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March 24, 2005

Padraig Harrington


TODD BUDNICK: We thank Padraig Harrington for coming in after 5 under, 67 the first round of THE PLAYERS Championship. Padraig, a continuation of your good play after your win two weeks ago at the Honda Classic. You've also finished as a runner up the last two years. It seems like this is a course you like to play.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, it seems like that. I can't put a reason on it. Obviously I want to get another good score here. I'm very pleased with that today. It was a strange day. I did think the golf course was playing very easy. I think there was a lot of easy pins and it was beautiful weather out there. Obviously if you missed a fairway you were still struggling on those holes. But maybe my own expectations are a little bit high, but I felt the course was playing easier. 67, it's a good return. It keeps you in there. I realize /HR*S 54 holes to go. The course is going to get tougher. It looks like they used up all the easy pins today, I can only see the tough ones left for 54 holes. When it gets to Sunday afternoon, if the golf course played like the last couple of years, it gets so hard and fast that it will be a different story than today's conditions.

Q. When you say when you think the course is playing easily, and you know it's only going to get tougher, do you feel I've left some shots out there that are going to cost me on the weekend or I've put myself in good contention to be around on the weekend?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I have to say, no as long as you're in there that's all that counts. So much can happen on the weekend that it's not a huge issue whether how well you're doing, as long as you're doing well, as long as you're in. This course gets substantially tougher when the greens speed up. But you want to be in. Obviously you don't want to be struggling behind. So you want to shoot good scores, but you don't have to shoot you know, I don't feel bad that I could have made a few more birdies today. I got an awful mud ball on 9, to a very easy pin. I could have reached the green in two, I had /O to layup. All of a sudden I make a good par. But I don't feel bad that I didn't make birdie because five or six under, with 54 holes to go, it doesn't make a huge difference.

Q. Luke Donald said that this was a typical American course, and that's why some Internationals struggle here. Do you agree with that and what's a typical American course in your mind?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I think this is a typical, stereotypical American course, stadium, /STARGT pins on the greens. You hit it into this section and you don't want to hit it into the next section. European players are well used to that now. I would have been tipping a few European players this week. There was no reason they wouldn't do well. We play enough around the world that we know what to expect. But as regards to what is a stereotypical golf course, it's pretty tight fairways, heavy rough, reasonably soft, not too much win out there, it played like that's what we would envision on TV as an American style golf course.

Q. What's the European stereotypical golf course in your mind?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: We mostly play courses like this now. That's what all not as good as this, but this is obviously one of the best in the world. But all golf courses that are modern designs are designs / D with this road map, that's what we tend to play. What courses I was brought up on were much more rugged and you hit it, find it and play from there. It wasn't a huge deal of emphasis on hitting it that straight. Anywhere on the green you'd have a reasonably flat putt, but you'd be dealing with the wind and things. You wouldn't be on a different section of the green, I'd say, so often. So but as I say, as a professional we play the same golf courses. Any of the guys any of the European players who are in the top 50 are well used to this golf courses. Most of our golf is played in these conditions.

Q. I was reading about your situation at home with your dad. You've been playing very well. Is the ability to concentrate there, do you think much about what's going on back in Ireland or when you're on the course are you locked in on the game?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: This situation only came about last Wednesday, so obviously prior to that it wasn't a situation. And to this extent. I'm trying to be, on the golf course, I've been working with Bob Rotella, I'm trying to not use it as a detrimental factor owe motivational factor. I'm trying to be neutral around the course and do my job. I've traveled a long way to do it. As a said before, I'd rather not be here. But the fact that I'm here means that I'm going to go out there and try to do my job as professionally as I can.

Q. I know that you I saw on the way in, you /TKPWRATD Steve Jones. Do you know Steve at all?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I know Steve to the extent that as another professional golfer. And I don't think I've ever been out to dinner with Steve or anything like that. He's one of the nice guys. He's known as that around the locker room. He's the guy that will always have a nice word to say. If he passes you by in the locker room he'll always say hello. That's to the extent I know Steve Jones.

Q. What do you think when you see Steve Jones on the top of the leaderboard. It's a flashback, he hasn't been around for a couple of years?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: He knows what he's doing. He's won a few tournaments. It will be interesting to watch him for the week, because he's the type of player that when he plays well he continues to play well and doesn't back off when he's on the leaderboard. It would be interesting to watch. It's been a bit of time for him, but he certainly has performed on the big stage before, and I'm sure those feelings when he comes back he'll be well able to handle them.

Q. Out there today did you find yourself thinking about home that much or once you step on the course it's all about the game?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I wish it would my mind is never that focused that it would be where I want it to be all the time. Obviously it wasn't where I wanted it to be today at times. But other days it would be similar but on different things. Obviously I was slightly distracted at times, and I did struggle with my concentration. For what reason, I don't know. It could have been a number of reasons, is what I'm saying. I'm well used to the fact, I've played golf some days where my focus is off and just trying to get myself home to the clubhouse. And I did a good job of that today.

TODD BUDNICK: Just go through your card, Padraig, starting with No. 12.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: No. 12 I hit a pitching wedge to about 15 feet, holed the putt.

15 I hit a 6 iron to about 8 feet.

16 I hit a 5 iron on to the green, 2 putts.

17 I hit 8 iron to about 12 feet.

Bogey on 1. I hit a nice drive, missed the fairway, but I hit it straight, just three yards through the fairway and couldn't hit the green less than a hundred yards []. Missed about 12 feet for par.

3 I hit a nice 7 iron, nearly hold it just short of the hole, about four feet.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You have written 5 feet, five inches, is that ShotLink? You have me out, guys. Five feet, five inches, wow, I didn't think /TP FS that long.

I see from here on 6 I hold from 12 feet. I would have said that was longer, so that's okay (laughter).

TODD BUDNICK: What did you hit in on that one.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I /WAEL hit 8 iron in, I laid up quite a bit off the tee.

Q. You talk about coming here to play this year to get your game ready sooner, get ready for the majors. Obviously you're playing well. How far ahead of your normal schedule do you feel? Do you feel like this time in March in other years you haven't been playing this ready in are you a lot more ready? Obviously you're happy with the result.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I'm on my fourth event. Last year was TPC and I finished second. The year before it was TPC and I finished second. I feel about the same right now. I will play more events not necessarily before The Masters, but before the U.S. Open. It will be the U.S. Open that my schedule will have changed things, not really the first six weeks of the year. One extra event is all I'm playing.

End of FastScripts.

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