PGA Championship

Valhalla Golf Club

The Loop

Mahan: '(McDowell's) a great guy'

January 06, 2011

KAPALUA, Hawaii - Hunter Mahan earned a small measure of revenge - very small, in fact - in the opening round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions with a 3-under-par 70 on the Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort Thursday afternoon.

That was good for T-13 in the 33-man field, but it was one stroke better than his playing partner Graeme McDowell, the reigning U.S. Open champion.

The two men had not been paired together since they faced off in the final singles match of the Ryder Cup last fall at Celtic Manor Resort in Wales. McDowell won 3 and 1, and the victory was the difference in Europe's 14 1/2-13 1/2 victory.

You might think Mahan had a little extra motivation. Not really.

"It's a golf tournament and two guys out there trying to win it. It's far from any dislike or anything there," Mahan said. "I've known Graeme for a long time, so for that one week (in the Ryder Cup) it's fun to get competitive and kind of try to find something to dislike about him and get after it. But the rest of the time that would be hard for me, because he's a great guy, and I like playing with him. I would love to play with him all four days here because he's just a fun guy to play with."

Mahan said he understood why the pairing might have intrigued golf fans.

"It gives people something to sort of focus on, and that's OK because we can always use rivalries in the game to make it more fun," he said. "But no, it wasn't any big deal. I did shoot a lower score than he did. But we're both chasing a bunch of other guys."

-- Dave Shedloski