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TURKISH AIRLINES OPEN


November 1, 2016


Padraig Harrington


Antalya, Turkey

NEIL AHERN: Welcome to the Turkish Airlines Open and congratulations on your victory in Portugal. Your confidence must be sky-high right now.

Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, I think winning obviously always helps with your confidence. I think from my perspective, I was telling people that good things are around the corner. I could see it in my game.

I like the fact that, you know, I kept approaching it the way I did for a number of weeks and then it comments good in a given week. That would seem to be, as always in your career, would seem to be the best way to go about it. If you keep doing the right things, week-in, week-out, it doesn't mean you have successful weeks every week, and you'll still even have missed cuts doing the right things. But if you stay patient with that, it will come around. And if it all comes together in a week, you have a good week.

Clearly a lot of good things happened to me in Portugal. You know, I chipped in a couple of times. I holed a bunker shot -- you don't do that every week. But the nice thing for me is when I did to it, I converted it into a winning week, you know, rather than anything else. My head was very much in the right place. Even I just missed three cuts, but I knew things were still good in my game. I knew it was just a question of being patient and waiting for it because I can see the really good signs.

NEIL AHERN: You mentioned you were probably the only person who wasn't surprised by that victory and you were interested by the reaction, I'm supposed.

Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, I'm always interested in the reaction, and the reason I'm not surprised is I don't have to take a coldhearted view of my game. I don't have to be realistic when it comes to my game. I certainly would hate to be taking the bookmakers view of my game. I think I was 80 to 1.

If I was looking at somebody else, I would be, you know, I would be judging 80 to 1 and let's say, let's be realistic, he just missed three cuts. Logical is out the window when it comes to yourself, and that's very important. You've got to create your own reality and do whatever it takes to create that reality and in my head I was ready to win.

The good side things for me or the strange thing, whichever way you want to look at this, I've had a number of wins over the last five years, but I've got in contention so few times, whereas early on in my career, I was getting in contention nearly every second week and I had so few wins.

So it is strange now, whenever I get my chance, I seem to take it, and much more so than when I was younger. Maybe when I was younger, I thought this was going to be loads of chances. Maybe now as old I'm older, I realise they don't come around as often as you think.

Certainly in Portugal, I got my opportunity and I took it down the stretch, just like when I won at the Honda, there have been a number of those where when I get the chance, I take it, which is a good place to be. I just know I need to keep my head in the right place and be patient and get myself in contention because when I'm in contention, I can do some things.

Q. The people you were telling that things were around the corner --
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON: You know what, a lot of people did send messages from betting and things. One guy sent one on of all 800 Euro win and another one, I think it was 80 Euros, so I texted the 80 Euro guy and said, there was one that won 800, you didn't trust me as much as this guy (laughter).

A lot of people, it's probably the most common thing said to me by people is -- inaudible -- it would be a very familiar thing. Good price, 80 to 1.

Q. What were the good signs that you saw?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON: Two things. Actually, two big things. I started putting a lot better. I had some hard times on the greens for awhile, going back as far as 2012, I had a terrible time. I had the yips that year and I had the remnants of them, and the last couple of years I've started putting a lot better. I probably had the best of my career putting, mid range putting -- I probably putted better than I did when I was at my best.

So that side of things, I could see the putting was really coming around, and I also had pretty good control of my golf ball, better than, pretty much, again, as good as I've ever had in my career in terms of ability to hit different shots.

So I could see that, as well, so there was two sides, more control over the golf ball and putting well. I think what that did -- routines and what I'm thinking about. So when you're more comfortable with your long game and your swing, you start being able to really knuckle down and work on the important stuff, the chipping and pitching and routines which is really what gets you over the line when the pressure is on.

Q. How were you able to turn the putting?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON: I think both things, I played with a few of the younger guys and they all use this black line and just hit the ball down the black line. I fought against it over the years and never really liked it. I just wasn't putting as well as these guys so I said, look, I've got to do what they do, and I kind of took awhile to break through the barrier of getting comfortable with that.

But yeah, it's improved my putting to know end. Just simply putting a little black line on the ball and rolling it. That was probably the biggest key to the putting.

Breaking through that barrier, it's not normal or natural, but it's something that, as I said, you watch all the young players, that's what they do and if there's anything in this game that's improved over the years, it's the standard of putting.

Q. Have your goals changed short term, long term?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON: Not really. My goal might be more realistic. I need to get back in the Top-50 in the world to get into the main events. Just like I'm here for these three events. Winning has got me back in these main events now and I have to go -- I could win again or have some big performances to get myself back in the World events and the majors.

I've only played two majors a year, really, for the last couple of years, but I've played okay when I'm playing them. I feel good at a major tournament. So it's disappointing when I miss out on them. So that's the goal is to get myself back up in those, inside that Top-50 where it's a bit self-perpetuating in terms of staying in it, get myself back in those majors and win one.

Q. I think you spoke to SKY Sports News the day after you won in Portugal, that's part of the reason you don't want to put your name in for the next Ryder Cup Captain.
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, I'd love to be a Ryder Cup Captain down the road and I quite understand that there's no guarantee. It's not like I'm turning around and saying, hey, I want to have it at some stage -- I understand how it works.

