August 21, 2002
BLOOMFIELD HILLS, MICHIGAN
CRAIG SMITH: Caught your interview. You played very, very well, didn't you?
HUNTER MAHAN: Oh, yeah. I hit the ball solid today and gave myself some opportunities to make some putts.
CRAIG SMITH: Beyond that, you stayed out of the rough.
HUNTER MAHAN: I tried to. My driver wasn't working too well today. So I went to my 3-wood and was able to hit some fairways and then keep it on the green.
CRAIG SMITH: You won a Junior Amateur but there's a lot -- is there a difference between the junior and this one?
HUNTER MAHAN: Oh, yeah. The field is so talented now days. Any one of these 64 guys can win. So it's definitely tough to win.
CRAIG SMITH: You could be among the crowd. I mean, do people still recognize you as you have aged along with some of the others, the other 19, 20 year olds? Are you still -- you can still have a mark when you get to the first tee.
HUNTER MAHAN: I don't even know. I just try and let my play handle that. I'll try to play well this week and try to get the crowd that way. But just looking forward to this week and trying to play well and win.
CRAIG SMITH: What -- well, okay. Thanks. You said it. What would satisfy you?
HUNTER MAHAN: To win, to play solid, keep out of the rough and go all the way.
CRAIG SMITH: Questions?
Q. Do you like to golf course? Does it fit your game? Are you comfortable on it?
HUNTER MAHAN: I do. I think it's great for match play, because you don't have to make six, seven birdies to win. You can make two, three birdies to win and stay out of the rough and make a lot of pars and win a lot of your matches.
Q. How about your game? Does it fit your game?
HUNTER MAHAN: I think so.
Q. Your shape?
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah. I like the way every hole looks to me. I feel comfortable on every hole. There's really not a tee shot I feel uncomfortable about or a putt that I don't like. And I think that this course is in great shape and you can play well out here.
Q. What holes are going to be critical, do you think down the stretch in match play?
HUNTER MAHAN: I think eight and nine are going to be good holes, making the turn. 8 is playing 460 uphill. So that's always going to be a tough hole. And nine you're going to have to hit it solid long iron to hit that green and get a 2-putt and get out of there. Then the finishing holes, 16, 17 and 18 are tough holes. If you have a three-up lead, nothing is for sure. So you got to keep playing. And 18 being that finishing hole, having hit four good shots for par makes it extremely tough.
Q. Seems like one is playing really hard today. A lot of bogeys on one.
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, it's, you're sitting up there hitting a driver 430 and that fairway looks extremely narrow. And you're going to have to put a really good move on it. And left or right, you know, is tough to hit it on the green. So you really got to hit a straight shot there.
Q. Is it more fun to play a tournament like this on a course with this much history with all the Majors that have been here?
HUNTER MAHAN: Oh, for sure. To play a course that so many great players have played, it's something you don't get to do very often and for a lot of players I think this is -- a 14 year old gets to come out and play this golf course and test his ability against all these great players, it's pretty special.
Q. How do you feel about your summer so far? You went a long way in the Western, you have done a lot of things, but how do you feel?
HUNTER MAHAN: I feel pretty good about it. Some tournaments I haven't gotten the most out of my game. Either it's one thing or another. But I think it's all kind of coming to this point where I feel my game is coming together. I think my putting is coming around. My irons are actually starting to have better distance control on them. And I feel I'm peaking at the right time this week.
Q. How far did you get at the Public Links? I know you were leading after the first round of stroke play qualifying. You got into match play and then what happened?
HUNTER MAHAN: I lost in the first round there.
Q. You did.
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah.
Q. This is your third tournament in Michigan this year so you're ready to get one this time?
HUNTER MAHAN: It is. Yeah. So I love playing here, so I'm looking forward to the rest of the week.
CRAIG SMITH: Do you still carry a fondness for winning the Junior? Is that an achievement that you can look back on and build as you get older and better and better?
HUNTER MAHAN: Oh, definitely. It's the same format as here. You got to win six matches and you got to play extremely well. And there's a lot of good young players. So that's something that you look back on and you just relish that and be proud of that achievement.
CRAIG SMITH: All set. Thank you.
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