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June 26, 2005

Padraig Harrington


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Padraig Harrington, congratulations on winning the Barclays Classic. You got a form of redemption from last year in the form of a 65?foot putt. Let's start with some opening comments and congratulations on your win.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, obviously it's very special to win, but to hole a putt on the last green, and to actually get to watch a putt going in on the last green, because I got to watch it a good five seconds going into the hole as it got there or a couple of seconds as it was right in the middle of the hole, I didn't experience that before in winning a tournament. Normally you have a short putt or two putts to win or whatever. But the excitement of following that putt down the green and seeing it breaking towards the hole and keep breaking and straighten out and in she went, very special.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Talk about your day overall, you doubling bogeyed the second but you came back with an eagle on 9, kind of up?and?down all day but you fought back.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, I played really nice golf I felt, all the way through the front nine. I hit it very close all the time. I had two bad 3?putts on the second and third and put me in a lot of problems and then I had short putts on 4, 5, 6 for birdies, missed them all, missed one on 7, missed one on 8 and holed a 10?footer on 9 for eagle and got me back in the game. Really happy because I felt I was playing really good golf, hitting it pretty close. A little bit disappointed to miss, like the third hole, missed the 11th hole in the left rough and took a bogey from there.

12 was obviously playing difficult today, so all of a sudden I dropped two shots, dropped out of contention. But that was a bit disappointing. Felt I needed to go for the shots, hit one really close on 14 and was trying to go at the pin on 16. You know, I was trying to cut it in there and just push?cut it in the wind and all of a sudden it looks like my tournament is over. I think that's where I got the first ?? where I feel I got the first break of the day, hit a great chip, holed the putt and Jim, he probably laid a little bit left off the tee because it looked like the place to miss. He didn't get up?and?down and all of the sudden where I thought I was going further behind, I'm now with a real chance of winning. That was the first hole of the day that I really felt, hey, there is a big break for me, I've got something that I didn't expect.

You know, it put me in a great frame of mind over the last two holes to make another birdie, I thought would probably suffice to get me ?? well, I would have taken a birdie over last two holes to give myself a chance of getting into a playoff, that's obviously what I was thinking about at the time. Jim obviously slipped up on 17.

And 18 was slightly in my favor, being a par 5, slightly into the wind, I knew it was ?? I was going to have a little bit of an advantage off the tee. I hit a nice 3?iron second shot, thought it would be further up the green, 65?foot putt. I kept telling myself, I had a very similar putt to win the Irish Professional Championship two years ago on the 18th hole and I managed to roll that putt stone dead and it was very similar here, up and over, left?to?right, right?to?left, so it was two different breaks on the putt. I hit that stone dead and that was a good, positive image for me going up to that putt. I just stood there and said, can't really think too much about a putt like that. You could analyze it all day, you've got to go with what's it feel like and trust that you've got the feeling right, because if you start trying to think about it, you could hit it 15 feet by or even let it come off the tier or short.

It was very much look at my target and go. I hit the putt pure, and it looked great, once it rolls over that tier it looked really good for pace and really good for line. As I said it was maybe three ?? certainly ? I exaggerate ? maybe it was a foot. I had my hand in the air as it was going into the hole. I had not experienced that before and it was very nice.

Q. Are you trying to make the putt?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: No. No. Trying to 2?putt. Trying to hit a really good putt, trying to get it down there close. I'm a total realist in these situations, ain't standing there. I'm trying to hit the best possible putt I can, but it's definitely ?? I must admit, I took about a foot off my original break to give it a chance of holing it, but I was definitely more thinking about this putt, get it down there. If you had offered me three or four feet, I probably would have said, all right, I'll take that.

Q. Secondly for us, when you say "stone?dead," you holed that putt at the Irish Professional Championship?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: No, I didn't hole it.

Q. Just short?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Just to tap?in distance, which, you know, was a good image to have going into that putt.

Q. And on the putt before you hit it, are you worried about 3?putting because you're coming off the knoll there?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: No, I don't think I was. Sometimes you get these thing ?? sometimes you get this ?? you could be standing 20?foot way downhill and you'll be worried about 3?putting.

I think I was far enough away, nobody was going to judge me if I 3?putt or anything. It was really question of hitting the best putt could I from that situation. I got into a very good frame of mind and I just trusted it. I was telling myself walking up the fairway just to trust my pace, because that's normally my best part of my game is my pace putting and the last two days, I had a terrible time on the greens with pace. I left numerous putts five, six feet short yesterday and today I came out and I was all over the place.

I knew that the best I could do on 18 was to look at where I wanted to go and just trust that it was going to be right and not really get into it too much.

