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November 17, 2004

Padraig Harrington

Paul McGinley


GORDON SIMPSON: We have the Irish team with us today, Padraig and Paul. It seems incredible that seven years have elapsed since your victory at Kiawah Island. Is it about time you got back in the winner's enclosure again?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: We can't live off it forever, so we'd better. We hear this every time we come back to the World Cup. Yes, we won seven years ago. And now that we are in that new format we, can't as live off it forever. So we're certainly going to be trying our hardest.

GORDON SIMPSON: It what was a great memory, though, isn't it?

PAUL McGINLEY: It was a great memory. I think it was a great memory because it was our first real big win between us, for either of us on the world stage, and I think it was a big deal because of that. We came from very far behind in terms of we weren't even in the Top-10 favorites, maybe 15 favorites that week and beat a world-class field. There were three or four major winners in the field that year. Of course it was satisfying. It was great.

GORDON SIMPSON: What about the form coming into this week for both of you?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I think it's normal, with all of the professional golfers, very few of us have reached a standard that we can predict how we're going to play every week. We're obviously hoping we're going to produce the goods. If we do, we should be good enough to be in contention, and that's only if a putt or two drops at the end if you win. I don't think we have that ability to predict that we're going to be there, but, you know there doesn't seem to be too much wrong. So hopefully we will be there at the end of the week. If we give ourselves a chance on Sunday, you'll never know what happens on the back nine.

Q. When you look at all that's happened to the two of you over the seven years since you've won that World Cup, do you sometimes have to sort of pinch yourself?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I have to pinch myself every day, that's for sure, just my own career. Golf is a very fickle game. I think yesterday we were only discussing that three of the recent Ryder Cup plays finished above 141st in the European Order of Merit. There's other Ryder Cup players since '99 who don't have their cards, so it is a very fickle game. It can change quickly, and every day, every year or every week that you continue to play well, you know, you do have to pinch yourself and say this is great. You know, it's a tough game out here and you have to stay focused, do your own thing all the time. Plus you do have to look around yourself at times and see how lucky you are.

Q. What's next for you, Paul? You've scaled the heights in the Ryder Cup and everything like that. What's on your target list?

PAUL McGINLEY: Again, the part of my C.V. I'm not happy about is my number of wins. I've won three times officially on the our European Tour and I feel I should have won more than that. Certainly at the start of my career, I had a lot more opportunities to win. That would have been -- with the experience that I have now I would have won those tournaments.

But in the last two or three years, I felt I've played really well in several tournaments yet haven't managed to win. Somebody just seems to play that much better: Goosen did it against me, O'Meara did it, Padraig did it in the Volvo Masters a couple of years ago. I think it swings roundabout --

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: (Nodding and smiling.)

GORDON SIMPSON: He looks very unhappy about it.

PAUL McGINLEY: It goes ten feet by, too, if it had not hit the hole.

Q. You say old mates, there can't really be room for mates out here, is there?

PAUL McGINLEY: There is. There is.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Not on the 18th. But when it's all over and done with, there's a lot of that. Just not on the golf course. At that time I was over the moon to have won, but I was really gutted that it was Paul that I had beaten but I would not have tried any less. You still try 100%, but it was disappointing that in that particular week. Paul also had a good week, and if I wasn't around, he would have been the winner and it would have been nice if it was, you know, the next week or something, but, you know that's off the golf course or after cards. You still play as tough as you can. There's no way you don't give any quarter on the course.

Q. Were you aware of each other at school, is it going that far back?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I would have been of Paul because he's five years ahead of me.


PADRAIG HARRINGTON: He's five years ahead of me so when I was the kid in the first year, he was big star.

Q. So, your hero.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Oh, yeah. (Laughter.)

PAUL McGINLEY: He's not my hero. (Laughter.)

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: No, Paul was one of the first golf teams at our school and he would have started off the sort of -- the guys on that team and him were the sort that would have started off in our school of producing good golf teams. There were a lot of good players at that stage.

PAUL McGINLEY: I wasn't on the Irish Boys Team or anything like that. I was nowhere near that standard, but probably was about six handicap at the time, which sounds -- at school he we thought it was great. But looking back on it now at 17 years old, it wasn't really that good.

I don't remember him playing golf at all. O remember playing football, and I don't have any -- I can't remember the first time I saw you play golf. I didn't even know you played golf until after I left school.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: The first round of the Irish when you were defending champion --

PAUL McGINLEY: That was well after school.

GORDON SIMPSON: Who won that one, Padraig?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: (Smiling and raising hand, giggling.)

