November 12, 2003
KIAWAH, SOUTH CAROLINA
GORDON SIMPSON: Welcome to the Irish Team, Paul McGinley and Padraig Harrington. First of all, having won in '97, a different format, you have great memories coming back to play the course. Paul, take us through.
PAUL McGINLEY: It's nice to come back to a course we won on before. I think it will be tougher than it was the last time. I think we're playing a lot more of the back tees. In fact, we're playing all the back tees compared to last time. It's a different format, too. Last time it's each ball to count, this time it's a four-ball foursome. We certainly performed better as a team when it was each ball to count than we did with four-ball foursome. We're due a good week. It's turned into a world event. We've always done reasonably well, Top-10, I think Top-5, we haven't played as well as we did when each ball was to count. I think we're due hopefully a good week.
GORDON SIMPSON: Padraig, does it all come flooding back?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: We played 18 holes yesterday and we spent a good bit of time discussing the shots we hit in the last tournament while we were there. You holed that shot and did that. It was interesting going around. Sometimes our perceptions weren't quite the same as the other guy's. I think on the 13th I thought it was in this place and he said, no, you were further back here. It was interesting just discussing it and really seeing what both of us were thinking as we were going along in the tournament. It's never that evident when you're actually playing because you're looking after yourself. So it was interesting to play yesterday and remember some of the good memories from back in '97.
GORDON SIMPSON: Do you remember the post tournament party or can you not remember anything about that?
PAUL McGINLEY: He does. He was drinking Coke. I remember John O'Reilly -- we put a small bottle of Irish whiskey on everybody's table. As John got up to leave, his coat opened and all these bottles were there. Nothing would embarrass John.
GORDON SIMPSON: We'll take some questions now, please.
Q. How do you like the change on 18?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I think it's a valid change. The old 18, I think when we played it it was downwind. It was a driver, sand wedge, which really isn't what you'd expect of the 18th hole on a championship course. It has to be a bit more of a test than that. It was a good idea to change it and it's nice to have it up close to the ocean. It's nice when you're standing on the green, you can hear the ocean. I think it's a good improvement.
PAUL McGINLEY: I'll tell you Sunday night. We certainly like the old 18. I think the green is smaller, a more demanding shot. Yesterday when we played, it was the opposite wind than what we had the whole of the tournament the last time we were here. So it was nice to play it that way. People remember back to Ryder Cup and people hitting 2-irons in there and woods in there. When we played it was 5, 6-irons because it was down off the left. Whereas yesterday it was into, and today it will be left to right. It's nice to play in different winds. I think the same goes to 18, it's certainly a tougher hole when it is downwind. The green is smaller. You have to be more precise with your second shot. A longer iron into the wind.
Q. Speak to the possible weather conditions we're looking at this weekend with a lot more wind, cooler weather as compared to '97.
PAUL McGINLEY: Cooler for you is not cooler for us. I think the wind is going to be a factor. The greens are very, very firm. And as a lot of people know, they're raised up and that caused havoc in '91 at the Ryder Cup, guys pitching on greens, rolling off greens. And there is a lot around here. In '97 we didn't have much of a breeze, 10, 15 mile an hour breeze. The forecast is stronger this week. You'll see a lot of guys, hitting good shots in and rolling off greens and having to pitch up. That what's made '91 very difficult, was firm greens and a breeze blowing the ball off these raised greens. It's a different golf course than it was in '97. First of all, the greens are firmer and secondly the wind conditions are going to make it tougher, so you're not going to see the low scoring as you did in '97.
Q. The greens, the fact that they were planted in July, are they true and in the type of condition you guys expect?
PAUL McGINLEY: I have no problems with the greens. I think they're fine. They are not 100 percent U.S. Open, deadflat and perfectly rolling greens, but no problems about the greens at all.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I'm happy with the greens. They're rolling them, and they seem to putt fine. If you get close to the hole, the ball didn't seem to be bumping. I was quite happy with them. They're good speed, not extreme speed. If you had a different grass on them, poa annua grass or something like that, with the wind the ball wouldn't stay on the greens they're so elevated. It's a good quality putting surface with the conditions.
Q. Paul Casey and Justin Rose were talking about the four-ball foursomes format and they're saying in the four-balls they used to think if one had got it down the middle the other should have the go. They've now decided it's best to have two balls in the fairway and two birdies putts. What's your thought on four-balls?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I suppose that's what they call experience. Having two people in is always going to be an advantage. That's not always the case. There will be some holes where you do get your partner down the fairway and you have to take a chance at carrying a bunker. It's all as you go along, as you play every hole. It's definitely difficult for the second person, if the first guy has hit the green or hit the fairway, it's always difficult for the second person to concentrate fully on his shot. There is, Well he's up there, there's no pressure on me, but that's really experience, to choose the right time to be aggressive even in a four-ball. It's how you're playing, how you're comfortable. It depends who's leading off, it depends who is the second guy behind.
That's why every team is different. Partners are always different. Some guys like the idea of having another partner in the hole and it relaxes them and they play better. Other guys like the tension and like to be the one maybe to go first because he thinks he's under a bit more pressure. Everybody differs and it's really experience. They are two young guys who are gaining the experience and seeing that. There will be different times this week when one guy hits the fairway and the other guy has a go at it. They're not always going to play conservative.
