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May 27, 2005

Padraig Harrington


GORDON SIMPSON: A few years ago when Anders Hansen won, you were a bit demoralized at this stage, but I'm sure you're feeling a bit more upbeat this time around.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, I certainly found the course a little easier this year this time around. It looks like a two year break has freshened it up a lot for me. A lot more positive, slightly different attitude on the greens, just trying worry about what I'm doing rather than whether the ball is going in the hole or not. It's certainly working well. Certainly holing my fair share so far and I'm happy about that.

GORDON SIMPSON: That's just what you needed, a complete break away from the place.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, I definitely think. So well, who knows, but it feels like I've done the right thing and to come back. As I said, I'm 6 under so far and I don't feel like it's been any great stretch to get there.

So, you know, that's a good, positive sign. When I missed the cut last time at 4 over par, I thought I played great, or played well. So, you know, it's different attitude and certainly things seem to be going my way so far.

Q. How different is the course this time than when you last played this event?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Well, obviously the greens are firmer than I've seen them for a number of years. The golf course is firm. The rough is a lot heavier than it has been ever in the past. Besides that, everything else is the same.

Q. Paul has just been in, and he was saying that it's almost major championship conditions out there; that we should perhaps play a lot more to prepare European players for majors. Would you agree?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I did say at the start of the week that BMW have put on a tournament around the event that's very it certainly has set the tournament apart from other events. It's not a major, but it is our biggest event in Europe, and BMW have made it feel like that for the players.

On the golf course, yeah, definitely, the greens are as firm as you could ever have greens, and the fairways are firm and the rough is just heavy, probably heavier than certainly when I've been in it. I find that they are heavier than you'd ever find them in a major really.

Definitely firm greens are really what always produce are the toughest conditions or when the greens are firm, and these are firm greens, yes. So I would agree with that; that the more you can play on firm greens, the better a player you have to be. Certainly I think there's a certain attitude in Europe that, you know, conditions of the majors and things like that.

But as far as I see, we tend to play much narrower fairways and much heavier rough than they ever do across the water. At most, I think the German Masters last year, the TPC last year, that rough was heavier than any rough I've ever seen in my life, even over the U.S. Opens I've played in. How would I put this; I'm not going to encourage them to make the golf courses any tighter or heavier with the rough. I would prefer to see them make them firmer and faster around the greens, run offs and firmer greens, and that to me brings up more skill.

So, yes, this golf course suits well. You know, if I got ahold of the course, I would put away a bit of the rough around the greens and get the ball running away from the greens. You know, make it truly like it should be, a bit scraggy off the greens; and your ball should release and play 15 yards off the surface, leaving you iffy lies where there tends to be a bit of rough holding the ball up, which means, you get a better look at it. That's what I would do, but the golf course is superb setup wise.

Q. You said yesterday that you weren't 100% comfortable with your preparation, with some of the backswing, some nagging voices.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, I was, but I got up this morning and I was doing my exercises, I tweaked something in my neck and I needed to get I was always struggling with that, which meant that my focus was much better. I don't know what it is; I tend to need something to fight against, and that certainly kept my focus. I really considered strongly not teeing it up this morning. I've only got about 70 percent movement in my left side of my cheek, which you can play with, but it just doesn't resist at impact, which meant I tailed off a few shots to the right. But it was a lot better on the course when I was committed to the shots than it was, say, on the range. I really struggled on the range hitting the longer clubs.

Q. How long before you teed off were you sure to tee off?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I'd say probably 20 minutes beforehand. 20 minutes which I started looking for anti-inflammatories and couldn't find them anywhere. The whole place, you can't get any drugs.

Q. What about the physio?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I got two aspirin. So I got a prescription to go get myself something later on.

Q. So in funny way, the neck tweak was just what the doctor ordered.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I would rather play without. It definitely put a little bit of fight into it without a doubt.

Q. Paul also said that some of the pin placements were among the toughest that he had seen.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, they were good pins today, really good, tough pins. If I was going to see anything was like a U.S. Open, they had some pins out there that were like the front of 7, like the tip of a U.S. Open pin, you think you have this short little hole, and all of a sudden the best you can do is hit it 20 feet past. That's a classic U.S. Open type pin that you really can't go for it.

There was some good yeah, on the firm greens, there was some good pins. Back left on 16 is always a tough pin on this course. Anybody firing at that gets very firm, whereas

Q. 8?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: 8 was fine. I hit it to three feet. It was okay. (Laughter). I would think.

Q. Paul mentioned 8, that's all?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: 8 was three feet. I must admit I never saw anybody long right today. Scott Drummond, first time I ever see somebody hit it. Normally it sticks and comes back, and he pitched and it went over and I've never seen the ball there. So that's how different the golf course is playing.

3 was a good, tough pin in there, right in the corner. But it's good. The firm greens, you know, any pin is a good pin.

Q. Can we have the figures, please?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yes, I parred all the way to the eighth. I hit a 7 iron to well, four feet. I was exaggerating.

I 3 putted ten from nowhere, or nine. I hit two good putts, and these things happen.

Then I made a 2 putt birdie on 12 from the front edge. Holed a good 5 footer for my second putt.

Then I holed about a 6 or 7 footer again on 13 for birdie.

Then I hit a 3 wood, 4 iron over the back of 17, chipped it back stone deed.

18, I hit two 3 woods to the front edge, putted by ten feet and nice double breaking putt which will would make my lunch taste a lot better.

Q. When you were thinking about maybe pulling out this morning, how much of that competitive have streak wanted you

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I told myself every time that if I do my neck in again, I'm pulling out, but I don't do it. Now, the left hand side is a lot better than right hand side. If I did the same to the right hand side, I could not have played. But with the left hand side, the resistance isn't required in the backswing so you can make a backswing. It only at impact, you see the great players in the world, you can lift the edge at impact, so you can work with it.

Q. Who pushes you then to the first tee, yourself, Caroline, your caddie?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: It's totally my decision. Totally my decision. You know, today worked out well, but some of the time I don't necessarily have a problem with it today because I think I get better quickly, and I have a week off. But some of the problems, going out and playing with an injury, you might get by, but you tend to do some harm to your swing the following weeks. So if this wasn't such a big event and it was a week before a major or something like that, I probably would have had to take, you know

Q. Had it been a cold, autumn day in September, would you have pulled out, as opposed to warm spring?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Today just because I felt like, 2 under par, even if it loosened out a bit and if I get it around, and there's a lot of holes out here you don't need to hit it flat out on, you can possibly score. I think a lot to do with the golf course, not necessarily the conditions, but the fact that I do have time off next week, I felt like, yeah, get away with it. I always do. I don't even know why we're even having this conversation. I would have to lose a limb to probably not go out.

Q. Paul is desperate to win a big tournament, and you stopped him doing it at Valderrama. Are you happy to do it again?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You know, I think both myself and Paul would be very happy if we come down 18 fighting it out to win the tournament. There's no you know, I wish him all the best right up until, all the way true, and if I'm there with him; then we'll compete against each other. But we really don't you're not going to be competing against another player until right at the end of the tournament, and, you know, in that case I'll be trying to beat him just as much of the time I beat anybody. And he does need to he's a much better player than he should win more often, and maybe moving up to the bigger tournaments will help him win more often.

Q. What did he cook you last night?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: He cooked; not. His wife cooked, lemon chicken. He gave out to me for letting the dog eat off my plate.

GORDON SIMPSON: And on that note � thank you, Padraig.

End of FastScripts.

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