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October 2, 2013

Hunter Mahan


CHRIS REIMER:  You're off in the first match of the day, talk about being first off.
HUNTER MAHAN:  Yeah, looking forward to that.  I always like being first off in these things.  It's nice to get the ball rolling and getting out there and enjoy the whole crowd and everything and kind of start hearing the roars and stuff.  It's such a fun event and it's nice not to have to sit around and watch everyone else go play.

Q.  It's very rare that these things are not competitive, but that seems like a pretty good match.  What do you know about those guys?
HUNTER MAHAN:  Yeah, I played a couple times with Jason last time at The Presidents Cup, so it was a great challenge for us.  He's a great competitor and a great player.  Graham being a newcomer, he's going to be motivated and excited to play.
Like I said it's going to be fun to be first out.  Brandt is going to be fun to play with.  He's a great player, and we had a lot of fun today.  So it's going to be fun to be out with those guys and play with Brandt.

Q.  Did you talk at all about strategy, who is going to go on the par3s, who is going to go on the par 5s?
HUNTER MAHAN:  It's best‑ball tomorrow, so we haven't talked about that too much.  Tomorrow we'll just tee it up and go play golf.

Q.  (Any advantage to playing the Memorial here so many times)?
HUNTER MAHAN:  Yeah, it's different having played here so much.  The setup is great.  The course is in perfect shape.  The greens are a great speed.  They are still super fast and rolling really true, I think only 24 guys really here.  They are going to be in perfect shape all week.  They are soft, you can‑‑ ball is going to hit and not really release too much.  Fairways are perfect.  They are not‑‑ it's putting very similar to how we play in June, so it kind of has the same feel.  The rough doesn't feel that different from what we are used to.

Q.  And you're going up against a member; what are your thoughts on Jason and his familiarity?
HUNTER MAHAN:  It's weird to play with a member in the United States when he's from Australia.  You'd have to ask him that, how much he enjoys playing here and everything.  Actually great practice facility.  It's a great course to play every day.  I feel like the wind, it probably changes all the time, it's a great test.
So I know it's going to be a lot of fun to play and those are two good competitors we are going to play against.

Q.  In the locker room‑‑ inaudible.
HUNTER MAHAN:  It's been great, it's been a lot of fun.  That's kind of the best part of these things is hanging out with all the guys.  You get to know each other on a more personal level these weeks, and it's a lot of fun.
We have a great time, we really do, and it's always a pleasure to see these guys, and there's always guys‑‑ like Sneds, I don't know Sneds that well, so we've gotten to hang out this week and talk to them quite a bit.  There's always one or two guys you don't know that well and it's been a lot of fun.  It's been just a great vibe every day.

Q.  Inaudible.
HUNTER MAHAN:  Everyone knows each other so well, there's guys that don't know each other‑‑ Jordan is maybe the only one that we really don't know, and he's gelled so fast.  It's been really, really easy just to get to be around everybody and there's no feeling of uncomfortable with anybody.  It's just been really easy.

Q.  Is there more pressure to get that first one?
HUNTER MAHAN:  No, every point counts, it matters the same.  I like being out first just because it's‑‑ I don't want to sit around and wait for my turn.  I just want to get out there and get the ball rolling and start having fun.

Q.  Does your position change from when you first started, your hole?
HUNTER MAHAN:  I don't think so.  I don't think we really need too many leaders on this team.  I think Fred is a great captain, he keeps everything so loose and relaxed.  With Tiger, Phil being here for such a long time, I think if anyone has any questions on how to play, they know how to do it just as good as anybody.
I just think there's a great vibe and a great atmosphere around everybody.  Everybody knows everybody.  There's really no‑‑ Jordan is the only one we don't really know that well, but it's been so easy with him, so it's just been a lot of fun this week so far.

Q.  What do you think about the adjustments to the tee?
HUNTER MAHAN:  Yeah, I think 14 is going to be a lot of fun.  Some groups, it could be really boring and play like it normally does, and then some could be really exciting.  I just think there's a lot of fun options there.  It could be a really great hole.  I think we see it every time we play there during the Memorial, like, boy, it would be really finish.  I've hit driver there before during the Memorial.  I hit it up in that fairway, because you really can't get there from the back tee, you can play with something and have an option there.
Yeah I think there could be some exciting holes.  16, they move it up, it's probably a better hole from that tee anyway.  It will be find of fun to play from that angle because that green is so hard, it's much harder than any of the other greens.  18 is just longer.  I think the angle is all the same.  The fairway is probably a little bit wider if anything.  It's not a big change or anything.  I think our line is still the same that it usually is.  Just maybe change the club, maybe not.

Q.  Inaudible.
HUNTER MAHAN:  I hit driver there most of the time.  I just didn't like the way it set up for me.  I usually hit a draw and the way it just runs right into the water.
So, you know, you had to really be careful of how you hit it and hit it up the right side‑‑ I said, well, if I hit driver and hit it in the bunkers, I only have a wedge in my hand.

Q.  Are they going to play that tee on 18 up and back?
HUNTER MAHAN:  I don't know.  Probably depends on the wind.  If it gets a little cold and the wind starts coming in, they might move the tee up.  But it's probably going to be, you know, kind of condition‑based.

