Hunter Mahan is making a comeback to his hometown tournament, the AT&T Byron Nelson this week. He hasn’t played the tournament since 2010 when he publicly ripped the course for not suiting his play.
But Mahan didn’t care to reflect too much on his disparaging remarks from four years ago, instead looking ahead to being back in a solid field that features four of the top-12 golfers in world.
“Four years ago … it was mental,” said Mahan, the Dallas resident. “I played here quite a few years and it mentally wore me down. You know, now I don’t think the course hates me and the bad breaks aren’t because it’s me. It’s because it’s golf."
Mahan played the Nelson for seven consecutive years between 2004-10, with his best finish being a T42 in 2008. Of his 24 tournament rounds, only eight have been in the 60s.
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“I’m ready to play golf this week and hit good shots," he said. "I don’t care what breaks I get. I’m confident I can play well.”
Mahan, ranked as the 33rd-best player in the world, has had an inconsistent season so far. He finished tied for ninth at the Masters and the WGC-Match Play in April, but then missed the cut at the Players Championship earlier this month. At the Colonial last week, he tied for 53rd.
“On the range and on the practice green have been good, but I’m not getting the results I want on the golf course,” Mahan said. “But it’s just part of golf. You’re going to go through dips where you’re not getting the breaks you want. You’ve just got to keep your head up and keep kind of going week to week and not get too sucked into the results.”
In his career, Mahan has won six PGA Tour events and played on three Ryder Cup teams. At 33, though, a major championship remains elusive and ranks as priority No. 1 for Mahan.
“I don’t know how to peak for majors,” Mahan said. “You want to be rested for majors because you’re going to spend more time on the golf course than you would on a normal week. So you want to be rested mentally and physically. Most majors are mental hurdles more than physical hurdles, so you just have to go out and enjoy the challenge. That’s why you play each week to get better.”
Drew Davison, 817-390-7760