Q. Are you a little surprised being 2?down with six to go with the caliber that Jim is that you were able to do this?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, I've got to say, I started taking chances, you know, at that stage. I definitely on 13, I would have ?? if I was in the tournament on 13, I would have hit 5?wood off the tee or something like that instead of trying to hit it way down, or a lot further down with a 3?wood. I started pushing, I went to the pin at 14 that I wouldn't ever go at normally.

So I was definitely ?? he's so steady and he was in that, okay, he had not holed the putts today but he was in that frame of mind that he didn't look like any mistakes were going to happen. I wasn't pushing at that stage and it's a pretty dangerous golf course to push on. Luckily, as I said 16, that was the first time of the day, I felt a massive, massive change there. It looked like when he's standing up second, he's going to make three, I'm going to make four, at best, and that was going to be the end of the tournament. Instead I walked off, not ?? I walked off feeling like ?? I've felt better when I walked off 16 than I did when I walked off 9 after making eagle.

Q. Was your lie better than you expected on 16?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I had a nice, consistent lie. It was in deep rough, but all of the rough, none of it had been trampled. Nobody had walked on it. All of the grass was sitting up. It was a predictable lie. It was sitting a little bit down but not all the way down but it was consistent, so you could predict what was going to happen. It just pitched on the fringe. I came out softly and pitched it in the upslope, and with poa annua, if you can get the ball landing on an upslope, it jumps rather than forward. So everything about the shot, there was a lot of good fortune, and of course it was playing as well as it could be and worked out as well as it possibly could have. Back into the wind, too.

Q. I know you said in the past you were not necessarily playing golf for your father but when he gets the news what is it going to mean to him?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: He's going to be thrilled. It's funny, obviously two days after my last win, we found out that his cancer had come back, and I've been away for three weeks and I'm looking forward to getting home to see him. I'm sure it will give him ?? I'm sure he's glad he hung around this long.

Q. Do you fly back tomorrow?


Q. Are you playing Loch Lomond?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: No. European Open next week at The K Club, and then a week off and I play some links golf that week and then the British.

Q. You seemed to have a smile throughout the day, you're grinning a lot, even when you had the bogey and double?bogey. What was that; how were you feeling through this round?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You know, I'm a strange person, my emotions really dictate how I play. You know, with the family situation and the way I've been, I've been very hard on myself on the golf course. So, you know this, week, I decided to lighten up a bit and try and enjoy it more and I'm really, you know, I know it's difficult on the golf course. If I'm going to go out there and play, I might as well play my best, do my best, and the best thing for me this week was to try and focus on my golf, focus on enjoying it. I always play better when I've got a smile on my face rather than maybe the last couple of months I've been pretty tough. The nature of things that happen, it's easy to get down on yourself.

Q. You got a slow start when you wanted a fast start, but came back from it. Then when you dropped back again, how hard is it to make two comebacks in one round?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: The start was certainly not what I wanted. As I said last night I wanted to get out there, both myself and Jim to get a good start and to totally keep the field away.

I did feel, I had gone through all the pin positions yesterday with my caddie and he had done all the pacings for today and I knew that it would be not impossible for anybody to come at us. The way they set the course up, anybody firing at the pins were going to find bogeys. The chances of somebody shooting a 65 was really limited and the chance of one of the next in contention doing it was, you know, under a bit of pressure, was going to be very difficult. So I knew.

So I knew it was myself and Jim, if we could push forward. So when I got a slow start and came back to the field, obviously that's exactly what I didn't want. I wanted just me and Jim to be fighting out for it and being a bit more like a match.

My start was terrible, I hit a super start into the first and a super shot into the second. I just overdraw into a left?to?right wind on the third, hit a good tee shot and all of a sudden I'm 3?over par. I haven't missed a shot, I've hit every shot I wanted, not the wedge out of the rough on the second but I've hit the ball really well.

Then I hit it close on 4, 5, 6 and I miss the putts, and having a real struggle with the putter at this stage. And I'm just trying to tell myself with the putter, just get back into my routines and not focusing too much on the fact that I haven't been able to hole anything. The first six holes I had no ?? I was losing confidence as each hole went on.

But I holed a good putt on 7 and 9. As I said, it was just a question of sticking in there afterwards. Very disappointing to bogey 11. I don't know if I was slightly careless with the tee shot, I was hitting 3?iron and probably aiming down the left?hand side to be a little bit greedy, finished up in the heavy rough and that was a bad bogey at a bad time. I think I should have probably gone more down the middle of the fairway and with the 3?iron I was trying to get a bit more distance by going down the edge of the dog?leg. I'd look back at that as a mistake.

