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February 9, 2013

James Hahn


JOEL SCHUCHMANN:   Thanks for joining us after a 66 at Spyglass Hill, 12‑under for the week, right in the mix heading into the weekend.  There's a bunch of players still on the golf course, but you're in great position heading into Sunday.  Maybe some opening comments about your day today.
JAMES HAHN:  It was a great day today.  Spyglass is one of my favorite golf courses in the rotation.  The greens are always great out there.  The pin locations are tough and you have to hit a lot of quality shots and work the ball both ways.  I just love that course.  Every time I tee it up there, you go down hole 1, it opens up; hole 2; hole 3 is a downhill par 3.  I can go through every single hole and tell you guys why I love every hole out there but I'm sure you guys already know that.
Today was just very relaxing, had my brother on the bag, good bonding experience for both of us, and played good golf today.

Q.  Curious how much is in the back of your mind of trying to get into Augusta?
JAMES HAHN:  Ah, zero.  Yeah, I'm not even in next week's tournament (laughter) so to me a Top‑10 finish would be great.  So if you want to compare the Northern Trust Open to Augusta, we can.  I would love to play another week out on TOUR, but just to learn from Brandt Snedeker, he's one of the hottest golfers on the planet right now.
So if I have the opportunity to play with him, that would mean more to me than playing in any golf tournament on the PGA TOUR.

Q.  Can you talk a little bit about your start this year?  The last five tournaments, something like 49‑, 50‑under par.
JAMES HAHN:  That's it?  Yeah, I've had a great start to the year and to me winning is definitely a goal but you can't win golf tournaments if you don't make the cut.
So No. 1 priority when I get to a golf tournament is to make the cut and just to have fun out here and learn as much as I can from other players, from the golf course, and just have fun.
I feel like every golf course on the West Coast Swing has its own little intricacies, it's own uniqueness to them, and Pebble is one of them, Spyglass, Monterey Peninsula; last week was a blast playing hole 16 at TPC Scottsdale.
So just going out and enjoying the moment is kind of my goal for every week.

Q.  Why are you playing so well right now, and is this the best golf you've played in your life?
JAMES HAHN:  Definitely not the best golf that I've played in my life.  But I feel like I'm playing well just because I feel comfortable, and you know, comfortable and having fun, that's when I'm playing my best golf.
It's kind of which came first, the chicken or the egg; and I have fun when I'm playing well, but I also play well when I'm having fun.  I try to psyche myself up and have fun a little bit and if that carries over to my golf‑‑ and it has over the last couple weeks.
I'm putting the ball really well.  I feel like my attitude on the golf course is better than it has been in recent years, and not getting so frustrated out there; just kind of enjoying the moment.  I keep saying that, but it's a blast to be inside the ropes and a member of the PGA TOUR.

Q.  Your brother is on your bag.  What is his name and is this the same bother you talked about earlier this week you came down to watch?  How did he help you today?
JAMES HAHN:  His name is Tom.  He's standing there behind if you want to see what he looks like‑‑ I forgot the question.

Q.  How did he help you?
JAMES HAHN:  He helped me a lot.  We talked through a lot of shots.  The biggest thing was just making me feel comfortable out there.  Like he was caddying for me‑‑ we were out there talking about shots, having a good time, talking about what we are going to eat for dinner tonight or what movies we are going to watch later today.
It's just fun.  I'm not sure if you guys have brothers or sisters, but when you hang out with family, you feel more comfortable and I feel like he's allowed me to do that this week.

Q.  First of all, this will be your first time playing in the final group of a PGA TOUR event; correct?  And how do you think you'll handle that pressure, or how do you think that will be‑‑ I mean, I'm sure you are excited.
JAMES HAHN:  Right.  To date, I've had some very nerve‑wracking moments on the golf course.  Q‑School, for example, very stressful.  Final round of Tour Championship on the Web.com Tour, very stressful.
So I feel like the Web.com Tour has allowed me to get to a point in my life in my career make feel comfortable in the final group in a PGA TOUR event.  Not exactly sure what I will be feeling, but it's‑‑ going to be very excited, going to be very nervous.
To be able to play in a final round with Brandt Snedeker or whoever I play with, I feel like I can learn a lot from the experience.

Q.  Totally separate, different question.  For the record, have you explained how you came about the nickname, the Asian Brad Pitt?

Q.  Well, you don't have to answer‑‑
JAMES HAHN:  Travis Brasher and John Mallinger were the guys that invented the name.  I was doing a photo shoot for Travis Matthew clothing line and they said they wanted to give me a neck name, and that was the most fitting.  I had my long hair, and you know, kind of gave it a good‑‑ but yeah, we were just having fun with it and it's kind of a cool nickname.

