'It's a great motivator to try and get back on the team,' Mahan explained while preparing for next week's Thailand Golf Championship. 'If you play this game for 25 years, you're going to have ups and downs. I'm more motivated than ever, and I'm not forgetting that I can still improve a lot of things.'
After winning twice before The Masters this past spring, Mahan seemed poised to make his third consecutive U.S. Ryder Cup squad, but a mid-season slump included just one top-10 finish in 15 starts, and Mahan missed qualifying automatically for the team by a single spot. He was then not included as one of Davis Love III's four captain's picks.
'When you've made the last five teams, you know how much fun it is,' said Mahan, who has also made each of the last three U.S. Presidents Cup teams. 'And when you're not there, you know what you're missing and it sucks. It feels like you let yourself down in a way. It definitely kicks you in the teeth a little bit.'
Given a few weeks of reflection, Mahan has come to terms with the events and decisions that kept him sidelined last month.
'At the end of the day, I wasn't playing as well as the other guys,' he noted. 'I've got no one to blame but myself really.'
Having originally stated that he would not even watch the matches after missing the team, Mahan ultimately reversed his decision and opted to tune in.
'It was difficult to watch, I felt bad for the guys because I know how hard they competed,' he explained. 'But you've got to give it to Europe too, they outplayed the U.S. on Sunday.'