November 16, 2005
RODDY WILLIAMS: We have half of the Irish team at the moment.
PAUL McGINLEY: Padraig is always late.
RODDY WILLIAMS: We'll perhaps start with Paul. It's been eight or nine years since you've teamed up to win the World Cup in the old format, nine successive years you've paired together; all set for another crack at winning the World Cup?
PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, of course we are. It's a tournament we both really enjoy; a tournament with a lot of tradition; a tournament we've had a lot of fun playing in the past; a tournament where we're obviously one of the favourites. I say "one of"; I think there's realistically six to eight teams who are equally strong in my view, and it just depends on who plays well during the week.
We'll certainly be doing our best, and it might be us. It's a great week, a tournament we really enjoy. In the practice round today, we had great fun. Even when we play together in majors or whatever the case may be, practice rounds it doesn't have the same feeling as when we are actually playing as part of a team. We had a lot of fun out there today.
RODDY WILLIAMS: You've had a lot of success in team golf. What is it in particular with this partnership that's so special?
PAUL McGINLEY: There he comes, late as usual. If it was me, he'd be chopping away.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: He's got everything to say for me, anyway.
PAUL McGINLEY: What's the question? I've forgotten now.
RODDY WILLIAMS: The relationship between the two of you, what's so special with this particular relationship?
PAUL McGINLEY: I think we're relaxed with each other's company on and off the course. I think that's important. We both have different styles of playing the game. I think we're able to not get in each other's way. I think we've suffered in the past of playing too much as a team and trying to actually I'd rather not go down that road because I'm giving away too many secrets. (Smiling).
But I think it's important that we've had success together. We've played well together, and in a lot of Ryder Cups, too. It gives you a level of confidence when you're paired up with somebody that you've had success with in the past.
RODDY WILLIAMS: Padraig, can you maybe add anything to that?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You have to repeat the question for me.
RODDY WILLIAMS: You've obviously been playing nine years. I think you've been coming to this tournament paired together, you won it once; what is it?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Well, we've been playing together since 1990, actually, when we first paired up together in foursomes for Ireland.
We're from the same place at home, went to the same school, so our backgrounds are very similar. So I suppose when you go on the golf course, even though we're different in how we play the game, we know what's going through each other's head. We're easy enough; Paul is easy to get on with on and off the golf course.
I think we both know both of us are giving 100% when we're on the golf course, which I think that helps that we've got a lot of confidence in what the other guy is doing and knowing that he's fully committed. You know, that gives some confidence to each of us as we play our own games. And as I say, we tend to enjoy the event, both on and off the golf course. That always makes for better golf.
Q. What are your expectations playing tomorrow with the Venezuelan team?
PAUL McGINLEY: Well, we've played with them in the past, nice guys, and we're looking forward to playing. I think it's great the way the draw has done, the so called weaker teams are playing with the so called stronger teams. That's what the World Cup is about. It's great to be playing with different nationalities and guys that you don't play on Tour with. We're looking forward to it.
Q. What were your impressions of the golf course today? David and Luke were in earlier saying it's going to be a birdie fest; does that suit good teams?
PAUL McGINLEY: I don't know if it's going to be a birdie fest. We've got strong winds forecast for the weekend. I think it's one of those courses that you play first and you think, well, there's not a lot to it. But when you get out there tomorrow and the pins are cut around the corner of the water and pins are cut around the edges of the greens and on slopes and all that, it becomes a different story.
But I think it's a good golf course. I think it's a lot of good design, a lot of good course design, which is something we don't see a lot of now unfortunately in modern days in golf. It's a good design, lots of good pin positions. But I don't know whether it will be a birdie fest or not. They are obviously very confident.
RODDY WILLIAMS: Padraig, what are your thoughts on the course, as well?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, I agree with Paul, I thought the course played strong. I didn't realize it's a birdie fest. We'd better get back out there. (Laughter).
PAUL McGINLEY: They are obviously full of confidence.
Q. Maybe that's part of the strategy.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I don't know, I tend to practice obviously a lot at the tougher end of things. I thought it was a tough golf course.
PAUL McGINLEY: I did, too.
Q. I agree with you boys, it is a tough golf course. How did you play the 14th hole today, and do you think the wind is going to make that hole it's going to change completely from one day to the next?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You'll have to tell us what the 14th is.
PAUL McGINLEY: The 14th is the fairway today wasn't so bad because the wind was left to right and slightly helping so we were able to go down the right hand side. But it will be a different story if the wind changes direction, we'll have to go down the left. But it's a risk/reward hole. There are some holes out there that give risk reward to the bigger hitter.
Q. There are several holes like that.
PAUL McGINLEY: But that's not an issue, as long as they are hitting it into the same target areas, I think that's fair. I think left is something that's talked about in professional golf a lot. As long as you're playing in the same area. We played in Shanghai last week, at 310 yards the fairway is as wide as it was at 280 yards. That's wrong, if you ask me.