As Paul was ahead of me, I would have been looking up to him. And as I said, there was a few other guys and team golf to start getting going in our school and as a result of Paul and the other guys who have about been there. Sean O'Donnell, who was the teacher who ran it, would have just started off and when he came sort of the first year there was something to follow and something to aspire to. There was a lot of good players, when you consider Paul went to school. Peter Lawrie who is on Tour went to the school for a year. And the Boys International in Ireland had produced some, there's a lot of golf courses in the area that produce a lot of golfers.

Q. Is it sad for this event that you are the highest-ranked player here?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I suppose, yeah, I suppose you definitely could wish for everybody to turn up and believe that, you know, put this up next to a major. But, I don't know. Obviously it's not the high in people's minds. It's hard, the timing of the year, you know, and positioning and all of the traveling, it's hard at this time of the year. Officially the year has ended in the U.S. and people are looking to get their winter break in. It is hard to play every event during the year and unfortunately this is one.

You know, give it time and you never know, in time it could get to the stature of being you know next to a major. But at the moment, as I said, there's a lot of complications for players at the moment. There's a lot of good events around the world, and there's a lot of events to play for. It's hard to play them all.

Q. But you've found a way to make this a priority ever since you won it.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: It's slightly different coming from a small country. It's very important for Irish people to represent their country. It's part of our heritage, and especially as this is one sport we're quite successful. Any sport in Ireland, once you represent your country, it's a big deal. And I think we're brought up that way in Ireland. There's no chance I would miss the World Cup. A chance to represent my country -- it's like having golf in the Olympics. It would be an incredibly big deal to have golf in the Olympics to represent Ireland in the Olympics because, you know, that is a big standard in Ireland, if you can represent Ireland in the Olympics, you know, you're a big star in Ireland.

So that's why I would love to see golf in the Olympics, just to represent my country in the Olympics would be amazing. Any kid would love to do that in Ireland.

I think because we're from a smaller country and we have lots to prove at times, it's the reason why we turn up for team events to represent our country. You look at our soccer team, how well they perform for such a small nation.

Q. Padraig, you mentioned recently that you had not really gelled that well together in foursomes in recent World Cups.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: We certainly have not had a great run of it.

PAUL McGINLEY: Last year we played poorly the first two days. I think we were about -- if there's 24 teams, we were probably 20 place after two rounds. And then the Scots shot the best scores on the weekend, so it's a matter of being there for four days.

Q. You did it at Oakland Hills, for example.

PAUL McGINLEY: Of course we did it at Oakland Hills. There's no reason why. It just has not happened.

Sometimes, it's a funny game. As he said earlier, you can't predict when you're going to play great. It's just sometimes it just happens. You hit good shots and they finish two feet from the hole and you make birdie. The next day, you could hit the exact same shot and it runs 12 feet by and you have a tricky 12-foot downhill putt and you miss, and then you've lost a bit of momentum and things like that. And that's just the fickleness of the game.

I'm a great believer in destiny. I watched the last nine holes of the Volvo Masters this year, and from the outside looking in, I mean, after nine holes, I said who is going to win. There was only one name on that cup. Poulter holed putts on 8, 9 and 10 which were three outrage putts. I don't know how tough the greens were and what the pin positions were and where he holed them from, but his name was written on it. To an extent I believe in that; you're destined. Sometimes you're destined to win tournaments. It's so fickle, the golfing gods certainly have a big part to play in it.

Q. How much will you help each other this week, given that you're basically on your own for the rest of the year? Will you lead lines for each other?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: A couple of things we've learned over the years is not to read lines for each other. That is the one thing that will not happen this week. (Laughter.) We have a terrible track record at reading putts.

PAUL McGINLEY: I say black; he'll say white. (Laughter.)

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: We just do not have any --

PAUL McGINLEY: We learned that very quickly.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: We'll talk about clubs just to the extent of it's not that we'll be telling one guy to hit a club or not, but from practice, if we kind of know what we're hitting in practice. So if Paul has hit a 6-iron, I'll ask him, "What did you hit from there?"

And he'll say, "Yeah, I hit a good six." And that will give me a feeling for what club I need to hit.

I won't be saying, "Paul, what do you think I should hit?" I'll be discussing more the shot that somebody else has hit beforehand; so that would happen.

Certainly at the Ryder Cup, Paul gave a strong pep talk going down there, the second or third hole, second hole I think, and it worked very well there. But as Paul said afterwards, he says, "You know, we've tried that in the past and sometimes is it hasn't worked." But it worked at the Ryder Cup. You know, whatever he said seemed to click that day. Hopefully, as I said, we'll get going and keep going this week.

Q. Would winning this be bigger than winning the Ryder Cup or can they be compared at all?

PAUL McGINLEY: Can't compare.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Can't compare really. The Ryder Cup is a bigger deal.