But selfishly at the moment, I'm putting myself first. I want to play golf. I want to be a player. I believe I can be. And the main thing is I believe and I love playing golf. I've seen with Paul and Darren, you know, Paul gave 3 1/2 years of his golfing career and Darren has certainly served his full two years so far he's given up. I don't know how long -- it's certainly taken Paul a long time to come back after The Ryder Cup.

Yeah, nobody is going to give you -- look, I'm not going to be a competitive golfer when I'm 51 years of age. I'm not going to be as competitive at 51 as I am at 46 or 45. So it's not like I can trade my 45 and 46th years for a 51 and 52 year. It wouldn't be a good trade. I'm better off, if I want to play golf, play it now.

Yes, it's taking a risk that there will be more names in the hat down the road for The Ryder Cup, and it's a shorter vote with five people voting. I understand there are risks of not putting my name in the hat earlier, but I want to play golf.

Q. I think it will be shorter than 80 to 1 on the Champions Tour.
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON: In my head, I'm going to be playing here. The one thing I continuously strive for in my golf game is to gain speed. I look, I've been trying for 15 years wholeheartedly to gain speed and I've never seen a player do it on Tour. But what I have done is I've maintained it, which might be -- it wasn't a goal but might be a secondary goal. If I can keep maintaining, it why can't I play on the regular tour when I'm 51, 52.

I do understand, though, I'm a different style of player than some other guys that play at 50 years of age. I don't play a short-hitter's game of golf. I just don't. It scares the life out of me, doesn't suit me. So the only way I can continue to play at 50, 51, 52 would be to play the same way I'm playing now, and that's just my nature.

So if I can't play that way, yeah, I will be going towards the Senior Tour. Who knows where it's going to take us.

Q. You said the course in Portugal suited you, just going for pins and not worrying about getting up-and-down. What are your thoughts on the course here?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, I played a few holes. I think I like what I see around the greens. It's tougher than Portugal around the greens. But I still think it's the only way I know how to play is to be aggressive, so I'm probably going to stick with that and be aggressive and try and get up-and-down everywhere. I have to actually wait and get in competition. From what I've seen so far, it's very playable around the greens. The greens are firm and fast, so slightly off can -- yeah, it's not as easy as Portugal. Portugal, I have no other way of playing it.

Q. What do you make of the 16th?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON: I liked it, yeah. It's a bit of fun. It's interesting. I wouldn't exactly like playing it on a day like today, 20-mile-an-hour wind off the left. I think on a reasonable day, a bit of warmth, it's a fine and generous enough hole. It's 275 to carry the bunker so it's not really -- should be able to do that. So I like anything that's a little bit different. Certainly at a good time in the round -- if it was the 18th, you might go, oh, that's a bit of a distraction at that stage. But the 16th, that's fine. Let's go play.

Q. The field this week is not what we were probably hoping for, with Rory pulling out on the weekend and a few others have gone since, as well. What's your thoughts on their reasons for doing that, and can you understand?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON: Well, I'm assuming you're alluding to safety reasons. Yeah, that was a big factor in deciding not to go to Rio, safety reasons.

Clearly everybody has to, it's up to themselves. One player here this week who is not playing because he doesn't like flying. So he's got a fear of flying and another person has a different fear.

For me personally, I tend to travel around the world and play around the world because I did it in the late 80s and early 90s in Ireland, and we had our troubles in Ireland and I played a lot of golf in Northern Ireland during that period of time. I remember people, other golfers, saying, you're mad going up there. You used to go, wow, people are so nice, what are you thinking.

But you couldn't convince people who had not gone there and experienced it for themselves that it was a great place to go, Northern Ireland. You didn't get a more welcoming place, because you had travelled. They loved the fact that you would come and play.

I used to go up and play in the north of Ireland and you would never have greater welcome than you would there, because they appreciate that you didn't sort of -- well, didn't not go, I suppose, or didn't read into a situation any more than it was. I think in that sense, that has made me travel the world and not necessarily think I am the center of focus in any shape or form when I go places, like Brazil. Brazil was great. A lot of scaremongering when it comes to, obviously here it is a slightly bigger issue.

But as you guys have seen when you're here, it's great. Everything about the place is super. Yeah, you have to putt more security in and you have to pay attention, but you know, I really don't know, is it more dangerous here than anywhere else? That could be a question. I'm not really sure. I just kind of work away at my little thing and I'm assuming it will all be okay.

Q. Were the players given any special briefing?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, we had a lot of briefings on it. There was a lot of press conferences, briefings that we could join in and listen and we got reports and obviously it was talked about a lot.

I think Keith Pelley obviously did a great job himself by coming down here a couple of days ago and leading from the front. So yeah, look, I'm certainly enjoying myself. Just try and figure out how to not eat all the food. It's so hard. (Laughter) that seems to be the biggest concern at the moment.

NEIL AHERN: Thank you very much, Pテ。draig.

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