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January 27, 2010

Hunter Mahan


MARK WILLIAMS: Hunter Mahan, thanks for joining us at the Farmers Insurance Open. T11 here last year was your best finish in this tournament in I think five or six starts, 66 in the final round. Talk about coming back here again. It's your first start of the season this year, and it is a Ryder Cup year, and I know that you've got some goals there, so if you can just talk about that.
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, being a Californian it's nice to be back here. I love playing the West Coast. I finally had a good kind of tournament last year, I'm looking forward to playing this year, and it's nice that Farmers Insurance came up big for us and saved this event for this year. Hopefully we can continue a partnership for a long time.
MARK WILLIAMS: When you were considering starting here, you just mentioned the weather. You were looking at the weather probably thinking what should I do, should I come here.
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, if you come to the West Coast you want some nice weather to get out of the cold muck of Dallas or the East Coast or something. But it's clearing up, and we're going to have a great couple weeks.

Q. Phil was in here earlier, and he was talking about how it's really hard for the TOUR to replace Tiger when he's not here.

Q. And he means so much to golf. Can you just give us your thoughts on that and what he's going through?
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah. Well, he does mean a lot to golf. I mean, he's one of the few athletes that's kind of changed the game forever, really. It's sad that he's not here, but I think we all understand what he's going through, and he needs to be taking care of his family right now. We all hope and wish him the best.
And us players, I think it's an opportunity for us to go out there and make some noise. There's a lot of great players here, and we have to kind of go out and prove it and show it to the world.

Q. Furyk was saying the other day that some people when Tiger comes back will embrace him, and other people will be a bit cold to him. Where do you think you'll fall in that?
HUNTER MAHAN: Well, he's a human being, whether we -- at times he did un-human-like things out there. He makes mistakes, I make mistakes, we all do. I always liked the guy, and I think I still will. I'm sure he's learned a lot from this, and he's going to come back a better and stronger person and probably even a better golfer. We need to embrace him as golfers, and we just hope for the best with him, really and just hope he gets everything straightened out.

Q. Do you think Phil can fill the void?
HUNTER MAHAN: I think so. A, he's a great player, and people love to see him play. He plays -- I think he plays enough where people are going to watch him and really enjoy Phil. But they're going to look at a lot of other players, too, and really -- it's our opportunity, really, to go out there and play some great golf and show the world what we're capable of.

Q. Do you think when you look at -- the field traditionally here is very strong. You could almost say this is really the start of the golf season. If you look at it now, there's you and Phil and Ernie, a lot of guys not here. Do you think that's symptomatic of what's happening with the last minute, Farmers coming in to step in, or is it -- how do you explain it?
HUNTER MAHAN: I think golf has been -- it's kind of turned global a little bit. I think guys are traveling -- beginning of the year guys are traveling overseas and stuff. They may go overseas and play a few events over there and kind of kick off the year that way. For some of those guys, they've been playing the whole year. They haven't really taken a break, and coming back -- they had a break a few months ago but they're starting the Tour over in Dubai or somewhere. So it's where guys want to play.
I enjoy playing in California. I'm from here, so I personally want to be here, and I'm very excited that Farmers came in when they did and kind of saved this event since it's been here for so long.

Q. What have you done since South Africa?
HUNTER MAHAN: Not much. Been at home, kind of chilling out a little bit, trying to rest to get ready for the year. It is a Ryder Cup year, so it's a big year, so you want to get off to a good start.

Q. Did you play at all?
HUNTER MAHAN: Yes, I played a little bit. I came home for Christmas, played with my parents, played with my dad and played a little back home before this week.

Q. Where did you play out here?
HUNTER MAHAN: My dad lives in Coto de Caza, so I played there.

Q. You've done a lot of great things over the last couple years, and without a victory since probably '07?

Q. Is that eating at you a little bit?
HUNTER MAHAN: For sure. For sure. I have to find that right balance of trying but not trying too hard. I want to win, and that's I think how you're measured as a great player. That's definitely a goal of mine. I just have to find that right balance and go out there and play and enjoy it and not try too hard. I think I tried a little bit too hard last year.

Q. (Inaudible.)
HUNTER MAHAN: Oh, for sure. For sure. Kind of first coming out on TOUR, you just try to be perfect kind of every round, every practice round, and I was just trying way too hard. I was just focusing so hard on every shot and every second that -- the year is so long, you're playing so many rounds, you just have to kind of relax and enjoy the process. If you don't enjoy it, it's going to eat at you and beat you down too much.

Q. Obviously this tournament scrambled to get a sponsor, got something in about two weeks under the wire. Do you pay attention to that stuff now as it happens on TOUR?
HUNTER MAHAN: For sure. It's tough on all the sports, on everybody. It's incredible how Farmers came in when they did, and they did a great job, and they took this long running tournament here, which is extremely important for players because players love coming here. I think the community loves having us here. It's very, very important that we maintain great relationships with sponsors, new sponsors, and hopefully continue relationships with Farmers for a long time.

Q. How did you finish on the Money List last year, roughly?

Q. That high?

Q. Did you see the other day that Sergio was saying that the U.S. is a stronger team in a sense without Tiger in the Ryder Cup and were last time? What do you think about that?
HUNTER MAHAN: Probably disagree. He doesn't get any credit for how great a team guy he is and how much he helps younger guys and stuff like that. You just don't see it, but he does a lot for us.
He's a fun guy to be around, really. It's always been fun having him. I remember having him at the last two Presidents Cups, and he's been great, I mean, really great. It comes down to us playing well. It really doesn't come down to having a good team. You have to go out there and do it and play well, and that comes down to us hitting good shots when we have to hit him. He always injects himself in the team very well.

Q. Why did you play South Africa last year, and did you have any other offers, and how much do you enjoy playing overseas and what are your plans this year?
HUNTER MAHAN: I enjoy playing overseas. It's cool to see just different parts of the world in general, cool just to put yourself on these cool golf courses. There's so many great golf courses around the world, it's amazing to see some of them.

Q. Did you do the Kiwi again?
HUNTER MAHAN: I did, yeah. I played the Kiwi and South Africa. South Africa was an amazing event. I'll definitely look forward to going back there. The people are amazing there. That event is just huge down there. You really don't realize.

Q. Have you thought about joint membership?
HUNTER MAHAN: No, not too much. You know, I love playing over in America here. It's a lot of fun for me. There's a lot I want to accomplish on the PGA TOUR before I start doing that stuff. I want to get obviously more wins and do a lot of great things over here before -- but I do enjoy playing overseas. It is a lot of fun, and there's a lot of great opportunities out there for everyone.
MARK WILLIAMS: Appreciate your time, Hunter. Thanks for coming in.

End of FastScripts

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