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July 20, 2013

Hunter Mahan


MIKE WOODCOCK: Good afternoon. Delighted to be joined by Hunter Mahan this afternoon. Hunter, that's an excellent 3-under par 68 today, I think that takes you to 1-under and the clubhouse leader, you must be very pleased.

HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, obviously the course is difficult. Probably I don't know how many guys are under par right now. Any score in the red is good. I played really solid today tee to green. Just two bogeys. But I hit a lot of good quality shots and the putter was obviously very strong, making a bomb on 2 and a bunch of key putts coming in. It was a total team effort by my game today, for sure.

Q. How many greens did you hit?
HUNTER MAHAN: Thirteenish (laughter).

Q. This might be two straight Sunday final groups in Majors, what are you doing right?
HUNTER MAHAN: I don't know. Probably doing the right amount of practice, right amount of work, right amount of kind of rest and mental kind of preparation. Yeah, I think I'm just not -- I'm just trying to play golf. I'm not trying to add to anything and make it more than it is, just enjoying kind of the opportunity of playing in a Major, playing in a British. I enjoyed it playing at the U.S. Open. I enjoyed playing with Phil. I didn't think that was a distraction or a hindrance or anything. You just kind of accept things and appreciate them.

Q. It looked like you really didn't like your shot into the 18th green, so how big was that putt there?
HUNTER MAHAN: Yeah, it was a nice putt. My approach shot just got away from me, kind of the start line there. That wind is pretty strong obviously left to right. And I hit it in the bunker, and didn't hit a very good bunker shot. Like I said, the putter was pretty strong today. I had a pretty good feel for it because you're going to have 50, 60-footers out here, whether you hit good shots or bad. And I had a good touch all day. And that was important, and I had a good read. It was one of those putts where I felt like I almost hit it before, like I saw it. I felt like I had a really good understanding of what it was going to do. I hit it to the perfect speed and it went right in the middle, so it was a nice way to end the round.

Q. Having played several at the U.S. Open, is something to be said to winning a Major, that there needs to be a learning experience, that you need to build on previous successes?
HUNTER MAHAN: I don't think so. I don't think you need to. I think you can go out and win a Major without anything, without any sort of successes. Does it help? I think it does. Because I think it can be overwhelming at times. Being in the first or second, last groups there, to have everybody following you and seeing all the scores and everything, it can be overwhelming. But there's no rules in this game, you can kind of do whatever you want.

Q. I know you and Justin are close. His career, it took him a while to feel like he got to the point where he felt he could win a Major, have you had that discussion with him at all?
HUNTER MAHAN: No, not really. I definitely think you kind of have to believe before you can win. You've got to have that confidence knowing that I can play well and I can win a Major. You have to believe before it can actually happen, because you actually have to see it happening. I think once you start believing and actually trusting yourself, you can go out and do all kinds of stuff.

Q. After what happened at Keltic Manor in 2010, is there any sense that this would be redemption in any way? Have you got unfinished business in the UK? You'd like to come over and do it for that?
HUNTER MAHAN: No, I don't need any redemption or anything like that, just playing golf. I don't play golf for revenge or to make up for anything. I'm playing because I really like to play, and it's the ultimate challenge playing Major golf. So that's the only thing I'm worried about.

Q. After 54 holes out here, do you have one or two words that you could use to describe Muirfield?
HUNTER MAHAN: Strenuous and fair.

Q. Do you like it?
HUNTER MAHAN: I do, I like it a lot. I like it a lot. It's one of the best -- not to -- I hope they don't take it the wrong way, but it looked very U.S. Openish to me. Just the way it looked, with all the fairways had definition. Some of the British Opens, you don't know where to hit it. They put grandstands and towers out there so you can see where you're going. Here it's very out in front of you. You can see it. It's a great test. It's just right out in front of you and it's very fair, there's nothing tricky about it.

Q. You've put yourself in position to win Majors, what's kept you from closing the deal?
HUNTER MAHAN: Not being good enough, I guess. Probably my short game hasn't probably been as strong as it needed to be. But I'm chipping and putting, I think, great and doing all the right things. So I feel comfortable with my game and excited about the opportunity and just have to go out there and trust it and let it happen.

Q. So you believe you can win one?

MIKE WOODCOCK: Thanks very much, well played.

HUNTER MAHAN: Thank you.

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