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December 9, 2005

Padraig Harrington


JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Padraig, for joining us for a few minutes here in the media center at the Target World Challenge presented by Countrywide.

Everybody was under par today. Did it play a little bit easier today? It was par or under par.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: The pin positions were easier today than yesterday. Yesterday's pins were very difficult for a first day out. Today the golf course was windier but the pin positions were easier, more front pins. I would have expected the scoring to be better today.

Q. You've had kind of a difficult year off the course, successful on it. Are you ready to move on to '06, or have you already done it?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I am looking forward big time to my winter break, yes. I kind of started out two weeks ago. This week has been to try to come up and play golf after kind of finishing the year two weeks, three weeks ago now, that's been difficult. But definitely the nine weeks are very important to me. I've got a lot of things planned for that time, and I think that's the only way I'm going to not that I want closure, but get closure on those sort of things and come out strong next year.

Q. Why did you come here?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I think because I know the guys well here. It's a good tournament. It's been very good to me. It's run for good reasons. Not that I know Tiger that well, but I think because the tournament and the Tiger Woods Foundation has been so good at running this event, I came here for that reason. I've had a good time at this event in the past. I think that's another good reason for being here.

I honestly don't think I'm here for the golfing reasons I'd say. I think I could have done with 13 weeks off (laughter). But, you know, it's a good place for me, so yes, it's a good reason to come here. There's more to it than just a golf event this week.

Q. If you don't mind me asking, you return then for Riviera? Is that going to be your first tournament?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Possibly, yeah. I played Riviera Monday and really enjoyed it, and secondly, it's a course that I liked a lot.

Q. Had you not played there before?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Never played it before. First time on Monday.

Q. It's terrible in February, though. Sorry.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, but it's beautiful now, so that's encouraging. It was encouraging in that sense.

Q. You anticipate your very first golf tournament of the year being Qatar, Dubai or possibly Riviera?


Q. Watching you on the range last night, it looked like you were grinding harder than ever.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I'm all set to work hard for the winter. I've got loads to work on.

Q. I would have thought it was June watching you last night.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I'm not putting the clubs away; I have a couple of holidays booked. But to be honest, the nine weeks is the only period that I can do some serious physical training and some serious golf work. It's a different sort of it's a more enjoyable sort of nine weeks when you feel like you can get so much done without a tournament around the corner to put you off practicing let's say, put you off working on things. That's why I've said this week it's tough coming out here after shutting down three weeks ago. It's tough to come out here and have to concentrate on getting on chipping and putting right, the pace of the greens. That kind of stuff is hard to do when you shut down.

Working on the range, I like that, so that's not something that's difficult for me to do. I quite enjoy that end of the practice, and I do plenty of that for the nine weeks.

Q. Your physical work, your physio stuff, is that a new thing?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: No, not new. But at the end of the day you can't do it's very hard to do development work when you've got a tournament next week. You can't do serious gym work when you've got to play golf competitively. It's very hard for most seasons for a lot of sports people, they might get the way it's gone now, very few people are getting long breaks, but a lot of athletes would get nine months training and three months of a season. We get I get ten months playing and two months of a rest to do some work. Obviously other golfers don't even take that.

JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Can you go through your birdies?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I can't remember (laughing).

I hit a driver, 5 iron to five feet at the 2nd for eagle.

3rd, I hit 4 iron, just hit it too well. It's not a great hole. You go and be aggressive, it went long and left and you're taking 4 from there.

4th, got the wind wrong, dunked it in the bunker, bogey.

I hit drive and 3 iron with a hybrid up the 5th hole and hit a nice chip and putt.

Then 11 I hit 3 wood, 4 iron into the bunker, hit a nice bunker shot stone dead.

16, I hit a hybrid off the tee, got a gust of wind, laid up with an 8 iron, hit wedge to six feet, holed the putt.

18, hit 3 wood, 6 iron just off the right edge, kicked down into the bunker, played a reasonable bunker shot six feet but it was an awkward putt, missed it.