Q.  Can you just talk about the team spirit and camaraderie, it's the same guys by and large that play in The Ryder Cup, and it always seems to be easier in The Presidents Cup compared to The Ryder Cup.  What are your thoughts on why?
HUNTER MAHAN:  Well, I think we get to hang out more in this event than The Ryder Cup.  You know, I think The Ryder Cup, there's just a lot more to do every single day, and there's a lot more asked of the players.  And it can be a little more difficult and more stressful for everyone.
But just, you know, every day, you're just kind of moving from one thing to another thing.  You don't really have too much time to just chill and relax and hang out with one another, and in this event, you do a little bit more of that.
And it's a great thing for us, maybe gives us an advantage in this event is it's kind of‑‑ I won't say it's the same guys every year, but it's a lot of the same core guys in everything, and a lot of the pairings are kind of the same.  We know what kind of works and what doesn't.
You kind of learn from history, and coming to this event, we are, you know, kind of‑‑ Fred and Jay have, not an easy job, but they have experience to fall back on, and seeing the results of past guys, because that makes a big difference of who you've played with and how much you enjoy playing with them.

Q.  You're playing the same guys‑‑ in other words, same team most years?
HUNTER MAHAN:  Yeah, just one or two guys.

Q.  But it's more of a struggle in The Ryder Cup with the same guys, but here you always seem to play well.
HUNTER MAHAN:  Yeah, I don't think‑‑ I think that you have to give credit to Europe when they win, because they play really well.  They have played great.  I don't know if‑‑ I don't think the International Team has necessarily played badly or anything, just Europe, I think people maybe just look at them as they are still kind of the little brother and they are really not.  1 through 12, they are really good.
They used to be 1 through 8 they are really good and they lacked maybe that 9 through 12, but now that 1 through 12 are as good as anybody in the world.  I can't tell you why, maybe we haven't played as well as we'd like to.  There's definitely more pressure and more‑‑ something more into The Ryder Cup, but, you know, why we play better here, I don't know.  I wish‑‑ I'm sure if someone could figure it out, they would.

Q.  Another part of this tournament, the charitable aspect, the fact that donations are made in each player's name to their designated charity as a result of that, that's pretty important to you, as well?
HUNTER MAHAN:  Yeah, it's a great thing.  This isn't one of those events that's about money or anything like that.  This is about pride and this is about doing kind of what's right.  We always have so much fun playing this event, and the fact that the TOUR gives an opportunity to give money to our charities or charity of choice is pretty special, and it's a great thing about the PGA TOUR, giving billions of dollars to charities; it's pretty impressive.

Q.  And nice that you can designate one of your choice; for instance this year, what's your choice?
HUNTER MAHAN:  I've started a foundation, started funding one, the Mahan Foundation.  In years past, I've given it to Alzheimer's research.  My grandmother passed away from Alzheimer's, so I've given it to that.  I've given it to like Folds of Honor and different military branches and stuff like that.  I'm trying to figure out what to do, starting a foundation to try to build something.  I don't know, it's going to do something with children, or maybe children's hospitals or something like that or schools.
But you know, it's one thing that you've got to build up quite a bit of bank roll there to really do something big and impactful, and that's what we are going to try to do.

Q.  The United States has really held a big edge in this particular Cup for many, many years.  The Presidents Cup, the international team, they are saying they need to make this at least competitive.  Do you sense that's going to happen?
HUNTER MAHAN:  Well, there's no reason that they can't.  I mean, I don't think we are that much of a better team.  They still have a lot of great players on that team.  There's no reason that they can't play.  This is a golf course that most everyone is familiar with, which is pretty rare.
And it's interesting, it still has a different vibe coming here and a few months later than a normal tournament.  This should be a great event.
So I don't see why it's not going to be a tough challenge.  I know it's going to be an extremely tough challenge for us to win.  I know we are going to go out there and work hard on bringing them back the Cup, that's for sure.

Q.  Can you talk about the strategy‑‑
HUNTER MAHAN:  Yeah, it's a difficult green.  It's not a no‑brainer driver.  I'm a good driver of the ball.  I love the driver in my hand.  I feel most comfortable with that, so I'm probably going to tend to be more aggressive on that hole, depending where the pin is.  It's really pin‑dependent, because when it's on that front, I would say, 20, 20 steps, it's pretty tough to hit it even from the bunker, or actually get in the fairway or the rough, it's not too bad.  But I mean, it's a difficult green and it really slides away from you.
But I think the back, kind of the back right pin is maybe one that's maybe a little more accessible.  I think there will be some exciting stuff there, and there could be some really boring holes, as well.

Q.  Are you the kind of player that feeds off the crowd, and is there any chance that the golf boys will be in the crowd?
HUNTER MAHAN:  No, there's no chance the 'Golf Boys' will be in the crowd.  I think they have other things they would rather do than come here.  I'm sure they are getting ready for the Fall Series or hanging out or doing whatever.
Yeah, this is one of those things where you kind of let your emotions go and have a good time, and you know, get excited when the opportunity arises and have fun with it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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