Humana Challenge interview: James Hahn

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January 17, 2013

MORE INTERVIEWS: Humana Challenge transcripts archive

MARK STEVENS:  Like to welcome James Hahn to the interview room.  James, 9-under today, if you want to talk about a little bit about the course over on the Nicklaus and then about your round and we'll have some questions.

JAMES HAHN:  Course is in great shape.  Fairways immaculate.  The greens are rolling pure.  You hit a good putt on the right line at the right speed it's going to go in.
The weather today was also pretty good.  Not sure if you guys had chance to go out there, but it's some good weather.  Monday, Tuesday was a little cold, so it definitely firmed up the golf course a little bit.  Don't have to hit a lot of drivers out there.  But overall it was a great day, chipped two in, hadn't done that since I was nine years old, so nothing more I could say about that round.  It's just made a lot of putts.

Q.  Can you talk about the two chip-ins, what holes and distance.  If you remember?
JAMES HAHN:  Number 8, I missed the green from 107 yards, yes, we do miss greens from 107 yards.  And then I had a chip shot maybe about 15 feet perfect lie, hit it, perfect speed, and it went in probably about a right edge chip shot.  But then the next one was on the par-3 12?  Anybody know?

Q.  Which course?
JAMES HAHN:  Nicklaus.  Either 12 or 13 I think it's 12.  Yeah, I'm right.  No. 12.  And that one, it was a 4-iron missed the green right, miss-played the wind, had another great lie in the primary rough, and read it perfectly, hit a great chip shot.  It was actually going a little quick, I probably would have had four or five feet coming back, but it was just one of those day, hit the center of the pin, dropped straight in.
So it feels good to do that knowing that I can miss greens and get them close and sometimes in.

Q.  What was the distance on that?
JAMES HAHN:  I would say I was a good 20, 25 feet away from the pin.  But only about five feet off the green.  So could have hit any club out of my bag and it's one of those -- it's difficult, because we choose to make it difficult.
If you threw a hundred balls down there and gave me a lob wedge, I would just hit it.  But you get up to it and you have such a perfect lie you start going through your bag and like I could hit it with a pitching wedge or maybe even an 8-iron, I could run it through the rough or something.  I was just like, let's just try and chip it in with a 58 degree lob wedge and I did hit a great chip shot.

Q.  Rookie, coming here, always has the question, how much do you know, how much do you get to know about the golf courses during the week?
JAMES HAHN:  As much as I want to know.  Sometimes -- I believe that we make this game more difficult than it really is.
The rules hasn't changed -- some of the rules hasn't changed for a hundred years.  Get the ball in the hole in the least amount of strokes.  So for me the yardage books are really great.  They will tell you how far the bunkers are, how far the greens are, where pretty much where to hit it off the tee.
So for me it was just fairways, greens, and then trying to make a putt.  I think a lot of the times, we as professionals, try to take in too much information.  That's not necessary, what it is to the water on the left or how far to carry this particular tree, and for me some of my best rounds have come from not even seeing golf course for the first time.
So for me it's a little bit of an advantage, it gives me tunnel vision, I don't want to know or I don't have the information of how far the trouble is, I just know fairway, green, and try and make a putt.

Q.  Did you make an effort to get to all three courses?
JAMES HAHN:  Yes.  Came down here for the rookie orientation.  And I did all three courses in two days.  And I went back home saying I don't remember a single hole that I played.  I probably shouldn't have done that.
(Laughter.)
But coming back, I do start remembering shots that I hit at certain holes and whatnot.  And sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad.  It's good to just have tunnel vision, focus on where you want the ball to go, but often times in a practice round I'll hit a ball in the water or in the bunker and now I'll have some kind of emotion associated with a certainty shot.
And then whereas the first time playing a hole, you don't know any better and you're just, you know, you feel like you're going to make birdie all the time.
But walking off a green in a practice round and you just come off with a 6, you come out to it the next day and you start having these feelings of how can I make par.

Q.  You talked about your time away from the game when you had various jobs does all of that make this that much sweeter?
JAMES HAHN:  Absolutely.  I don't ever take a day like this for granted.  I see Russell Henley walking into the room right now and it's just a pleasure to be in his presence.
(Laughter.)
So it definitely, I remind myself every day and every time I have a hard day, we have bad rounds too and bad days and we miss cuts and whatnot and we feel like the whole world's falling down, tearing apart and whatnot.
So for me it brings me back to, well, you know, I chose to do this for a living, so don't complain.  And secondly, it's something outside, so let's have a good time.

Q.  How could you complain after some of the jobs you had?
JAMES HAHN:  Right.  Today was a great day.  I have nothing to complain about.  But selling women's shoes I would come home, there's some good stories I could tell you, maybe go grab a beer in the back or something I would rattle them off to you.
But I've had a lot of jobs, but every job that I had was a great experience for me.  Because I just like challenges, I like new opportunities.  And I feel like that's the only way that we can grow as people.

Q.  How close did you come while you had all those other jobs to thinking a day like this would never happen?
JAMES HAHN:  I've always dreamt about this day.  Just to be in the room with Russell Henley and it's, for me, ever since I was a kid, ever since I was started playing golf competitively.  And I started golf at the age of four, so by the time I was nine I felt like I was going to play on the PGA TOUR.  So I never doubted myself and in this game you can play until you're 60.  I saw Gary Player out there and he's pushing a hundred?
(Laughter.)
Don't tell him I said that.  Pushing 50?
(Laughter.)
But we can play -- as long as my dreams never die there's always an opportunity to play out on the PGA TOUR and today was one of those days that I feel grateful to be here.

Q.  You finished obviously the Web.com Tour season very strong.  But that seems like a long time ago now.  What was, what is your off season been like?
JAMES HAHN:  The first two weeks were a lot of celebrating with friends, family, just catching up with all the people that I've kind of put on the back burner, the second half of the year there.  And spending a lot of time with my family.
Didn't get to spend a lot of time with my wife.  We were married in February of last year and I think I had a one week.  Let's see, I was married in February 4th, had a week off and then the season started.  So for me I probably seen her all of eight to ten weeks last year.  So being married it feels like it's such a long time ago, about a year, but only having spent time with my wife for the last ten weeks it feels like we just got married.
So more me the off season was spending a lot of time with her, putting the clubs away for a little bit.  I knew I would get into Sony starting off the season so early as opposed to the Web.com Tour starting in February?  Late February.  I knew that I didn't have too much time to relax and I knew once the season started it's go, go, go.  So for me I just try not to do anything during the off season and just try and stay healthy.

MARK STEVENS:  Thanks for your time, James, good luck tomorrow.

JAMES HAHN:  Thank you.

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