PAUL McGINLEY: The Ryder Cup is the third biggest sporting event in the world if you ask me. I personally consider it the third biggest sporting event in the word. That's my personal opinion. It's that big. I know the people at The K Club have not seen Oakland Hills and more or less tore up the plans for The K Club because they needed a lot more space, a lot more hospitality and just realized how big it is. It is massive. It's got huge appeal, not just in Europe and America, but all over the world. All the Aussies when we came on Tour the next week, said they all watched it down in Australia. It has that kind of appeal, and long may that continue.

Q. Were either of you surprised by Tom Lehman's appointment?

PAUL McGINLEY: Okay, here we go. (Laughing.) I thought it was going to be you, John, or one of the two.

I wasn't surprised.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I wasn't surprised.

PAUL McGINLEY: I played with him the year he won the Open, and I've always found him to be a perfect gentlemen.

Now, I didn't play in Brookline and I don't know. I mean from the outside looking in, and I'm not going to comment on that because I have no idea what went on. But my experience with him has always been I've found him a really, really good guy. No problem whatsoever.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I certainly think it was a good choice of captain for them. I think he'll do a good job. You know, I've said this before about Brookline and it really has to be said, I suppose again. At the time at Brookline, you know, I think the European players, we lost and it was upsetting to lose. It was a very tough battle. There was a lot of -- as I say, it was the most exhilarating experience I've ever had on the golf course. I've never experienced such excitement as on that golf course. Without a doubt, the best experience I've ever had on the golf course was there.

Saying that, it was a tough one to lose. We were gutted to lose. It was lot of pressure there and the U.S. Team celebrated. But we have to remember we pushed the U.S. Team into that. Beforehand there was talk about, oh, we want money to turn up and this and that and the other. There was talk about an apathy on their team. But the Europeans have to be proud that we have brought the Ryder Cup to where it is now; that the U.S. going into 2006 will probably want to win the Ryder Cup more than the Europeans. How far has it traveled since before '99? There was talk, "Oh, this is another tournament that maybe we don't want." Now, the talk is, "Wow, 2006," the U.S. are going to come with more -- with more drive than maybe the European Team.

They will have more to prove the next time around, and that's purely as a result of the European Team play, and we've got to take Brookline as being, you know, as being a pat on the back to us as being -- saying to us, wow, you really put it up to us and we were delighted to win. They celebrated so much because of the fact that they were under so much pressure to win that much and it was a release of pressure. And the European Team have to be proud of the fact that we were part of -- we got them to a stage that they probably got overexcited about the Ryder Cup match, which -- to think of them getting overexcited about the Ryder Cup from where it's come, you know, is great for us.

We fully put them in that position and we have to be proud that we got them to a stage where the Ryder Cup is the third biggest competitive sporting event in the world.

Q. So you think he is a man of God then? (Laughter.)

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You know, you've just got to say -- everything I've ever dealt with Tom Lehman has been excellent.

PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, me, too.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I've played with him in tournaments, excellent. He is a gentlemen on the golf course and has never been anything but.

The Ryder Cup, you think of the pressure, you want to be on that golf course, the crowds, it was unbelievable. Can you imagine the pressure they were under? They went into it and they had a lot of criticism coming into it. They were under a lot of pressure in the event and then they were losing. If they had lost that match, you know, what would have come up is, "oh, they wanted to be paid, they didn't want to be here, and the pressure they were under."

Okay, they celebrate, but you can't accuse -- you can't -- if it was a continual thing, you'd say, "oh, this is a bit much." But they just got every excited, which is great. As I say, looking back, it's just tremendous that we could have made that U.S. Team, which was a very strong team at the time, it was an exceptionally strong team; we got them fired up. What can you say? That's got to be a good point for us. You know, they got fired up and celebrated. I know I was closeted somewhat.

From the spectators being in Boston and I got great support. I still put it down as the best experience I've ever had on the golf course in my life. Okay, when we lost, it was really shattering at the time. But looking back, you've got to say, you know, it was a great event and probably one of the best matches of all time. It probably go down as the best match of all time. I tell what you, on the golf course it was phenomenal. No thing would ever compare to it again.

Q. Paul you've had a couple of days here. What do you think of the course?

PAUL McGINLEY: I think it's fine. I don't think it's a world-class golf course but I think it's a very, very good venue. It's not, you know, it's not a major kind of setup golf course but it's a really good, well-conditioned golf course that will yield some birdies on the par 5s, they are all on in two. The par 3s are tough, the long par 3s, and yeah, I think it's a good golf course.

