PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Hunter Mahan, who will defend his title at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship in two weeks, is off to a hot start at Pebble Beach on Thursday.
Mahan has birdied five of his first eight holes to grab a share of the lead at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Mahan, who finished second at the tournament two years ago, is deadlocked with rookie Henrik Norlander, who started on the back nine and has completed 13 holes at Pebble Beach.
Bob Estes, Matt Every, Russell Knox, Seung-yul Noh, Camilo Villegas, Ted Potter Jr. and John Merrick are tied at 4 under. Estes and Noh are playing Spyglass Hills; Knox and Villegas are at Monterey Peninsula and Every, Potter and Merrick are at Pebble Beach.
Villegas is playing with actor Chris O'Donnell, start of "NCIS: Los Angeles." The two are 7 under in the pro-am portion of the tournament and are tied for the lead with five other groups.
With two solid outings under his belt, Hunter Mahan is pleased with the state of his game. (Petersen/Getty Images)
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Three events into the 2013 PGA TOUR season, Hunter Mahan sees a lot of positives in his game.
And with good reason. Six of his last eight rounds have been in the 60s -- and the other two were even-par 72s. Mahan's got a tie for 15th at the Farmers Insurance Open and joint 16th in last week's Waste Management Phoenix Open to show for his efforts, too.
"I have actually done a couple things that I'm really excited about, and so I'm happy where things are right now and excited about the prospect of the upcoming tournaments and the upcoming year," Mahan said, taking time out from his preparation for the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am to help EA Sports promote the new Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 14 game.
"... I take a lot of victories from the last couple weeks. (I am) always trying to improve and keep getting better and not be stuck in results and I should have done this and I should have done that. This is a game. We play way too much golf and way too many tournaments to be bogged down by one result or one week."
Mahan has great memories at Pebble Beach, too, and it's not just because of the spectacular scenery. He finished second here to D.A. Points in 2011, closing with an impressive 66.
"There's no place you'd rather be when the weather's good and you're out playing," Mahan said. "I think it's a special course. I think AT&T has done a great job of making this more pleasing to players and they run a great event and Monterey is fantastic and Spyglass is fantastic. ...
"It's a lot of fun and being a California guy, I always enjoy being in California."
Mahan is building toward his title defense at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship in two weeks. The win was the fifth of his career and the second in the global series.
Mahan says he has high expectations and he feels good about the state of his game.
"Every day's an exploration -- figuring about my swing, and what works, doesn't work," Mahan said. "Short game, putting. Everything. Strange, as I think of it now. I've been playing golf a long time but I still have a lot to learn about it.
"I'm doing all the right things. I've just got to put it all together at the right time."
Bobby Gates inspects a wooden driver like the ones used in Legends mode of Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 14. (Photo courtesy EA Sports)
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Hunter Mahan liked the sweater he was wearing on the big screen but he wasn't quite so sure about those knickers Tiger Woods had on.
"Tiger doesn't look so good," Mahan said with an impish grin. "I don't know if he can pull (the look) off."
Mahan was playing himself in the innovative "Legends of the Majors" mode of the Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 14 video game that will be released next month. The game's lead designer, Mike DeVault, played the character of Woods at the press conference held in conjunction with the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
The Legends mode encompasses six different eras of the game and features all four major championships for the first time. One of the most interesting spins in the game is the painstaking recreation of Augusta National, circa 1934 -- hence the knickers, ties and sweaters on the players.
"Whenever you go into that particular era you take on the characteristcs of that era," DeVault explained. "So here's Tiger, he's using a brassie to tee off with -- a Nike brassie."
The equipment is programmed to respond as it would have in each of the six eras the game encompasses. Playing Augusta National in 1934, for example, the trajectory of the ball is lower and it comes off the club differently. There will be a learning curve for gamers, as a result.
"The club sounds like a wood and the ball actually sounds a little bit more hollow," DeVault said. "We really to cover all the bases in all these different eras I think people are really going to enjoy it."
Once gamers complete the Legends mode that unlocks all of the eras to use at any of the courses in the game -- and with any of the 25 players included in the project. Mahan, for one, is excited about the new features.
"I think it's a whole cool aspect," Mahan said. "It's diving into the history of golf. People who are playing it -- especially kids -- they don't know anything about this style of game and the courses and how they've changed over the years. I think it's really interesting.
"It's like a history book and at the same time you get to play a neat game."
