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June 25, 2005

Padraig Harrington


CHRIS REIMER: We just want to welcome Padraig Harrington to the media center. Padraig is our third round leader and CRESTOR, an AstraZeneca product, is going to donate $50,000 to the Maria Fareri Children's Hospital on behalf of you and Jim Furyk and the Barclays Classic. Also for being the CRESTOR Charity Challenge co winner, CRESTOR is going to donate $25,000 to both the charity of your choice and Jim Furyk's choice; a good example of how giving back is at the heart of the PGA TOUR. And if you would not mind just open up by commenting on the role charity plays in the PGA TOUR and in your life.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Obviously it's very generous of CRESTOR. I didn't realize they were doing this, but you can see out there that the Tour, it's strive to go give a billion to charity and I suppose this is some of the money and it's good to see hands on where it's going. Obviously it's great that myself and Jim have a say in maybe supporting one of the charities that is close to our own hearts. We're well looked after on the Tour, and we have a very good living, so it's nice that we are in a position that we can give back something throughout the year, as the Tour collectively is giving back a huge amount.

CHRIS REIMER: Let's start talking about your round today, just some opening comments.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, it was kind of a round, the first 12 first 11 holes, I never missed a shot. I was, you know, every time in the right position on every fairway, every green and putting uphill all the time, just kept leaving them short but putting uphill nonetheless. I probably hit the nicest shot I could into 11 and 3 putted from just nowhere. Never even crossed my mind that it was 15, 18 feet.

Then I just missed the next green, bogey; two bogeys from nowhere, and to be honest, on the way in, it was fine on the way in. I kept my head in the right place and made a few birdies coming home. Also dropped one on 15, but to be honest, I got a couple of breaks on the way home. I chipped in on 16 which is always a bonus, and I've got to be pleased with the final score.

CHRIS REIMER: Take some questions for Padraig.

Q. Everybody is having their little birdie binges here, but they all seem to be giving something back to the course. Why is it so difficult to sustain it?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Well, it's an interesting course, you're hitting reasonable clubs into the greens. You're hitting a good few wedge shots and some short irons shots, so if you're hitting them well, you can go after the pins and you can make birdies if you hit them well. But all of a sudden with those pins being as tight as they are, and the greens being firm, and every one of them if you miss in the wrong place you're not getting up and down. If you keep going after them, eventually on a break you're going to get a slight bit of wind or slightly miss the shot and all of a sudden you're going to make bogey.

You're kind of caught between two schools, whether you're playing safe all the time or going after it all the time. If you're going after it all. I'm sure you're going to be have birdies but also make a few bogeys. That will be the interesting thing tomorrow, a lot of the guys, 3 , 4 , 5 under par going after everything and it's quite possible for any of them to shoot a low one if things keep going for them. Whereas you'll probably find more with the leaders being, I'd say, a bit more picky about which pins they go for and maybe a bit more conservative.

So it does get the chance that if the guys are a bit further back, to catch up if they go out guns blazing, they can genuinely make a move.

But as you've said, it is difficult to keep a bogey off the card. You're going to make a couple of bogeys, it's hard to shoot the 65s or 64s that some of those guys will need.

Q. Having gotten your first win under your belt in the U.S. does it make it a little easier tomorrow?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, well, I would think it does yeah. You know I'm going out there now tomorrow just like I would any tournament I'd be in contention. You know, after winning once on the Tour, at least it's a little bit of if there was a monkey on my back, I didn't feel it but certainly there was. It could have been there, and that's obviously gone. It's just a chance to win my 14th event of my career tomorrow, and go out and do the same things.

It's never going to be the same as winning your first event on the Tour. You know, it's obviously a big, big tournament and a big win to get tomorrow, but it's still not the first one.

Q. With the way this course is set up, do you find that you have to think a little bit more than you would, say, some of the other courses that you play around the world, or do you have to maintain your mental approach a little bit more here than, say, someplace else?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Would I think so, yeah. I would think definitely you've got to be personally, I feel you've got to be very choosey about where you're hitting the golf ball on the greens, whether you're going to go for some of them or whether you're going to hit it in. Sometimes the best place to hit it is 25 feet short between a tier and the hole because you know it could be 15 feet past the flag or be over the green. It's very difficult with the rough around the green. It's a good challenge, it's a good mental challenge, but it's also a challenge that allows you to score which is important. It's not like it's not so tough that everybody is just trying to make pars. They are still opportunities to make birdies and eagles out there, so it's the type of obviously if I'm going well in the tournament, it's the type of course that you have opportunities, but sometimes you just have to play the conservative shot, too.

Q. At the Honda, I think it was, you had some family concerns back home.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I didn't, actually at the Honda believe it or not.

Q. Which tournament was that?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: It was two days after the Honda.

Q. Will it be easier focus on the golf and not focus on outside things?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I've done a good enough job these three days, I certainly would have I certainly needed to look at and appraise my attitude on the golf course in previous weeks, and this week it's been good. You know, I see no reason why I shouldn't carry it on tomorrow.

