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November 15, 2011

Hunter Mahan


Q. Just talk about what it's like out there today.
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, it's a great course. It's a lot of fun to play. It's really aesthetically pleasing. Bunkering is amazing. It's going to be a great match-play course. Holes could be difficult. Holes could be -- you're going to play them easy. It's just a fun golf course to play, a lot of options.

Q. What about just playing in the team environment, being a part of the team, the one week a year you get to do that.
HUNTER MAHAN: It's great. As I told Nick, this is the first time event -- the hard part is over. This is the fun part of all, playing together and having a good time. You know, it's very different. We are talking to each other a lot more than we usually do, like kind of a normal TOUR week.
But I think everyone is having a good time. I think we all are finding our niches in the team and this is really one of the -- the most fun you'll ever have playing golf.

Q. Can you be aggressive on this golf course?
HUNTER MAHAN: It's difficult. This isn't a long golf course, but, boy, it's all placement. You've got to place the ball in the fairway. You have to avoid trouble. You have to avoid bunkers. You have to be safe in a lot of areas, but if there's an open pin, you can be aggressive. But then again, the greens are very firm. There's a lot of kind of slopes and plateaus.
So you have to have control out here. If you get too aggressive, you're going to leave yourself nothing on the way back. You have to think your shot out, but you know, make aggressive swings.

Q. How much of the guys that have played the course before, how much are you guys picking their brain?
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, with Tiger and Jim and stuff, you try to ask them a few questions. But it's been a long time since they played, too. It's not like they have a wealth of knowledge.
It's a golf course that's all feel based. You have to feel your way around it. With the wind, it's going to change every day. This is going to be a group effort for sure, with ourselves and our caddie and our teammates to figure out the best way to play.

Q. Is this the way you expected the course to be?
HUNTER MAHAN: I didn't have any expectations. I knew the bunkering was beautiful. Aesthetically it's amazing, just really well put together. It's not overly long, but shows that you don't have to make a long golf course to make a tough one. Each day is going to play a little different depending on the wind and stuff. Really it's going to be a fun, fun golf course.

Q. Can you tell us how you feel?
HUNTER MAHAN: I feel good.

Q. Was it beneficial coming out a week early, even though you didn't get to play the full tournament up in Sydney, did you obviously gain by being here a week early?
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, I've been in China for two weeks and then came to Sydney. I'm good on time. Definitely helps just getting your sleep in order and getting the amount of rest and just kind of being over here, that's a beautiful place to be. It definitely helped that's for sure.

Q. I missed the start, but is it as firm as you imagined, or not?
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, the greens are extremely firm. They are firmer than I thought. Like I say, I didn't have a total idea of what to expect but the greens are very firm. Like I said, you're really going to have to think your way around this golf course, make sure we know where the pin is and where we want to land it. We are going to have to really think and be very clear what we do before we hit it and from there be aggressive and make aggressive swings. It is playing firm but we have to adjust to that.

Q. What makes this special for you?
HUNTER MAHAN: Any time you get together with a team aspect like this and guys just hanging out and having a good time, it's just fun. It makes golf fun. You know, we are in this as a team. We are going to win as a team and we are going to lose as a team. Guys, it's just fun hanging out with guys, Fred Couples and Phil Mickelson and guys you admire and a guy like Webb Simpson that I don't know very well. The relationships that you get from this, they last a long time. Like I say, it's just a lot of fun.

Q. Have you played golf since Sydney?
HUNTER MAHAN: Today was first round. I hit balls yesterday to feel it out and felt great and today was kind of my first round. Felt great. I feel like I'm swinging it really, really nice right now. I really couldn't be happier with how everything has progressed and how I feel right now.

Q. What did you do with yourself in all that time?
HUNTER MAHAN: I didn't do much. I laid pretty flat on my bed, because I knew I was going to play today, tomorrow, Thursday through Sunday. So it's going to be a lot of golf this week and I just want to be rested. I want it to feel as good as it could feel and not overdo it.

Q. Did you have treatment?
HUNTER MAHAN: I had treatment every day and just let it settle. It just felt like it was inflamed more than anything else. You know, I had it worked on every day and like I said it feels great.

Q. As one of the more experienced guys on the team, playing the team format, do the younger guys come to you for advice? Are you providing some advice to them?
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, I told Watney, man, I told him, this week goes by fast. Before you know it, it will be Thursday. But try to enjoy every second, because it moves pretty quick, and it's -- as soon as you get out here, you're going to be ready to play. You're just going to want to start it up and you've got to pace yourself a little bit this week.
Like I said, enjoy it. It's going to help not seeing the course before because I think it slows your brain down a little bit and you start thinking about each shot and each hole a little bit slower to try to really grasp and absorb as far much as you can out there, because this is a golf course that's going to change every day and maybe even every hour, just depending on the wind. So we need to be very specific in how we attack this golf course.

Q. Talk about the different styles, Freddie is probably a much different captain from Corey.
HUNTER MAHAN: For sure. Fred is always a lot more competitive than people think, because he just walks around and it's funny just to watch him just work the fans and work the people. He knows everybody everywhere we go for some reason; he's got friends everywhere.
But he's highly competitive. Him and Jay and John are doing a good job of trying to get us together and trying to get the teams together as fast as we can so we can start preparing. You know, I don't know, he's just one of the guys it feels like. Even though he's a captain, he just doesn't -- I don't know, he wants our opinions, he wants us to feel comfortable with every decision, and I don't know, he's just great to be around. Because you just feel relaxed. There's no tension with him at all.

Q. As opposed to Corey?
HUNTER MAHAN: Corey is just more intense in general, just the way he plays his game, how his mannerisms are and stuff. He just takes a different approach to it. There's nothing wrong with it. It's 180 degrees probably from Fred.

Q. Coming out in Australian colors today, is that like a vintage Freddie move, winning everybody over?
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, this is -- I think it's a great move, because -- I haven't been over here in a long time. Fred probably has not played over here in a while. You know, we want to definitely adhere ourselves to the crowd in Australia as much as we can. This is a great event. This is going to be really a great week and I think we want as many fans as we can, because I know back in '98, it was -- it has a Ryder Cup feel with the fan base for sure.

Q. You mentioned before being around Tiger; do you still have moments where it's pretty cool, or is it just, this is your job?
HUNTER MAHAN: Absolutely. I don't want to miss that stuff. If I miss that stuff, then I'm missing the whole point I think. It's a joy to be around with guys like Phil and Freddie and Tiger and Dustin. I mean, these are great athletes, they are great golfers. It's really a pleasure, because as a kid, I mean, you dreamed of making this -- I'm watching this stuff on TV and you're like, gosh, will I ever be good enough to make these teams, will I ever. And for it to be my fifth one in a row, it's beyond me sometimes.

Q. Do you see any roles forming on the team, the class clown, the leader? Do you see any of that happening already?
HUNTER MAHAN: Not too much. I think Kuch is maybe the class clown -- from last year at The Ryder Cup, you know guys, but then when you really get in this format, guys relax and we really see the true side. Kuch is definitely kind of the class clown. He's always making he everybody laugh. He's just a great influence and a great person to be around.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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