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DUBAI DUTY FREE IRISH OPEN HOSTED BY THE RORY FOUNDATION


May 28, 2015


Padraig Harrington


NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND

Q.テつ What was the key today to your 4‑under par round?テつ Was it one of five birdies in six holes on your Back 9.テつ What were you thinking and feeling during that round?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON:テつ Yeah.テつ I think during the round on the first nine I felt at times we were having to play a little defensive.テつ You know, you gotta take some chances out there and then on the Back 9 I got a few nice breaks, a few nice tees.テつ Hit a few nice shots at the right time.
You know, I was one over after 10 holes, so it was a nice turnaround.テつ Even though the course is difficult, the conditions are difficult, eventually you're going to have to take a few shots off.

Q.テつ What's it like having literally thousands of people willing every putt into the hole?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON:テつ Yeah, it is interesting.テつ Yeah, a few early calls here and there.テつ And you know, you know it's encouragement.テつ You know, it's not expectation.テつ That's one thing, early on in my career I would have found it difficult.テつ Now I enjoy, take the best from it, and don't get down on myself if I don't deliver on every single shot.

Q.テつ Tell us about the shoulder injury.テつ Obviously you pulled it at Wentworth last week.テつ Cryo this week.テつ How is it now?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON:テつ Yeah, you know, I wasn't thinking about it out there.テつ I think I'm certainly in no pain with it or anything like that.テつ There might be a little bit of weakness in it.テつ Of course, you know, I'm happy to have a weakness in my shoulder and shoot 67 every day.

Q.テつ You said you wanted it windy but no rain.テつ You got exactly what you wanted, didn't you?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON:テつ Yeah.テつ Look, those are ideal conditions for me out there.テつ I love to play a tough links golf course every day of my life.テつ You know, that's what I was brought up playing.テつ That's what I specialize at.
You know, I'm not saying it's going to be easy the next three days, but certainly coming to a course like this is definitely suiting me.

Q.テつ Padraig, you've just described those conditions as ideal.テつ You certainly made the most of it.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON:テつ Yeah.テつ Look, it's a good golf course, tough golf course.テつ Obviously there's a bit of wind there, but these courses are designed to be played in the wind, and there are ways around it.テつ If you use your head and you play smart, you can hit a lot of shots.テつ You don't always have to go for the perfect shot.テつ Yes, you do have to take some shots on, but there's a way around a links golf course in these sort of conditions, and I found it today and hopefully I find it the next three days.

Q.テつ And obviously the round of birdies on the Back 9 made a big impact on your score card.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON:テつ Yeah, it was very nice.テつ You know, Thursday is still very early, so I'm not too stressed about‑‑ you're going to make it at some stage, hopefully, and yeah, it's nice to do it on Thursday.テつ But you know, three more days to go, 54 more holes.テつ Hopefully I'll have maybe one or two more rounds like that during the week, and if I do, I'll be right there at the end of the week.

Q.テつ And just in terms of the injury, was there ever any real doubt that you could have missed this tournament?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON:テつ There would have been big doubt Monday morning still.テつ I think I played a qualifying, hit 36 holes, and it was certainly giving me a lot of trouble in the warmup and even through the first nine holes I played.テつ By the time it eased out in the afternoon, I think I was always going to tee it up.テつ It might have hindered me, but I was always going to tee it up here.

Q.テつ Here with Padraig Harrington.テつ Padraig, you said yesterday you would take an Irishman against the field.テつ When you said that, were you thinking about yourself?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON:テつ No.テつ We've got a good bunch of Irish players now, obviously Rory being the world leader he is.テつ But there's plenty of other guys in this field.テつ In these conditions I would take an Irish guy.テつ We're very comfortable with playing these sort of links golf courses in this sort of weather, and this one in particular, it plays into having a bit of wind out there, you know.テつ The last thing we want is a big flat where you could fly it in high.テつ This course suits a bit of wind.テつ It is a tricky golf course, but there is a way around it.テつ If you play smart, there's right places to miss all the time, and if you keep your head on, you'll do okay.