Q. You mentioned the other day that you could not remember ever missing two cuts in a row; what got off in your game and what have you done?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I can tell you this, I am not playing any better or any worse than I played last two weeks. I just have a better attitude to this week, that's it. I'm probably not being as hard on myself or something along those lines. It's not nothing but that.

Q. Were you going after 16th, the flag on 16?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: No. I hit 3 wood off the tee and hit it in the left rough. It was a struggle from there to be honest. I did well to make five. Very happy with it.

Q. Could you talk about tomorrow being in the final group inside with Jim right there, as opposed to ahead or behind or whatever?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I think with Jim, Jim is a world class player. I think it's good that I'm there with him and you've got to expect, you've got to know that he's going to come out and play a solid game tomorrow.

It gives me it puts me in the position that I'm not going out there thinking, you know, if you were a couple of shots ahead you might be trying to think you could get away with something. Playing with Jim Furyk, knowing that Jim Furyk is there, you know that you've got to go out and play golf.

He's always going to be good and steady, so I've got to go out and play better tomorrow and that's it.

Q. Is there an element of match play to it?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Not necessarily match play. But what I like about the fact is that when you're in a situation like that, myself and Jim both need to go forward to make sure that none of the 5 unders can win this tournament. So as long as the worst thing you can be is go out there 9 under, maybe a couple of shots ahead and stay at 9 under all day, because, you know, it's likely then you're bringing a lot of people into contention. Myself and Jim both need to go out there and make a few birdies and get going, and then sort it out between ourselves at the end of the day, rather than hang about and wait for the rest to catch up and see what happens.

It's good that Jim is there. You know, as I said, I'll be quite happy to play off his momentum for the first 12 holes or whatever, and then see how it goes from there.

Q. Better attitude this week, anything with the fans? The fans seem to be really behind you.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I get good support all the time. I've got to say, yes, in New York, there's more Irish, I get very good support here; particularly I did well last year. Yes, it is a little bit better this week, but I do get support every week, so I can't say necessarily it was it's changed everything.

But, you know, I think New York is a good venue to visit. There's more things to do, so it kind of gets you away from the golf and you start evaluating, you know, maybe I probably was just trying too hard the last couple of weeks. This week, you know, I suppose with a bit of sport, I went to a Yankees game, obviously with the playoffs and the basketball being on, there's more things to keep yourself away from sort of thinking about the golf.

Q. What about the Open qualifier at Canoe Brook, do you have any thoughts about guys being able to go over there and play Monday and qualify for the British.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I didn't know it was on.

Q. A bunch of guys are going Monday, a bunch of American Tour players are going over there on Monday to try to qualify for the Open.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, it's great. It's tremendous. I can tell you from the U.S. Open perspective, obviously Michael Campbell came from there, but it really is encouraging for The European Tour pros that there's a venue at home most of the guys, you have to remember, a lot of the guys going to the qualifying certainly would not have really have the means to travel across and lose two weeks worth to go qualify in the States. To play in the U.S. Open, they have a chance to do it. This is the same with the Open.

It is a bit much to travel all the way across the water, and as I said, you could lose close to two weeks tournaments just to make a qualifier, and qualifying, no matter how good you are, is always a little bit of a lottery. It's great that there is a venue here and I know that the R&A have venues all over the world for this, and it's certainly the right way to go to get the best players in, as Michael Campbell proved.

Q. Sorry, I don't remember, but did you play in the last group here last year?


Q. What was your approach on Sunday?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: No, I didn't. I remember I was second to last group.

Q. So what was your approach then, a little different on Sunday?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You know, it would be the same as it will be tomorrow. It was I'm just going to play my game, that's it. Just go out there and play my game and can't do anything more than that.

Q. You had mentioned being concerned that 5 under doesn't come from behind to win the tournament, and there is one guy, Vijay, at 5 under, does his name loom large on the leaderboard?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Let's say I had not seen the leaderboard at all, but the first name I did see, that was his (laughter).

So, yeah, you look for his name. You're always going to look for the guys who have a lot of form, without a doubt. I knew there was 8 unders I thought there was 8 unders, I had not been watching the leaderboard as I said. I assumed I knew somebody shot 5 under, I could see that, but I didn't know who it was and I kind of half expected it was Vijay. As I said, you know, it's definitely a tougher prospect if Vijay Singh was 9 under tomorrow or 8 under tomorrow. He has a bit more work to do now.

Q. Even though you had not played so well leading up to this tournament, the fact that you played so well here last year, does that give you confidence coming in?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Golfers are very much horses for courses. We all tend to play well on the same type of golf courses, same time of year; repetitive. I'm unbelievable, I turn up at the same golf courses that I play in, I tend to repeat on. I can't ever remember having a decent tournament from, you know, sort of after the first week of May to the middle of June. Never since I've been an amateur I have played well in those five weeks, and it's funny, I start up again a little about in the summer. We're very I don't know what it is. Just whatever places suit our eye, we tend to play well.

I wish we were that good, only a few are that good that you can manage to play well everywhere all the time.

CHRIS REIMER: Good luck tomorrow.

End of FastScripts.

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