I had an interesting experience last week with Phillip Price in a four-ball match. The first day I played well. I thought Phil played well, too. I was doing all the scoring, birdies and eagles and all sort of things. At the end of the round, Phillip, because he wasn't in there first, he assumed he hadn't played well. As far as I was concerned, he backed me up all the way. He was in the holes, he was always there making the pars, but because I played so well, he convinced himself he wasn't playing well. It was really interesting. He started to look for things wrong with his swing. I never experienced that before in a four-ball, but definitely me playing well put him off. He didn't feel like he was contributing as much in the game and looked for what was wrong with his game. To be honest, I just happened to hole the putts and do all the rights things at the right time. I thought he played fine.
It's amazing how you don't see these things. He convinced himself, because he wasn't the one leading the scoring, he didn't play well. And he played decent. He just didn't get the opportunities because I was there. And that can happen in four-ball golf. Your partner plays so well and you feel like you're not counting or not parring and you end up finding something wrong with your game that wouldn't have been there if you both played sort of average.
Q. Do you believe you would have played as well had he not been there?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: That's the thing, I was playing good golf because I felt he was there making the pars, solid. I felt I could always count on him to be in the hole. And it was interesting afterwards, he had a totally different perception of the round than I had. Without a doubt he started looking for something wrong with his game that I don't think he felt was wrong before the game.
PAUL McGINLEY: I agree with Padraig. I think experience kicks in. It has with us. Experience has told us when you're playing 99 percent of the season playing your own ball and your own game, why change and adapt for one week of the year. We had success in '97 by he played his ball and I played mine and we added it up at the end of the day. It was very much keep things simple and play your own game. And the tendency is to fall into, okay, this is four-ball, okay, you have to risk/reward, you have to take the course on, then you're playing out of the your comfort zone. You're not playing your normal game that you play in 31 or 32 weeks of the season. I think the secret is keep it simple. Play your own game, play in your comfort zone and see how it goes.
Q. How about in foursomes?
PAUL McGINLEY: There is more strategy there. You have a choice which holes you're going to tee off on. We'll discuss that tonight, which holes he's comfortable with, tee boxes or second shots. Obviously the par-5s and par-3s will come into who is hitting iron shots better a little bit more initially before we decide who does what. We haven't discussed that what. We want an another practice round.
Q. The English Team of Casey and Rose, do you see a future Ryder Cup combination? And if so, will their experience in the World Cup help?
PAUL McGINLEY: You have two world class players and certainly they're heading in that direction. England has strong players coming through, as well, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood. The more team events the better, as far as Ryder Cup. I benefited playing the Seve Trophy before the Ryder Cup as a team and being involved in the team and I'm sure they'll do the same, having played Seve Trophy and World Cup as well.
Q. Any in memory about the '91 Ryder Cup?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: The spike mark on the 18th. Langer's putt.
PAUL McGINLEY: It was a bit disappointmenting we couldn't do it this year. We couldn't get to see where the putt was. Fortunately nobody will ever be able to do that again with the green change. That's a history that will change.
GORDON SIMPSON: Did you try the putt?
PAUL McGINLEY: Of course I did. Never missed it.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: He tried it in the real tournament.
Q. Your frame of mind about Sunday night?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: This is a great thing about golf, there is always another week. You lose a tournament on a Sunday, I win a tournament, especially if you lose a tournament or anything, or the tournament doesn't go well, the minute you tee it up the following week, your focus goes to the future and you tend to leave the past behind.
Q. You said you worried that a friendship might be effected. Is that clear now?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Nothing has happened since Sunday night. We have to see how time goes along. Obviously it's something that's said and done now. It's in the past. There really isn't anything more -- there's nothing more to say until we meet again. That's it at the end of the day. At the end of the day, three months time we meet up we take it from there.
Q. Can you guys sort of assess the field for this week's tournament, who are the strong teams going to be?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: The best thing to do in all these tournaments is not look around. I've got to say, we're really concerned about how we're going to play. We know we're capable of doing good here this week if we play our golf. We won on this golf course before so it does give us confidence. We're heavily focused on just getting ourselves ready. No matter how good a team is, you can never underestimate or overestimate how other teams are going to play. You can't predict it. You just don't know what's going on in somebody's game, especially in a week like this, because it's not a question of just one guy, but two guys have to play well. So if one guy is out of form the team is going to dip. There's no point thinking what team is the team to beat. The team is ourselves. We have to beat the competition with ourselves and let everybody else take care of themselves out there. It's not worth worrying about. We can't control what we they do, so let them at it.
Q. Going back to Sunday night, have you thought of anything different that you would like to say to Jose Maria that you didn't think of at the time or is it a case of waiting a few months for it to settle?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: We had a good conversation afterwards. And to be honest, so far all that could have been said has been said. It would only become evident again whenever we meet up again, really, next time we play. It's something definitely, considering a big week like this, I certainly have to keep it out of my mind and leave it in the past. There's no point, nothing I can say or do now. It's certainly something that is in the past at the moment anyway and obviously it will come up again when we meet again but that's about it.
Q. Do you know when that will be? Hong Kong?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Hong Kong, yes.
Q. Jose Maria has won that before.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: He told me he was taking two or three months off, so I'm not too sure what his schedule is. I have to concentrate on the job at hand, and that's this week and this will look after itself. There's no point in thinking or worrying about it.
End of FastScripts.