Hunter Mahan talks with the media after shooting 67 in the first round of THE PLAYERS.
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Here's what some of the contenders had to say after completing their first rounds at THE PLAYERS Championship on Thursday.
Two-time PLAYERS champ Davis Love III on his 70, which was his first competitive round since having disk fusion surgery in February: "It was a weird feeling. I was trying not to be excited, but I was excited and nervous, and it was a good day. I didn't drive it really well. I was a little jumpy with a lot of swings, but I scrambled around and played pretty well. Got a good score out of it, but it was fun. It's nice to be back on the course."
Lee Westwood, who birdied three of his last four holes to shoot 69, on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass: "This golf course is a course that's all about patience, playing to certain areas, not being too aggressive when you shouldn't be and being aggressive when you should. It tests you mentally, the golf course, and I think that's why I've always done pretty well round it. I'm fairly well disciplined out there with my game."
Padraig Harrington, who was tied for eighth in putting with 25 and was using a belly putter for the second straight week: "I holed putts at the right time. I holed some par putts, holed some birdie putts and holed some short putts as well. So all the way through, if I'm putting like that every day, sure, wouldn't life be great? At least for me."
Adam Scott, the 2004 PLAYERS champ, who shot 69 in his first round since winning the Masters: "I played really well, I think. ... I hit the ball tee to green very nicely. I was down the fairway most of the time and around the green often. I'm pleased with where my game sits at the moment. I'd like to do a little putting practice and get a better feel for the greens, but other than that I'm excited moving forward the next three days."
Zach Johnson, who shot a 66 that left him tied for second with Tiger Woods, on the democratic nature of the Stadium Course: "This is one of those courses where I can hit drivers or 3-woods when guys are hitting 3-woods or 3-irons off the tee in particular, and we can still have the same club into the hole. I like that about this Pete Dye course. This one has always suited my eye."
Hunter Mahan on the 67 that marked just the second time he'd broken 70 in his last 18 rounds: "I think I was just trying too hard. ... I was trying to be this golfer that I picture myself being, and I can't do it in one day and I can't do it in one week or two weeks or three weeks. I'm just trying to play golf and get better every day and not really reach that limit of who I should be right now, I'm just trying to play golf and get better and realize that it's a process and things can change so fast. You just have to allow yourself to let it happen, and I feel like that's what I'm doing."
Casey Wittenberg, who shot 67 on Thursday's scoring conditions: "Hey, look, it's the best field in golf. You're going to have to get out here and play some great golf to be in contention. I'm sure everybody's maybe adjusting a little bit to it. Once you realize you can be a little more aggressive than you might think, I think the field will adjust to that."