And here, it's quite fair. I think it's risk reward, if you want to take on shot over water, it's the same length as for a guy who wants to play it shorter. That's fine, no problem with that.
Q. Which hole do you think is more difficult?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: 18.
PAUL McGINLEY: 18, the toughest hole. If the wind stays the way it did today off the west, coming left to right, 465 yards, narrow fairways, rough from the right is quite thick, a shot over water, greens sloping away from the water, it's a tricky hole. So I don't know about a birdie fest.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Terrified if it's a birdie fest. (Laughter).
Q. Could you each come up with a memory from when you won, something that's sort of come back to you across the years that you've always relished?
PAUL McGINLEY: Well my memory is when we won, obviously. Padraig's pitch shot on 13, the par 3, or his pitch shot on 12 and 13, two consecutive pitch shots. 12 was over the corner of a bunker from a bare lie on a downslope with water behind him and he stiffed it.
He did the same on the next, up and over a slope. I thought he bladed it. I thought it was going off the far end of the green and all of a sudden with so much check on it, it stops stone dead. That set us up winning the tournament; at that stage, both scores counted; my two memories.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I remember, as I always do, practicing until it was dark every night, and McGinley looking down at me from the clubhouse tapping his fingers and waiting, and us turning up late every night for dinner because of it.
PAUL McGINLEY: I remember you getting up at dawn to go to the golf course four hours before our tee time.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: We're totally different in our approach to the game. It's amazing how different we are in our approach. And over the years, I suppose it's now that we sort of we realized it before, but now we kind of we've certainly embraced our differences more in the sense that I don't try and change him and he doesn't try and change me.
Q. Do you think that's part of your strategy to complement each other in a way?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Well, we don't complement each other; we're opposites. (Laughter).
PAUL McGINLEY: We've learned a lot over the years. We don't want to give away too many secrets. When we retire, we'll talk all about what we found.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: We're still learning.
PAUL McGINLEY: Definitely, constant learning process. There's a lot that we've learned over the years and doing completely different than we did at the start. I think it's learning about each other and their game, as well as everything else and the approaches.
Q. Padraig, can you talk about the present conditions of your game, how you're playing? You've had three busy weeks, going from America to China and back.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: A couple good weeks there, Volvo Masters, TOUR Championship Top 10s, I played very poorly last week but finished 15th; you play poorly, it gives you confidence. Sometimes you can play well and finish 15th and feel like you're not at the races. But if you've played poorly and you finish 15th, you know if you improve a bit, you know you're right there.
I've been sharp the last three weeks, a lot sharper those three weeks than I have been throughout the year. Stopped off on the way here, had a lesson from my coach, very happy how I'm hitting the golf ball.
So yeah, I'm a lot more comfortable now than I was, say, going out on Sunday morning in Shanghai. I feel a lot better about my game, which I suppose that's what Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday is about is getting the confidence levels up for the tournament.
Q. And Paul, how about you?
PAUL McGINLEY: How about me? I'm disappointed in my performance last week coming off the back of my win at Volvo Masters, bad last day. Didn't score well, actually hit the ball very well last week but didn't score very well. Short game wasn't sharp, and something I've been focused on the last few days and will do so again this afternoon and get ready.
But my game is in good shape obviously. I won a big tournament, two, three weeks ago now, and as I say, this is one of the tournaments I really look forward to all year, probably the tournament more so than anything else. I'm really looking forward to it.
Padraig, it doesn't bother me how he's playing, because he's like Tiger, he always finds a way of getting it around. It doesn't me one bit the way he's playing. If he's playing great, great. If he's playing poorly, he's still playing great, so I'm not bothered.
Q. How is the knee?
PAUL McGINLEY: My knee is fine, no problem. I still haven't decided, I'm penciled in to have it next week but I don't know yet.
Q. Why do you think this event arguably matters more to you two than perhaps anybody else?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: We're a small country.
PAUL McGINLEY: Yes, possibly so. I think the fact that we've had success together, I think we're both patriotic, it means a lot to us to play in it.
Personally, I really enjoy team events, I really, really enjoy team events no matter what it is. I'm going to play the Royal Trophy in January, and start early, something that I've never done before. But I'm finishing the season early this year so I give myself a good break so I do play it because I really enjoy team events.
You know, the World Cup is a huge title with huge tradition. It means a lot to me. We've won it before. I know it means a lot to Padraig. You know, it's special. The whole of Ireland, Irish journalists will tell you will go mad this week. Half of Ireland is down here already. We treat anything representing Ireland very carefully and very patriotically. It's a big deal. It is a big deal for, as Padraig says, a small country. We love to be the little fellas competing against the big fellas.