Q.テつ After the disappointment of Monday qualifying, is this as much about winning another Irish Open or qualifying for the U.S. Open?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON:テつ You know, winning is the best thing ever.テつ If you can go win any tournament, let alone your national open, it's a big deal.テつ So if I'm in contention on Sunday, yes, it would be a nice bonus that would get me into the top 60 for getting into the U.S. Open, but the main thing is winning.テつ You just don't win as often as you think you're going to win.テつ This game of golf is like that.テつ I've won twice now in the last six months, you know.テつ I gotta win again, you know.テつ It just happen as often as you think it was going to happen.テつ So it would be all about winning here, and the U.S. Open will look after itself.

Q.テつ It happened for you in '07 at Adare Manor to set up a big summer for you obviously.テつ Where would you rank that win all time in your record book?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON:テつ Oh, that was the biggest tournament I'd ever won at that stage.テつ Playing an Irish Open with the pressure and the stress is every bit as big as a major tournament, for me or for any of the Irish guys.
You know, I know a major defines your career separately, but there's a lot of attention, a lot of hype when you come to your national open, and it really does get into your head and can put your game off, and did for many years when I was coming to it earlier in my career.
I've gotten somewhat of a handle on it, but I still see myself being disappointed.テつ Prior to the last day, I made a bit of a mess of it, and I'm overly disappointed about that.テつ I feel like you're letting people down.テつ So it is a tough one.テつ You have to manage it this week, and anytime you hit an average or a bad shot, you feel bad for your fans.

Q.テつ (No question).
PADRAIG HARRINGTON:テつ We didn't like the rain out there, that's for sure, but a testing breeze out there is what this golf course is made of.テつ It's very playable in the wind.テつ There's always a place to miss it, a place to‑‑ you know, you play smart golf, there's always somewhere you can hit it where you can get it up‑and‑down from or leave yourself in a place or whatever it is out there, there's plenty of ways to get around this golf course in the wind, so I for one was happy to see it.

Q.テつ When you were on that tremendous run of birdies, did you enjoy it every bit as much as you seemed to be?テつ You seemed like you were relishing things.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON:テつ Yeah.テつ I'm in a good place.テつ Yeah.テつ I was enjoying it out there.テつ You know, it's always nice when the putts are dropping.テつ And ultimately I could have played those holes the exact same, hit decent putts, and you know, they didn't go in and I would be happy with a 1 or 2‑under, but the fact is the putts dropped and it makes it a lot easier to enjoy this game.

Q.テつ Were you conscious you're very close to a course record?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON:テつ I'm old it is a course record because it's a new layout.テつ That's what the European Tour is saying it's a course record, so I'm going to accept their word for it.

Q.テつ That's extra satisfying, isn't it?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON:テつ Yeah.テつ It's always nice to get a course record.テつ I think it would be broken during the week.テつ I think as the players get familiar with this golf course, they'll understand it more, and I think somebody will go lower, for sure, during the week.

Q.テつ It was business out there as well, and that was your best office to work in, a windy day on a links course with the conditions?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON:テつ Absolutely.テつ You know, I'd love it to be like that for the whole week.テつ Just a nice breeze.テつ It wasn't blowing too hard.テつ It was certainly moving the ball around.テつ But it's a links golf course.テつ It's built for the wind.テつ It can be played in the wind.テつ There's always a shot that can be played, a smart shot, whether you ride the wind or you hold it into the wind, there's lots of options, and if you keep your head on, you can play good golf.
I think through my first nine I think I was maybe a little bit too defensive.テつ You know, sort of got myself on the Back 9 that, you know, I've gotta take a few more shots on, but ultimately I holed a few putts as well.テつ Hit a few nice shots in, yes, to reasonable distances, but you've gotta hole those 15‑footers, 10‑footers, 8‑footers, and that makes a round.