12 is a difficult hole at the best of times, very difficult pin position today. All of a sudden, I felt worse about those bogeys, I suppose because I had less time to make them up. But thankfully, this golf course, if you go after pins, you can make birdies. You know, I knew that there was birdies, even like 14, I've gone at a very tight pin, hit it to four feet and made birdie. 15 is a great hole. It's a drive and a wedge, but it's a tough, tough golf hole. So you can make a birdie, you can make a bogey.

16 was the big changing point. Me getting up?and?down, after hitting what I would consider really the only slack shot I hit all day, the only shot that was a poor golf shot. You know, to come off that gaining a shot, and be right back in the tournament where I thought I was going to be out of it.

Q. How tough was it to get it close when the pin is on the short?side?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You know, at least it was back into the wind and it makes a huge difference into the wind on poa annua greens. If you can get the ball to come down a little bit soft, it jumps up on poa annua grass and settles; whereas if it comes down anyway fiery, it moves on top of the grass and will go forever. As you can see Jim's ball running across the grass downwind. So I was lucky; plus, you know, certainly give me 20 shots and that was the closest I was going to get it.

Q. How many trips back and forth not only to play but to see your dad?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Well, my dad, my dad lives ?? I live 20 minute away from my dad when I'm at home so I've been there every day.

Q. Have you taken any extra trips back?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, yeah, I pulled out of a number of events early on in the year. It was a decision to come for three weeks, this week without a doubt. I've been on the phone every day.

I think I was on the phone to my mom yesterday and as my wife asked, "how is your dad." I said, "do you think my mom is going to tell me?" So I'm obviously looking forward to getting home to see him. I would suggest ?? well, you know, I'm not going to suggest anything, actually, but he was given a couple of weeks back in March, so he's doing ?? it's good that he's managed one more win anyway.

Q. Which events, U.S. events you pulled out?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I pulled out of BellSouth. I pulled out of Houston; those two events I think were the two I pulled out.

Q. You mentioned yesterday that wherever you go you get pretty good support. Were you surprised at how ??

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I was really surprised. I got a great cheer on the first tee and that's really, really ?? Brad Faxon, not quite a local but he's not far have and Jim is a favorite and I got a lot of support out there. That's nice. It's really nice when you realize that.

And I think the fact that I was behind all day, obviously got on my side as well. Very special, when I was going out to the 18th green, to be honest I probably didn't hear anything after I holed my putt because I was in a land of my own at that stage. (Laughter) It's great.

I really, really like playing in New York. The New York fans are loud and I love playing golf that way. There's a buzz around the golf course. There's atmosphere. You know, they appreciate the golf, they cheer about the golf and it's ?? I find it very, you know, it makes it exciting. You know, that's great in our game rather than, you know, just ?? it certainly adds to the tournaments for me. Bethpage Black, U.S. Open, there was no tournament like it ever.

Q. How about the "Ole" chants?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Oh, yeah, that's definitely Irish. You've got the good Irish support there, and I think at the Ryder Cup last time I got, it was sung to me and usually I'd be involved in singing it to a football team or something like that, so it was appreciated to have it sung to me. That was the first time, and obviously, there again today, you kind of ?? I do step back and take notice when that happens because as I say, I'm familiar with doing it myself when I'm supporting a team.

So it kind of makes you ?? definitely makes you step back and say, oh, you've done something right here, you've done something special.

Q. You had mentioned earlier that when it comes to a 65?foot putt you can't waist too much time mulling it over, can you relate your mindset of what you tell yourself?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: What I really meant to say is you can't waste time at the end of it. You obviously have to look at the line and take your time and take a few deep breaths and everything. The one thing I didn't want to do was stand over the putt and start thinking about it. I wanted at the end of the putt, right, there's the hole, go. No, what if I do this; no, what if I don't. Just look at it and go. So the end of it has to be very, very, not too much of a pause there. You've just got to kind of take your chance and hit it as best you feel and just basically take responsibility that you're giving it your best effort rather than trying too hard over it.

Q. And how many feet would you guesstimate you had ??

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I don't count. I never pace my feet off.

Q. Left of the hole?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Oh, I hit it, I'd say ten feet left of the hole. It was a left?to?right up the tier and then it came over the tier about a foot right of the hole and came back a foot. And then for the last, probably the last 18 inches, it was probably dead center.

Q. Would this have been televised live back home?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, very much so, yeah. Sky Sports would have it on, will wait till the end. There's going to be cheering, there be a few drinks drank tonight that the pubs will owe me again, keeping them in business.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Padraig, congratulations.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Thank you very much, guys.

End of FastScripts.

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