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Hunter Mahan and Padraig Harrington are feeding off each other during the third round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
Harrington just bounced back from his lone bogey of the day with a two-putt birdie on the par-5 13th. His seventh birdie has moved the Irishman into sole possession of second place at 14 under, five strokes behind Phil Mickelson.
Harrington is playing in the Waste Management Phoenix Open for the first time.
Mahan is among the group at 13 under along with Troy Mattesson, Brandt Snedeker, Bill Haas and Keegan Bradley. The 2010 Waste Management Phoenix Open champ has made five birdies -- and the last, which at the 13th hole, was particularly creative after he drove under a cactus branch and had to putt lefthanded back into the fairway left-handed, then holed a bunker shot.
To preview the 2013 PGA TOUR season, PGATOUR.COM is counting down the Top 100 Players to Watch in 2013. For an archive page with the top 100 players and for an explanation on how the list was compiled, click here.
2013 PREVIEW: Last year was the tale of two seasons for Hunter Mahan. He won twice by April 1st, but his best finish in his next 16 starts was a tie for eighth, accomplished twice. Finding consistency throughout the 2013 season will be important if Mahan, who finished one spot shy of automatically qualifying for the U.S. Ryder Cup team, is to return to international competition at the Presidents Cup.
2012 DEFINING MOMENT: Mahan won his second World Golf Championships event when he took a 2-and-1 victory over Rory McIlroy in the finals of the Accenture Match Play Championship. Three starts later, Mahan rallied from two back to beat Carl Pettersson by one at the Shell Houston Open and take over the top spot in the FedExCup standings. He ended up 19th but he joined Steve Stricker as the only two players to play in all 24 Playoffs events. –- Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
ALBERS’ QUICK TAKE: I felt so badly for Hunter when he missed the Ryder Cup team and admired the way he handled the situation. His chip on the 70th hole at The Shell Houston Open was one of the better shots of the season. I think he's a great driver of the golf ball with a penetrating flight. -- Fred Albers, SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio
BOLTON’S FANTASY OUTLOOK: Despite his second-half fade, he still eclipsed $4 million for the first time in nine seasons on the PGA TOUR. Two victories including a World Golf Championship (Match Play) will do that for you. Turned 30 in May, so he's inching into his prime, which is a scary proposition given the high level of consistency he's authored over the last four years. Because he can undress flagsticks at a moment's notice, rarely misses cuts and plays a full schedule, plug him in late in the first round. -- Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy expert
2012 QUICK REVIEW
Regular Season ranking
Final Playoffs ranking
|Best finishes||1st||WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship
Shell Houston Open
|By the Numbers
Cuts made: 20
Rounds played: 82
Top-10 finishes: 5
Money List rank: 9th
Driving distance: 61st
Driving accuracy: 17th
Greens in regulation: 12th
Strokes gained-putting: 111th
Scoring average: 39th
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN
What is your prediction for Hunter Mahan in 2013? Fill out the form below and let us know
In the third round of the 2012 TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola, Tiger Woods hits his 104-yard second shot to 10 feet on the par-4 4th hole and makes the putt for birdie.
In the third round of the 2012 TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola, Hunter Mahan makes a 16-foot putt for birdie on the par-4 5th hole.
In the third round of the 2012 TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola, Rory McIlroy hits his tee shot to 5 feet on the 219 yard, par-3 2nd hole and sinks the birdie putt.
The top 30 in FedExCup points are headed to East Lake for the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola. Here’s a look at Hunter Mahan, one of the 30 players who will contend for the FedExCup title.
SCENARIOS TO WIN FEDEXCUP: For Mahan to win the
FedExCup, he MUST win the TOUR Championship and have the following
scenarios fall into place:
> Rory McIlroy (No. 1) finishes 15th* or worse
> Tiger Woods (No. 2) finishes T-5 or worse
> Nick Watney (No. 3) finishes 3-way tie for 3rd or worse
> Phil Mickelson (No. 4) finishes T-3 or worse
> Brandt Snedeker (No. 5) finishes in a 3-way tie for 2nd or worse
> Louis Oosthuizen (No. 6) finishes T-2 or worse
> *Tie for the FedExCup
Click here for scenarios of every player
SEASON IN REVIEW: Mahan will likely look upon the 2012 season with mixed emotions. The 30-year-old won twice in his first seven starts, but only posted one top-10 finish in his next 15 and lost out on a chance to play in the Ryder Cup. One of those victories came at the Accenture Match Play Championship, where he beat Rory McIlroy in the title match. He also came from two strokes back to win the Shell Houston Open. -- Helen Ross
PATH TO TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP: Here’s a look at
Mahan’s results in the first three events of the 2012
Click here for Playoffs Tracker of every player.
