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January 25, 2011

Hunter Mahan


THE MODERATOR: Big week for you, the last couple. You got married. If you want to talk about the honeymoon, and anything you care to share, like where you went. Then we'll go ahead and take some questions.
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, it was obviously a good wedding. It was beautiful. It was everything she wanted and I wanted. We had a great time. Pretty cool to have all our friends and family there in one place, which will probably never happen again.
It was a lot of fun. We just went to Aspen and had a good time there, chilled out, did some skiing and just had some fun.

Q. Where was the wedding?
HUNTER MAHAN: In Colleyville, Texas.

Q. Are you a skier, Hunter?
HUNTER MAHAN: No, that was the first time I skied. I had never done it before. It was something different. We wanted to try, so had a great time.

Q. Golfers getting injured like Ogilvie and stuff, were you scared at all?
HUNTER MAHAN: No, not really. I don't want to -- I don't stop my life because I play golf for a living. It was a lot of fun. We were using muscle parts of your body that you never knew you had before. It's fun to do athletic things like that.
It was a great time. Had a lot of fun doing it. It's something we'd like to continue to do in the future.

Q. Your name comes up when you talk about the next generation of players. Are you ready to do that? Do you think your game's good enough, your personality is strong enough to be under the spotlight and really to be one of the premier people in the sport for a long period of time?
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah. I always worked -- I think we were trying to figure out the next generation, what's that mean? Where does that start or begin or end? I don't know. I feel like I just want to play and be a contender in majors.
People just want to talk about me there. If you're doing right, and you're doing all the right things, you're probably doing well in tournaments.
There's always that high guy that someone wins an early event and he's a young player and he's going to be the next something, then somebody else and somebody else. It always changes.
I'm just trying to get my game in good shape. Get ready for the start of the year. Play a few tournaments in a row here and have a good start and get some rhythm.

Q. You settle your management situation?
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, yeah. We're close to finalizing that and everything.

Q. So, no?
HUNTER MAHAN: No, it's not 100%, but preliminary talks are good.

Q. You got some wins and you're a Ryder Cupper. I guess people look at you and say you're getting majors now. Do you think that way? This is the next step. This is what I have to do.
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, all great players are defined by their wins and their major wins. That's really where you separate the greats from the good players. I feel like I'm capable of that.
So it's another year, and I have four opportunities. So I'll try to make the best of that.

Q. What does the Ryder Cup experience do? Did it make you a better player when you stepped away from the whole ending there? Like now I've learned this and I can go on?
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, from any experience, Ryder Cup or any other event, you're going to learn something from it. It's a great learning experience. It was a great time. Playing Ryder Cup was always just a lot of fun to test yourself against the players in the world.
I played really well that day. I just made zero putts and never could catch up to Graeme. But he played so well, so that made it difficult.
Yeah, you learn a lot about yourself as a golfer and what you need to do, what you need to work on, and how to get better. So I think from any experience like that, you learn from, get better from, and you get it quite a bit.

Q. Probably ten, 11 years in a row this tournament had the number one player. Do you think he'll ever get there again?
HUNTER MAHAN: Yes, very interesting stat right there too. That's good research. I didn't know that. That's unbelievable, actually. But I'm sure they will. I'm sure they will.

Q. Anyone ask about the wedding?
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, I've already addressed that.

Q. Did you address what kind of ring that is?
HUNTER MAHAN: It's from David Yurman. That's all I can tell you.

Q. Did you pick it out?
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, I did. I've got three of them. For each occasion, you know. You just never know when you have to dress it up or dress it down.

Q. What do you mean? You've lost me here?
HUNTER MAHAN: I've got one that's just all kind of a flat black one. That would be my everyday one. Then I have one that's got some white diamonds. It's a little fancier for the occasion.

Q. That's like the Ryder Cup gala?
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, exactly. That's a good example.

Q. This is for press interviews?
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, it's a little something extra for you guys.

Q. Which one did you put on your finger in Dallas?
HUNTER MAHAN: I'm sorry?

Q. Which ring did you put on your finger?
HUNTER MAHAN: It's got white diamonds in it.

Q. The Ryder Cup one?
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, the gala. I'll call it the gala ring. That's what we'll call it from now on.

Q. Anything about your game you want to try to get better at this year?
HUNTER MAHAN: Probably just want to get up and down more, short game, putting, stuff like that. It's always a continuous thing to get better at that. That's how you win in tournaments, getting up-and-down to save your momentum of the round, especially on the final day. Those up-and-downs are always key to keep the momentum on your side.

Q. Are you amazed when a guy like Vegas wins in the second start? And I ask that in context of someone like yourself who is very good as an amateur, came out in '03, and took maybe three or four years to kind of settle in.
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah. I don't know his background or how long he's been pro.

Q. He's from Venezuela. He played the Nationwide two or three years.
HUNTER MAHAN: Okay. He went to Texas? Yeah, you see a lot of guys coming from the Nationwide and come out on TOUR and they seem very ready to play. I came straight from college and went on the big show which was kind of a big jump. It was for me. Took a little getting used to.
I think when these guys play the Nationwide, I think they know what it takes to work and work every week. It's a grind out there. You can't really miss a week.
When they come out here, I think their games are pretty sharp, and they're out to maybe prove something to everybody and to themselves that they can play on TOUR.
It's a great opportunity the first few weeks on TOUR here to come out and start playing, because some of those guys just start getting to L.A., and you start getting to this week and Phoenix and it's tough to get in. You kind of lose some momentum in the beginning of the year after that.

Q. You say learned, and I've heard this for years. Is it the travel? In other words, becoming a pro, you talk about practice. Are you talking about just feeling comfortable as you go from week to week? What is the adaptation and why are the guys on the Nationwide a little better off?
HUNTER MAHAN: Well, it's tough. I've never played a Nationwide event. I've never been on that mentality of playing on the TOUR. I just think to go from the Nationwide of the PGA TOUR is a lot easier than going from college to the PGA TOUR.

Q. What did you have to learn?
HUNTER MAHAN: Well, a college event is totally different than a PGA TOUR event. The mentality of a full year starting in January going all the way till almost October now is a long time to play golf. There are a lot of different pressures. It was just all tough. Going week-to-week and not bringing baggage, and going from one week to the next week, beating yourself down.
Just kind of take it one day at a time and not trying to take things so seriously after one day, a bad day or something like that. Not trying to take it to the next day. That was kind of my issue.
But the more time you get to play and get in a routine out here or wherever, just playing professional golf, it's easier to go to that next week and just become better pretty much.

Q. Did you beat -- I've heard this too, when you're not married, you go back to the hotel and you're by yourself. Did you beat yourself up a little bit on bad days?
HUNTER MAHAN: For sure, for sure you can. I always had a hard time kind of letting go and leaving golf at the golf course. I think it's easier when you have maybe your girlfriend or wife, someone to come back to because she can hopefully help you take your mind off that and go do something else. Going to watch a movie or anything other than talk about golf is a good thing.

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