Q.テつ Your putting has come and down a little this season, but your striking has been very consistent.テつ Is it a case that when your putter matches your ball striking tee to green this is what will happen?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON:テつ Yeah, I would say both of them have been inconsistent, but both of them have shown some good signs.
Yeah, I kind of feel, you know, whether it's this week or another week, I feel I'm going to win again soon because both of them if they match up together, I'm right there.
But not every week have I been consistent tee to green and not every week I've been consistent putting, but golf is a game that you're actually better off being a little bit erratic and if it all falls into place, it's a winning week.

Q.テつ Before your win at the Honda Classic, if you went on a run like you went on there, five 3s in six holes, five birdies in six holes, you might not have closed out the round, but you seemed to have a confidence about the way you go about your business now, which is back to where you used to be.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON:テつ Yeah, you know, as I said, I'm quite comfortable with my potential at the moment.テつ I'm not saying it's there every week, you know, but I really see some good things in my game.テつ I know if they fall into position, you know, I can be right there.
And obviously, you know, the two times I've been in contention in the last six months I've won.テつ So the beauty for me is I know I can do it and I'm just waiting for it to happen.

Q.テつ You were looking at an Irish Open which will probably be won in single digits under par, possibly and less if the weather forecast changes greatly.テつ Getting 4‑under so early, that must feel you can do something over the next three rounds just slightly different than what you would expect at the start of the tournament?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON:テつ I'm not a person who looks at total scores for the week.テつ I don't know what's going to happen.テつ I do know when you get under par, if I can keep going under par, it takes a lot of people out of the tournament.テつ So my goal will actually be, if anything, more aggressive for the next couple of days and try and get myself to a really substantial figure, you know, that really takes a lot of guys‑‑ you know, there's guys here that are two, three over par who are hoping that they can get back into the tournament.テつ So you know, if I can move away, you know, just put a lot of pressure on those guys, so my goal for tomorrow and the next day will be quite aggressive and try and get myself into a substantial lead.

Q.テつ Finally, when you won at Adare in 2007 it was your first Irish Open, but it obviously precipitated your run of three majors.テつ You called it a major in its own sense.テつ Only three players finished under par in Adare in 2007.テつ You like it tough, don't you?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON:テつ I do win on tough golf courses, yes.テつ The mental side is obviously the strongest part of my game, and you know, give me a tough golf course and I go out there and I manage myself and get on with it.テつ Most of my wins in my career have been on the toughest of the tough courses.

Q.テつ Nice play today.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON:テつ Thank you.

Q.テつ Can you just encapsulate the (indiscernible) of the game of golf when (indiscernible)?テつ And also, just from your own point of view, the disappointment of not being able to play at Wentworth and then missing out on the U.S. Open and the buildup to what's been an excellent start here from your game?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON:テつ I'm sure Rory knows this game is a bit of preparation in so many ways and he's given so much to the Irish Open.テつ You know, ultimately it was‑‑ maybe it was a step too far, you know.
You know, it's tough playing golf.テつ You can't just turn up on Thursday and tee it up, so I'm sure there was a lot of things he‑‑ a lot of distraction this week for him.テつ And the rest of the Irish players are very thankful he's put such an effort into the Irish Open, but for sure it's been a bit of a sacrifice for him, and obviously it showed up in his score.テつ Hopefully he's right there tomorrow and shoot a good one and keep it going for the week.
In my sense, I'm just trying to keep going forward and forward and make sure that any of the guys over par, you know, try and keep them out of the tournament.

Q.テつ But from your point of view, a lovely turnaround just in terms of the fortunes that you've had over the last week or so?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON:テつ Yeah, it was very disappointing to miss the U.S. Open qualifier on Monday, would have more or less guaranteed me a place in it.テつ Yeah, it was really disappointing, and all the more disappointment, three weeks' time when the U.S. Open is on and I'm sitting at home on the couch.テつ I obviously have two more chances to get in, get myself in the top 60 in the world, this one probably being the biggest chance, especially as I'm already in good position.
But I'm not going to worry about that.テつ I'm more interested at this very moment winning the Irish Open.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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