Q. When you won in Kiawah, and for years afterwards, both of you said that it was the best victory of your career, the most satisfying victory. How do you feel about that now considering what's gone?

PAUL McGINLEY: It will always be special because it was our first event either of us on the world stage to perform well and win. Sort of like your first girlfriend (Laughter.)

Q. Is it the best moment of your career, Paul?

PAUL McGINLEY: Don't quote me on that. Well, that's my view on it. (Laughter.)

Q. But was it the best moment of your career?

PAUL McGINLEY: It will always be special because it was the first event, as I say. Yeah, I mean, I've always had -- my career so far, my highlights have been in team events, the two Ryder Cups and World Cups and Dunhill Cups.

It's hard to, you know -- the Ryder Cups, I had that great experience at The Belfry, but probably because it was more of a surprise than anything else. We were not fancied going into it and it was a special event and it will always be big.

Obviously the Ryder Cup has surpassed that since and Padraig has won tournaments which are bigger since, but it will always have that special country because, first of all, representing Ireland; and secondly, as I say it was our first real win on the world stage.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I'd certainly put ahead of any of the individual wins I've had. But, you know, I'd have to throw in, you know, probably the Walker Cup in '95, the five team events were all very special. But there's nothing like winning with a partner or a team. When you win on your own, okay, you celebrate with family and friends, but there is a little bit more isolation on your own. When you win with a team, there's something more to it. The afterwards is better when you win with a team. It's unbelievable especially in a Ryder Cup when you've got another 11 guys and it's a big event. I suppose the celebration is bigger which means the celebration tends to make it more memorable occasion. But '97 we had a good celebration afterwards and went on for a good while afterwards at home. Because it was out of the blue at the time, it's very close to the top.

Q. Do you remember how long, it was probably the biggest Irish sporting achievement that year, and were you surprised that when you came back that so much was made of it?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I was, yeah. It was a big deal when we got home that's for sure. For a long time afterwards, you know because we compete as individuals and we go about doing our thing week-in, week-out. It's a little bit of a surprise when you do something that you think is part of your job, part of the norm because you're involved sort of week-in, week-out, you have to take golf like that. You can't get too up and down on weeks because if you got down, you would be down a lot of weeks of the year.

So we would have been reasonably -- excited to win but when we got home it was a surprise how much in other people it was a reflection at home, how much other people took notice of the win.

Q. Do you have team outfits this week?

PAUL McGINLEY: It's difficult.

Q. It would be nice wouldn't it?

PAUL McGINLEY: It would be nice but it's difficult with sponsors. That's the problem with two different clothing companies. It would be nice actually if we did have team sweaters like we did in the Dunhill. I think that would be great, but it has not happened in the World Cup. Maybe it's something that could add to the tournament.

Q. Could you imagine playing with Darren Clarke?

PAUL McGINLEY: I'll be all right.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: We could have a four-man team.

PAUL McGINLEY: If we had a four-man team, we would be in great shape.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: We can't say three-man team anymore, we have to say four team. At this stage. And we have a few more joining so golf is good in Ireland at the moment.

Q. Can you remember nine full professionals on the European Tour?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: It was 14 when I came out. The year Raymond Burns, Francis Howley --

PAUL McGINLEY: Christy and Darcy were still on TOUR.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: There was 14 at that stage.

Q. It was more than 20 if you take the Senior Tour into account.

PAUL McGINLEY: It's great for me. For a little country we do all right. Tremendous achievement, psychologically for Philip Walton to go off the Tour for, what is it, three, four years?

Q. Six.

PAUL McGINLEY: And to actually come back, that's pretty impressive.

Q. With all he knows, with all he's done with his swing, do you think he'll do well?

PAUL McGINLEY: I don't know. I haven't played with Philip for so long.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I played with him at the PGA this year, and he played the better golf in the last round. And you know without a doubt, he still has the ability and still has the guts to do it everything he needs to be honest when he comes out on Tour. It's just a question of he has, if that day he looked like he believed he had it. And at the Tour School shows it, too so I don't see a problem.

Q. You must be glad to see Stephen Browne; you've had high regard for him?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Delighted to see Stephen Browne. He took a chance turning pro at 29 years of age or 28 late on. You know, he's a solid amateur player, took that chance, did his apprenticeship on the satellite and then the Challenge Tour, and has gotten on tour, which proves he's a good player. And as I said, it is working and he's now out here on Tour and I think he'll be a better player on Tour given a number of chances to prove himself than one off. It's very hard when guys are one off in tournaments, but if they get in a number of tournaments and they know they have a time to do the job he's that type of player, he can shoot low numbers which is very important when you come on TOUR and I envisage he could do well.

GORDON SIMPSON: Thank you very much.

End of FastScripts.

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