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February 28, 2010

Hunter Mahan


DOUG MILNE: We'd like to welcome the 2010 Waste Management Phoenix Open champion Hunter Mahan. Hunter, congratulations on your second career victory. 6-under 65 today. With the win you pick up 500 FedExCup points, move to sixth on the list. You become the eighth player under the age of 30 to claim multiple victories. So all that being told, how about just a few opening comments and then we'll take some questions.
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, obviously it feels great to win. I haven't won since 2007, but I've had a couple really good years, so I thought it was important for me to get at least one win this year. And it's kind of been not the best West Coast for me, but I felt the game was pretty good, and it feels great to get a W here. This is a great tournament, and I always enjoy coming here.

Q. Talk about the last two rounds, what turned around for you to be able to turn it on like that?
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, I felt the game was pretty good. I mean, physically the swing was good and the short game was pretty good. Everything was pretty good, I just wasn't putting it together. And I turned on Friday -- turned at even par, actually bogeyed 1, which was my 10th hole, was at even par, and I think the cut was going to be at 2 or 3 so I needed to have a good front nine, and then all of a sudden just relaxed and started playing golf, started trusting myself and what I was doing, made a few birdies and got to 4-under and then obviously had a good round yesterday. I knew if the leaders were going to run away from us early, we had kind of a chance at 10.
But I just started playing golf and trusting what I was doing.

Q. Can you talk about those -- I was going to say those last three putts, but actually it was more than that. You kind of putted your way in. That was really the difference. Talk about your putter on the way in and those key holes.
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, I went back to kind of my old putter that I used in 2007, 2008 and 2009, and kind of been working on my stroke a little bit with Dave Stockton and his son, Junior, and was kind of struggling with it. I just was finding it -- I was just trying to find the way for me to putt my best, and I just felt like -- I just felt -- it was just feeling good to me. I felt like I was rolling the ball well, had good speed out here, and if you have good speed on these greens you can make a lot of putts because the greens are so pure.
You know, had a lot of close calls on the front nine, but obviously making the eagle on 13, hit a great shot in there, only had about eight feet for eagle, and putt didn't really do much, and hit it solid and it went right in the middle.
But obviously making the putt on 16 was tough. I mean, it was uphill, it was kind of into the grain, just kind of kept my head down and hit right through it, and it was pure as soon as it left the putter face.

Q. How about the second putts on the last two holes? They were kind of knee-knockers.
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, those were not comfortable at all. Luckily they were -- 17 was kind of uphill, really didn't do too much, I just had to hit it solid, and went it kind of the left side there.
18, I mean, the putt was just dead straight. I looked at it from a few angles, couldn't find anything in it, and I just had to hit it solid and get it on-line. As soon as I hit it I felt like it was a good putt, and it was just right in the middle, so that was a good feeling.

Q. It's interesting what turned out to be the winning putt was on 16 where things are so crazy. How were you able to kind of zone out that stuff?
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah. I don't know, 16 is a fun, exciting hole, it really is. The people want to see great shots. I thought we had a pretty good number. My caddie John Wood did a great job. I thought it was just a good 8, and he's like, no, it's a 9. I trusted him, made a good swing at it, left myself right up the hill. The putt didn't do much, it was uphill, breaking like two balls to the right, and you just had to have good speed, and I did.
I mean, you still have a tournament to win, you can't really worry about the people. You just kind of have to block it out, but at the same time kind of enjoy it because you don't have that opportunity too much to have so many people watching you on one hole.

Q. You mentioned a putter change. Did you also have a driver change today?
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, there was -- my gamer had a little crack in it on 2. I looked down at it, and it had a little crack in it, and I was able to take it out of play. Ping did a really good job of matching my drivers because the one I've been -- the cracked I've had for three years, and it has been money. I mean, it's been so good. So I was a little curious to see how the other one was going to perform. But it hit really well.
Obviously hitting fairways and driving is a big part of my game, so that was huge to be able to get a good driver, a good Ping driver in there that was a good backup, and it performed great today.

Q. Can you talk about the process about how that driver got out to you?
HUNTER MAHAN: Well, we -- actually it was interesting, it took a little time to make sure that you could take it out of play because it's still -- driver has to be cracked, and it has to be deemed kind of unplayable and not conforming, I guess. So we got that straightened out, and it was in my car. And so my girlfriend drove here this morning, and she parked it, so she had the keys and everything. Luckily the rules staff ran her out to the car and she got it and I got it before the next tee shot, which was nice, because the next hole is a par-5. I really didn't want to hit a 3-wood off the par-5.

Q. What is her name?
HUNTER MAHAN: Kandi Harris.

Q. How frustrating has it been not winning in the last two years?
HUNTER MAHAN: Frustrating. I've had a lot of success, able to make the Ryder Cup team and The Presidents Cup team in between last time I won. I just haven't been able to win, really. I mean, it's just finding a way to win, just haven't been able to do it. So obviously it feels great to get off the year on my fifth tournament to win, feels really good. It gives me a lot of confidence in myself that I'm doing the right things in my game, and it feels great, just really does.

Q. You have a one-two finish for Oklahoma State, although you don't wear bright orange. Do you know Rickie at all?
HUNTER MAHAN: No, I don't know Rickie too much. Obviously he's much younger than I am. But yeah, I mean, Oklahoma State has had a lot of great players, and they keep putting them out there it seems like every year. Rickie is a great player and he's a great kid. I'm proud to call him a Cowboy. So it's pretty neat, same school guys go one and two, and I'm sure he'll win pretty soon.

Q. Could you talk a little bit about how long -- you had been using the Eye 2 wedges for some time anyways. When this controversy came up, just tell us what you did about that.
HUNTER MAHAN: Well, I've been using the Eye 2 wedge for the past few years, and my caddie kind of inquired about what about the pre-1990 wedges, are they going to be legal since they were grandfathered in, and we got a strong yes, they will be. He went out and found a bunch of them, and I've been using them off and on a little bit because the last thing I want to do is cause a controversy or people look at me the wrong way. I don't want that.
So kind of went back to the new grooves this week, but still a Ping Eye 2 wedge. But I'm not ruling out going back to beryllium pre-1990 another time this year. Hopefully we'll get it straightened out whether the wedge will be or won't be legal.

Q. You had played them this year up until Match Play and you took them out at Match Play?
HUNTER MAHAN: Correct, I did.

Q. You had the new grooves last week and this week?
DOUG MILNE: Well, Hunter, you were the only player in the field to go bogey-free on the weekend. If you wouldn't mind just running us through your birdies and eagle today, just to give us some clubs and yards if you would.
HUNTER MAHAN: Okay. Birdied 6 today. We hit a 9-iron from, I believe, 151. The pin is on the back little shelf, so it's actually pretty hard to get to. But just had a really good number and hit a good iron shot about five, six feet and put a good putt on it.
Birdied 9. Hit a 9-iron from I think it was actually 150 again. Hit it just below the hole 10, 12 feet, didn't really do much.
Obviously eagled 13, hit a 3-wood. I think it was 261 to the hole. It was left-to-right wind, it was actually a perfect wind to go at that pin. I don't know how far it was, probably 10 feet or so.
Came back and birdied 14, made a good putt. It was 165, a 7-iron, a little into the wind right to left. It was about 20 feet or so.
And birdied 16. It was 159, hit a 9-iron, a little adrenaline and wind helped that shot, and made about a 15-footer there for birdie.
DOUG MILNE: Well, Hunter, congratulations.

End of FastScripts

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