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May 21, 2005

Padraig Harrington


PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I only missed one fairway, and that was I drove it through the fifth fairway after hitting a good drive. When you hit that many fairways out there, you're going to give yourself some opportunities for setting yourself up in the right position to go at the pins.

Through the first 12 holes I really did give myself a lot of chances. The usual thing, there was none really close, and they were all just that range you could hit good putts and they would not go in and things were a little bit iffy. It was nice to finish with four birdies, six holes. If the leaders don't run away, it depends a lot on what they are going to do this afternoon. If they don't run away, obviously 3 under is right in the tournament.

GORDON SIMPSON: It's quite unusual that you could not get anything going early on and then you caught fire.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Well, it's that type of course. As I said, we were hitting fairways, and it's hard to get the ball really close. You hit a good approach shot to some of these pins, they are quite tough out there. You're 15, 20 feet away and you can hit the best putt in the world and it won't go in. That's the nature of the game.

Then later on when you get to the eighth hole you have reachable par 5s, and the ninth is only a sand wedge hole; and then 13 is reachable, 15 is reachable and 18 is reachable. So it gives you more opportunities after that. That's why we make or that's why I made the birdies.

Q. Inaudible

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Straight through, I hit a lovely drive straight up the middle and I was actually surprised I could run through with the line I went. It was up the left half of the fairway, up the middle of the fairway actually and it ran out. It played slightly downwind when we played it. We were 30 yards past the bunkers.

Q. Good crowd for you and Darren?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I think so, yeah, there was a good group of them out there today, right from the word go, hoping that one of us would light it up. To be honest, I can't remember the last time we played a competitive round together. It's been quite a while. It was nice. Through the first couple of holes we got off, we had a good chat going around, which always gets you in a good mood for the rest of the day. It was a very pleasant day.

Q. Inaudible

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Not really. Whatever, maybe because of my neck or whatever, or the fact that I wasn't here on Monday or Tuesday hitting shots or anything, I definitely feel it was much more low key for me this week. I don't know happened by chance or anything else, but I haven't felt too much expectations this week.

Q. A future Ryder Cup partnership?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Oh, yeah, Darren plays well. I'd play foursomes with him any day, or four ball, he is particularly good in the four ball.

GORDON SIMPSON: Darren said that jokingly in the TV interview.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: The fact the two of us were doing an interview together, "when do you get two guys paired up," which is nice. It was definitely a good there was a good feel about the day when we went out at the first tee. There was a relaxed atmosphere between shots which is always nice between shots going up the fairways. Even though we did not make birdies early on, I certainly felt in a good frame of mind.

Q. What did you talk about?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I couldn't tell you the stories we were saying going up the first couple of holes, no. (Laughing). But we were talking about different things, things that happen on the Tour, generally golf things. (Laughter).

Q. What about the weather today?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: There were definitely I'd say our first six holes, there were, you know there, was a bit of breeze, very pleasant. Through the middle of the round, we had a problem with the wind changing directions. Certainly caught us on 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, the wind changed, died, changed. It was very hard because you're in the trees there, too. It's hard to get any sense of where the wind was coming from, and there was certainly I certainly made the odd mistake through those couple of holes there with the rain and I was not 100% sure of the wind. And then it came up again and it certainly had a more dependable direction the last four holes. It will be tough in the afternoon for the guys in the wind with that rain.

Q. Were you aware that you could be in contention for the Red Bull prize?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Couldn't. I'm 1 under par. 1 under par, I couldn't. 1 under par McGinley is 4 under par, isn't he? You know, I'm very aware of it. It's actually a tremendous prize Red Bull has put up. Interesting prize, anybody that wins, they will make great use of them. But there's no way I'm in contention for it.

Q. Do you ever look at the draw seeing who you are paired with, and does that affect you?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Well, you can't be dependent. My caddie is there for me to have a chat if that's the case. You can never be dependent on your playing partner to make your day. If it happens, so be it and you look forward to that.