Q. What's the longest break you've had since the Open?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Two weeks. I go three weeks, one week, three weeks, two weeks kind of thing during the season. Obviously this is the big break. I think I had three weeks off during that period at the Open.

Q. What I think I'm hearing you saying is you just really haven't had time to reflect or

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: There's always been another tournament. Nine weeks off means there's no tournament. This is why I don't go to Hawaii. If I was going to Hawaii, I'd be finishing up this week and thinking, okay, I'd like to work on my game but I've got to spend some time hitting wedges and hitting bunker shots because I've got to play competitive golf in two weeks' time.

Now I'm thinking nine weeks off, I can hit the gym hard, work on my swing and I don't have to worry about the nitty gritty stuff. I don't have to worry about that until about two weeks before I come back out. It's very hard to do everything.

I honestly couldn't understand sitting down to Christmas dinner having to think about my golf because I'd be playing golf in a week's time, something like that. That would be very hard. But having nine weeks, it means I can get up on a day and if I don't want to practice I don't have to practice, whereas if I took a week or two off, I'd be edging, I've got to go and do work and get ready.

Q. Do you also need this nine weeks as a mental kind of break?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: That's why I take it. Ultimately that's why I take it. It's the mental rest from competition is why I take the break.

This year it's more important than ever. I've been constantly a couple of highs of winning and with some very big lows afterwards has made it even more stressful. The two wins have made the year more stressful than anything else because I obviously got quite high when I won, and to be taken down so quickly, it's a bigger knock back for the body than anything. So this nine weeks is more important than ever, yes.

Q. You've been on the road so much, I just wonder, we asked you this a couple of times in the last few years. Are you aware of what your distant cousin is doing with the Detroit Lions?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I follow the football now, yeah, big time.

Q. He's been under stress, too, lately.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I find myself watching the games, Monday Night Football. I'm getting into it. I like to watch the highlights more than the games. I follow what Joey is doing all the time. I'm getting into it. It's a nice interest. I'm starting I'm actually enjoying it. I'm enjoying watching.

Q. I think you're enjoying it more than he is lately.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Well, he's under pressure, but I spent a little bit of time with him at the start of the year. He's a real solid individual. He can handle an awful lot. He's as good as can be when it comes to where his head is at. I'm sure he's being patient and waiting to take the opportunities. That's all he can do, be patient.

Q. You mentioned a couple years ago when you won and of course every time you come in here you're flying in from someplace. You said basically you can sleep on airplanes.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I can sleep anywhere (laughter).

Q. You're still worn out mentally, huh?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: It's not that. It's just good discipline, go to sleep anywhere. I particularly like the jet lag when I come to the States. It's just difficult when you go home. I'm wide awake here early in the morning, and I'm tired at night, which is ideal.

Q. If I heard you correctly, it almost sounded as though the sadness that you dealt with in July was even more so through winning.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: No. It affected me more because of the fact of the wins, as in if you're on a high if you're at this level and you got knocked back to here, you've got that much of a drop in your system, but if you're up here and you get knocked down here, it takes a hell of a lot longer to come back up. From a golfing point of view, it physically and mentally really knocked the socks out of me. But obviously that's really not an issue. Golf is not an issue compared to obviously the other thing.

Just in terms of why I need a break, my central nervous system has been down, down, down all year. I have transferred that out onto the golf course; I've probably lost 20 yards on the golf course, 15 yards on the golf course because I've been flat all year. That's why I need the break, to recover. My body is stressed out.

Q. Do you think it was good to keep your normal schedule of playing?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You've just got to I couldn't recover it. People would say, well, you just can't recover. It's one of those things. I have to wait until I stop. I could have stopped in the middle of the year, but what good would that do? I'm missing the tournaments I want to play in. It's just one of those things, you have to grit your teeth and go with it and hope it comes back.

End of FastScripts.

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