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May 19, 2010

Hunter Mahan


THE MODERATOR: We would like to welcome Hunter Mahan into the interview room here at the 2010 HP Byron Nelson Championship. Thanks for coming by. Making your seventh start at this tournament. Talk about playing here in Dallas a tournament that's important to you.
HUNTER MAHAN: Obviously it's a home game for me, so that's nice, get to stay at home and play a course I'm somewhat familiar with and it's nice, you know, doesn't happen very often in golf to have a "home game" so it's a good feeling, and I've got friends and family watching, so it's somewhat more comfortable here than other places.
THE MODERATOR: An outstanding season for you. You're currently No. 13 in the FedExCup standings; you won in Phoenix. Comment on your year for us.
HUNTER MAHAN: It's been great. To get off to a win in the first two months there was nice. I've been playing pretty solid ever since, so got a nice stretch of tournaments coming up that I like and had some success at, so I'm looking forward to the next half of the year, really.

Q. How does this course play any differently from last year? Also comparing it to before the renovation.
HUNTER MAHAN: It's finally matured, I think, the greens have found their groove and it's kind of settled down a little bit, which is nice. They're in great shape right now, not too much rough out there, so I would expect good scores this week. First year the greens were extremely firm, and with the wind and everything it was tough to play, but should be a little easier. I expect the greens to get firmer and faster throughout the week, unless we get some rain, but the course is in great shape right now, couldn't be better; it's going to be warm, which is perfect.

Q. Hunter, did you get a chance to spend much time with Byron before he died? Can you talk about the importance of him at this tournament, his spirit? They do a good job of keeping his spirit alive.
HUNTER MAHAN: Honestly I've never -- I shook his hand coming after 18 when he was here. I've never talked to him much or had any contact with him. But it's always special to have a legend of the game and the history that he had kind of brought to this tournament. You see it on every hole, some sort of facts that are just incredible of how great of a player he was, and the fact that he started this tournament, was here every day, it's just a special thing. And this tournament has been a staple on the TOUR for a long time, so it's neat to have Byron live through this tournament.

Q. What's your thought process when you reach the 11th tee?
HUNTER MAHAN: How am I going to make birdie pretty much is my thought process. Obviously the hole is much different than it used to be. Kind of two different greens. You have the one level, then it goes down to the bottom level, so it depends on where the pin is and where the wind is. But I'm going to try to be as aggressive as I can, unless the greens get too hard, where it's going to be hard to hit a 50-yard wedge shot, but I'm going to be as aggressive as I can.

Q. Since the "home game" is rare in golf, does it throw you out of your routine, present unique challenges in itself?
HUNTER MAHAN: Um, yeah, it's just different, just different from being in a hotel and have all your staff packed up and ready to go. You're home and you got all your stuff here and it's just kind of -- you have to set everything up on Monday like you would a normal event, set your clothes out and make it as easy as you can, because -- and try to make it familiar, try to find your routine.
But it's super nice, it's nice to go back to your bed and hang out with your friends instead of hanging out by yourself or going somewhere where you're not familiar. To be in a familiar place is always nice, and you get extra practice time if you have the week off beforehand, which is good.

Q. Family, friends, folks, people in the gallery?
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, I'll have some friends watching and stuff like that. My folks flew in from California so it's good to see them and nice to have -- the week seems slower, usually when you're at home, just because you're familiar with everything and it feels easy. But it's easy to get out of your routine and focus, too, so you've got to make sure when you tee it up on Thursday you're back to business.

Q. When you run into Corey as you just did, is it tough not to think about looking forward to the Ryder Cup? Obviously you're in a good spot right now.
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, it's kind of the first I've seen of the points or anything, so it gets you a little bit excited. It is the year for the Ryder Cup, and it's always a special time; it was a special time for me in 2008, so I'm excited about it, and it's a big goal of mine to make the team, obviously, and to make it on my own would be nice.
So I have a few more months before I kind of start really thinking about it, but it is nice to see where you stand and what kind of work you have to do.

Q. How long have you been involved or enjoyed the hobby of classic cars, and how many do you have? Favorites?
HUNTER MAHAN: Kind of in high school, I guess, my dad always liked cars and stuff like that, and in college I sort of became more interested in it, and I've had a few cars. I think I have six right now. We're finishing up a '69 Nova, it's got a 383 stroker with twin turbos on it, so I don't know, they're just -- it's a nice reward system after you play a great week you can do something to a car. They're fun. What I pretty much try to do is make every car my own and make it a little different, but a little different style or something different on it to make it look more unique is what I like to do.

Q. You don't actually work on them, do you?
HUNTER MAHAN: No, I don't have near enough time to do that. It would take me 10 years to build a car; I leave that to the professionals. I got a couple of guys I trust, though, so it's nice, and they do a great job.

Q. Do you have any particular vehicle that's not in your fleet yet that's a dream car, anything you would like to get your hands on?
HUNTER MAHAN: I got a bunch of cars I would like to have. I'm a big a lead sled fan, early 50s, I like that genre of car, anything like that would be neat. I have a bunch of ideas I would like to do, but I like that 40s, 50s style I'm always a big fan of those, the roundness of the car and the way they're shaped. They're pretty neat.
THE MODERATOR: Hunter, thanks for coming by and play well this week.

End of FastScripts

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