But the last thing you ever want is to have a playing partner is to look at your playing partner and decide that he's going to affect how your day goes. So, no, I don't look at the draw, worrying.

Q. Why did you decide to come back and play at Wentworth next week?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I changed my mind about Wentworth because I always said I would come back and play Wentworth. I said that three years ago that I would give myself a bit of a break and come back, and I have given myself a bit of a break.

I also feel that, you know, we are playing more in the States this year. I feel it's my duty to come back and play in it, where other years, I've played so many events that I didn't feel like I felt like I was giving enough of myself to other events that I didn't feel like I had to go to an event that wasn't particularly suited to me. But this year I feel like I should make the effort.

Q. Are you better prepared to play Wentworth now?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: No. (Laughter). We'll wait and see. Hopefully I will be better.

Q. Could you have played on Tuesday?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I couldn't have played golf on Tuesday. I definitely could not have competed on Tuesday at all. My chances were good at playing I felt bad but my physio has been working on it, Pete Richardson, and he felt very positive. It seems to be about though it's nagging me, it seems to be about a five day sort of thing, you know, maybe four days and the fifth day I could play.

The thing is I always end up playing with these injuries. In the first round I had a slight problem, afterwards my coach was saying, with my takeaway. I was taking it back up the inside; or when I start taking it straighter back, it looked like I felt it was the outside, and that was purely because of my neck and having played as good of golf with my bad neck for three days I've messed up my center where the club was and things like that.

So even though I do it, you shouldn't do it. I should never play when I have a bad neck, but unfortunately that's what I tend to do.

Q. Did you consider withdrawing?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I never do. I would have considered it. I just keep playing all the time, when these things happen, I just keep playing and make do. But the problem with doing that is that you tend to it's not the actual current round. It's the following week you've knocked out your perception of where things are. I would have considered but I wouldn't have, and I'm a sucker for doing that.

Q. Inaudible

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I don't think so, especially when we both made pars running out. I was certainly hoping, and he was, too, from his general comments and demeanor, that one of us would start making birdies so the other one would follow. We were hoping to help each other out there, with momentum, when one guy gets going, the other one follows.

The way I always look at that is I'm quite happy, I'll play along with anybody for 63 holes and then you can be competitive for the last nine. But as far as I'm concerned, the competition with my playing partners or fellow competitors does not start until the home stretch. Up until that, I'm actually hoping that they play well to keep me playing well.

Q. How great is your desire to win an Irish Open?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, during the week. Oh, there's a big desire, a big, big desire, definitely. It isn't a major but for me it's the next tier. It's something that you want to have on your C.V., to win your national title is a very big deal. I'm sure it's done by some but for me it's a difficult thing to do. I think it would be one of the more pleasing right up there, it would be probable the most pleasing tournament of my career if I came out and won it.

Q. Have you considered flying privately? I ask as a follow up to the Red Bull question.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yes, sometimes. Well, consider, no consider is like a big statement. How much does it cost? Yes, I have considered it, yes. Yeah, I've considered.

You know, it's a tremendous prize. Most, I think they estimate 75 players on the U.S. tour fly private and I think it's about 15 in Europe who regularly use private. It does make a lot of sense when guys have families to try and get in and out and you get a lot closer and the plane Citation XL is ideal for Europe. It's the same plane as the government jet is the Citation XL.

Q. Have they not changed?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: No, they have a Lear. But remember they bought the Citation XL when there was all the controversy, over $8.5 million. So it's a good prize, very good.

Q. What do you think it will take for you to win tomorrow?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: It doesn't make any difference what I think it's going to take. I'm going to go out there and try and play my hardest on the first hole and that's it. If I play great tomorrow and I don't win, well, I could have done no more. And you know, if I it makes absolutely there's no point in setting standards. That's your job, not mine. I go out there with a very open mind, and if I get on a run like I did at Honda, or maybe if I get a real nice day where it's pretty static, well, I'll have to take whatever is given to me.

GORDON SIMPSON: Well, Padraig, see what happens tomorrow. Thank you very much.

End of FastScripts.

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