|FEC ranking after event||
PREVIOUS FEDEXCUP FINISHES: Here is how Mahan has finished in previous Playoffs appearances:
EAST LAKE HISTORY: This is Mahan’s fifth PGA TOUR start at East Lake. He record there was unremarkable until 2011, when he squared off in a playoff for the title with Bill Haas before losing on the second extra hole.
ALBERS’ QUICK TAKE: Fred Albers, on-course
correspondent for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, provides a quick look at
I walked with Hunter most of the week during his Accenture Match Play Championship, and I was at Redstone for his Shell Houston Open victory as well. It’s hard for me to figure out why he hasn't played well this summer. I watched him grinding on the putting green on a Saturday afternoon missing the cut at The Barclays. Mahan’s a hard worker who’s had a good year but a tough summer.
PLAYER PAGE: Click here for more on Hunter Mahan Now it’s your turn.
How do you think Mahan will fare at the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola?
By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
Everyone knows that Robert Garrigus is crazy long throughout the bag. But the shortest club was key to landing a trip to the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola.
Garrigus and Ryan Moore were the only two players to enter the BMW Championship outside the top 30 in the FedExCup standings, then play their way inside at Crooked Stick. Only the top 30 advance to the Playoffs finale at East Lake.
A T4 finish at the BMW lifted Garrigus from 31st to 20th, and during the week he was 11th in strokes-gained putting and T4 in putts per round with an Odyssey White Ice 2-Ball V-Line putter that went into the bag just the week before at the Deutsche Bank Championship.
Garrigus’ key round at Crooked Stick was a Saturday 66 that featured no bogeys and an eagle-birdie-birdie run from the 15th through 17th holes.
“I've been really comfortable with that putter, that new putter, and I just needed (Saturday) to see one go in, and I finally got the eagle putt to go in,” Garrigus said. “That was a big one. And then the next two putts on 16 and 17 were right in the jar…”
On Sunday, Garrigus clinched his finish with a 69 that included a four-birdie streak on the back nine, starting with this 60-foot bomb at the 13th.
The putter is a conventional-length model, which is also a twist for Garrigus. He famously putted for a while – and won – with a 28.5-inch putter that looked like something out of a junior’s bag. Earlier this year he went completely the other way with a Scotty Cameron Big Sur 46-inch long putter.
Now, 33 inches looks like the magic number.
“You know, I really decided to do something I've never done before, and that's go to a regular length putter,” Garrigus said. “If I could just stroke it under pressure the way I wanted to, it was going to be good because I've never tried it before. It's 33 inches, and it's rolling great.”
SERGIO’S STUFF: Sergio Garcia, heading to East Lake next week at 12th in the FedExCup standings, had two new TaylorMade ATV wedges made to refresh his arsenal. He had a 50-degree (bent to 51) and a 58-degree (bent to 56) made, then he came by the company’s truck at Crooked Stick to put the finishing touches on the wedges with a personal grind giving slight relief to the heel and toe.
BITS: Hunter Mahan switched from the Ping Nome mallet putter that he had success with earlier in the season to a more conventional heel-toe blade at the BMW. He’s moving on to the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola, one of three players (Phil Mickelson, Steve Stricker) to qualify for the Playoffs finale in all six years of the FedExCup. … Nineteen of the 30 players at East Lake will play Titleist balls. … Argentina’s Tommy Cocha won the inaugural PGA TOUR Latinoamerica event with a Titleist bag of equipment and a ProV1x ball.
WINNER’S BAG: Rory McIlroy at the BMW
Driver: Titleist 913D3 (Mitsubishi Diamana proto 70X, 8.5 degrees)
Fairway woods: Titleist 913Fd (13.5, 18 degrees)
Irons: Titleist MB (3-9)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM4 (46, 54, 60 degrees)
Putter: Scotty Cameron GSS
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
Check out the top five shots of the week from the Deutsche Bank Championship featuring highlights from Chris Kirk, Hunter Mahan, Rory McIlroy, Louis Oosthuizen, and Tiger Woods.