Q.  How do you go from the transition mentally of being happy to be in the final group with Brandt Snedeker and I'm going to learn from him and all that, to wanting to win the golf tournament?
JAMES HAHN:  I feel like winning the golf tournament is almost out of my control.  I can shoot 62 out there and still lose a golf tournament.  I can shoot 81 and win a golf tournament.
So I feel like the only thing I'm in control of is what I do on the golf course, and if it's good enough, then you know, I'd be very happy hoisting the trophy at the end of the week.  But for me it's all learning experience and I'm going to hit some bad shots out there, and how I handle that and clear my mind for the next shot.

Q.  (Inaudible.).
JAMES HAHN:  No.  I mean, you ask all the members on this TOUR and every one of them will tell you that they are the best putter and the best ball‑striker on TOUR and I feel the same way.  I feel like I'm one of the best putters and best ball‑strikers on this TOUR and I think that you have to have that mentality to be successful on the PGA TOUR.  To me, it doesn't make any difference who I play with.  I feel like I have a legitimate chance of winning a golf tournament.

Q.  You talked about the calmness, family; of course, getting married, that had to be a major calming effect for you.  Has it improved your game now that you are a couple?
JAMES HAHN:  Yes, 100 percent.  Before I got married, it was February 4 of last year when we got married, and before I got married, we would talk about what kind of flowers we needed for the wedding, table linen, how many married people are in this room, you know exactly what I'm talking about, and it's nonstop talking about‑‑ bar tab limits, all that stuff (laughter).  My family, we like to have fun, we're Korean.
So you know, just to be able to get over that hurdle and to just go about life.  We're planning and we were talking about the wedding for probably eight consecutive months on a day‑to‑day basis, and it was‑‑ there was a lot of build up there, so for me to finally get over there and say, okay, let's just live life now, let's have fun, let's just enjoy each other's company and enjoy the weather and I think it's made me a better person.

Q.  (Inaudible.)
JAMES HAHN:  In order to match my bank account, I have to make double because she gets half, so I feel like she owns half of me now, so I have to play twice as hard.

Q.  A two‑parter:  Do you have home‑court advantage here since you're a Cal guy?
JAMES HAHN:  I'd like to think, so there's a lot of Cal alums rooting me on this week, a lot of Bay Area fans.  I'd like to think so but with all do respect, I don't want them to heckle Brandt Snedeker or anybody else.
It's a good distraction at times.  It can be distracting but as long as you have the right approach to it, I think it can help.

Q.  Talking about how much fun this is for you, you've become Mr.Weekend now, especially on Sundays.  How about that?  If you could pull that off again tomorrow with the way you've been scoring again on Sundays.
JAMES HAHN:  Weekends are fun for me.  Weekends mean you're getting a paycheck and I like coming home with money and my wife likes it, too.
Just to play on the weekend, I feel like the biggest advantage for me is learning how to conduct myself on the weekends, because it is such a long week, my practices start on Monday morning; and to be able to play on Saturday and Sunday, it means I'm learning and I'm getting another opportunity to get better on the golf course, and I just feel grateful to have that opportunity.

Q.  You might know your alma materhas never had a grad win on the PGA TOUR before; what would that mean if you were able to pull that off tomorrow?
JAMES HAHN:  It would mean a lot.  I know that stat and I was hoping nobody would see that because there's a commentator's occurs r curse going around.  Let's just get it out of the way, there has been no Cal alum to win a PGA TOUR event, so hopefully I can be the first.

Q.  Why do you think that is?
JAMES HAHN:  I really don't know.  I feel like the golf program is strong.  I feel like the coach is doing his job to get players ready for the PGA TOUR.  I really have no idea‑‑ (laughter).

Q.  What do you use, other than staying happy‑‑ what you're saying about being happy and doing what you're doing, that reminds me of what Jimmy Demaret told me years ago, go out there and have fun.  What do you do to keep yourself from getting those yips when you get those last few yards and those putts?
JAMES HAHN:  What I do is the same thing I've been doing all week.  You look over to the right, see the ocean and you think about how cool it would be to be a surfer.  And I think the waves are perfect for surfing, and I just want to jump in there.
I know how cold northern California water is, but once you just thinking about that, everything is bound to fall in now.  It's like, you just put yourself‑‑ Happy Gilmore, put yourself in your happy place, and I guess this is my happy place.
JOEL SCHUCHMANN:  James Hahn, thank you, good luck tomorrow.

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