Q. What did you figure out and what did you change?
HUNTER MAHAN: Putting I think is to me a lot of setup. I have to get more straight up and out over the ball, almost to my left side, so I get my hands ahead. And as soon as I get my hands ahead, the stroke is going to be starting on a better line really. I get my hands back, and the stroke just doesn't go well from there.

Q. Where did you make that change?

Q. So you pre-set your weight forward?
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah. If you get your weight back, set your hands back, it's just going to take -- it's just going to be the whole line and your whole stroke is going to be out of whack really. If you're not setting up for that, you're not trying to do that, it's not going to work.
So just a little thing there and trying to release the putter head.

Q. Talk to us about the team competition.
HUNTER MAHAN: It's a lot of fun. You get to hang out with these guys for a week and kind of reconnect with them. I don't spend too much time with them during the year like you do here and you have a lot of fun and you're just trying to enjoy yourself and get your game ready and have fun on Thursday.

Q. The trash talking?
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, we're going out and playing and having a lot of fun and it comes off the golf course. We have a lot of football going. We have all kind of baseball going on right now. Everyone has got their teams and we are having a lot of fun with it.

Q. (Inaudible.)
HUNTER MAHAN: He's the greatest. No matter who you like you have to respect the guy for his tough nature, his competitiveness and his willingness to do whatever it takes. It's unbelievable having him. I knew it was going to be great but it's far exceeded my expectations.

Q. I asked Zach, a player in an individual game, and getting a chance to be on a team and now you get a chance to be on a team with MJ.
HUNTER MAHAN: It's unbelievable. It's just one of those things you never thought would happen, like golf in the Olympics, you just never dream it's going to happen. It's just a lot of fun. Ultimate team guy. He made everyone else better, and he's very open with talking to him. You can talk to him openly about anything and that stuff you can't put into words how much it can mean to you.

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