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August 6 2013

12:30 PM

Mahan returns after birth of daughter


Hunter Mahan is among the top five Americans to watch at the PGA Championship.

By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM

PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- Hunter Mahan's strategy is simple.

"You can't be afraid," he said. "You've got to be aggressive."

Only he was talking about changing diapers, not Oak Hill and the PGA Championship, where he is playing for the first time since he withdrew in the middle of the RBC Canadian Open when his wife went into labor with the couple's first child.

Mahan hit balls over the weekend for the first time since his daughter Zoe was born and on Sunday played 18 holes at Dallas National before heading to Oak Hill.

"I felt like I haven't been on the course, played a tournament, in a long time, and it's only been, what, eight or nine days," Mahan said. "It's a little weird feeling. It feels very unfamiliar; I feel like I've had a month off.

"But I think having last week, staying home last week, really just cherishing that time and being with (wife) Kandi and Zoe and my parents were there, that was a lot of fun to have them there. I really soaked it in and appreciated it. I felt like I got that out of my system to where I can come back to here and be focused and play. I knew if I tried to maybe force it and play last week, I would have wanted to be two places at once and just wouldn't have worked out."

How he is adjusting to life on the road for the first time since his daughter was born?

"My wife does a great job of sending me videos and pictures of her all the time, and that makes it easier," Mahan said.

Being a father might also do the same on the course for Mahan, who has played in the final pairing in each of the last two majors.

"I practice, I'm playing golf, and when I go home, I don't think about it anymore," he said. "I'm just kind of focused on my wife and kid right now and just enjoying them and enjoying every kind of moment."

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