RODDY WILLIAMS: Padraig, anything to add to that?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: It is the small country syndrome. In Ireland we're very proud of our sports people, and any time that any of our sporting individuals or teams get on the world stage, the whole country is behind them.
PAUL McGINLEY: We were in a bar, 11 o'clock shiner, Saturday night, watching the rugby match on Saturday, as well. We follow every other sport as much as I'm sure they all follow us.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Everybody in Ireland follows Ireland in all team sports, with anybody in the world stage, people in Ireland like to get behind them. There's no begrudgery or anything like that for other sports people.
As I said, for myself and Paul, we'll follow every other Irish event that we can. If we're traveling around the world, we get out, if we're in the States, we're up early to watch the matches; or in Asia, we're up late watching, but you're always supporting the Irish teams. And I suppose because we're supporting other Irish teams, we obviously feel a certain little bit of pride when we're playing for Ireland ourselves, a lot of pride, actually.
Q. Can you just explain your movement coming back from Shanghai?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I flew back to London and stopped with Paul for four hours coaching with Bob Torrance and then flew down here lunchtime on Tuesday. Paul came down to London for four hours. He obviously came for longer, we worked together for four hours. Only needed ten minutes, as always.
Q. Can you tell us what he put right for you?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You know, it's the same old stuff, just continually working on the same old things. I've been away for three weeks and I just kind of got a bit lost in China on what I was meant to be working on. So I rang him up just before I came home from China and said would you meet us in London just for a few hours.
It's still ten minutes, and I could hit four or five shots and he'll know exactly what he wants to tell me and what to work on and okay, we spent a couple of hours working on it, but once he tells you, it clears up your mind because you always kind of need you need a little crutch to lean on all the time with your golf swing. You've always got to be trying to work on something. That doesn't necessarily mean that you spend hours hitting shots on the range doing it, but you've got to have an idea even if it's only mentally where your swing is going at any one time. As I said in China, I just got very confused. So it's helped seeing him on Tuesday morning.
Q. So what is the one thought you have?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Oh, always the same, just the top of the backswing, that is it for me.
Q. Being so important as it is, this event, for you guys, did you plan this ahead to come here and play this tournament before?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah.
PAUL McGINLEY: I had to qualify for the team obviously first. Darren and Graeme McDowell are obviously very close to making the team as well, too. Graeme, I passed him this year, and Darren wasn't going to play. Fortunately Darren stepped aside, he knows we like playing together and it means a lot to us, so he's happy to step aside so we can play.
So the first thing is to qualify. We did change our plans a little bit arriving late on a Tuesday night is something that we don't do very regularly, but we felt it was more important for Padraig to see Bob yesterday and spend a bit of time yesterday and spend time with him than it was to get down here and get an extra practice round in.
Q. You speak about the pride of a small country in a tournament like this; which of the other small countries do you think have a chance?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: There's a lot of good teams out there, a lot of good teams. I don't know about small countries, but there's a lot of strong teams.
PAUL McGINLEY: When we won in '97, I would say of the teams in, it I'd say we were probably eighth or tenth favourites and we managed to come through and win against a very strong field with three to four major winners in it. There's no teams that I would discount. I think there's certainly at least, as I say, six to eight, or I'd probably say ten teams that realistically have a good chance of winning, maybe even more.
Q. Has Chubby planned anything special to celebrate the success that you saw from David Howell?
PAUL McGINLEY: Nothing special. I mean, I could almost predict what was going to happen last week because it's happened so many times before when one ISM player wins, three happen quite quickly afterwards. It's happened so many times in the past, and I said to Chubby on Friday, "I won't be surprised to see a double winner here this week, between Darren and maybe Howell." As it turned out, it was. It's amazing how many times that has happened.
We do sort of spur each other on, but we do get on very well with each other, too. There's a lot of rivalry but there's lot of friendship, too. It's a good stable and a good bunch of guys, popular guys all around, but not just within ourselves, Howell, Westwood, Clarke are all very popular among all the players. So, yeah, it's nice when you get on a roll like that. I believe in destiny, and so when I see other guys winning, I think that I'm going to win, too.
Q. Would you prefer to see the strongest possible field here?
PAUL McGINLEY: Of course we would, yeah. I think this tournament deserves it, but that's not for us to say. We can only look after ourselves and other guys make their own decisions based on their own things and we have to respect that. All we can do is say for ourselves that we love playing in this tournament. It's a lot of fun.
Q. Do you think this event is more toward the fans?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You will have just watch the Irish fans, they will get excited hopefully, there's a lot of them down here. It is a good week for spectators. Plus you can come down to an event like this, and I think you get a little bit closer to the golf and you get a little bit closer to obviously your supporting your home country so you're getting closer to being involved.
Q. Have you color coordinated your wardrobes?
PAUL McGINLEY: No. His dress sense is so bad. (Laughter).
RODDY WILLIAMS: Thanks very much and good luck this week.
End of FastScripts.