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DUBAI DUTY FREE IRISH OPEN HOSTED BY THE RORY FOUNDATION


July 5, 2018


Padraig Harrington


Ballyliffin, Republic of Ireland

Q. Well played. We heard from you talking, you mentioned a swing thought. How were you able to not let that become a distraction and focus on putting up a good number?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON: Well, I planned to go with a swing thought and I stuck with it. Even though it started well and in the middle of the round it went away, but I stuck with it. You know, if you're going to go with something, you've got to stick with it. Doesn't matter whether it's good or bad, you've got to stick with it. Chopping and changing is the worst thing.

I saw some good stuff. I wasn't as good as I would have liked to have been in the left-to-right wind. I was afraid of pulling it. You know, you could have anything going on in your head and have the same sort of thoughts. You know, there was some good and bad but on a links golf course you could get away with that at times and I knew I could create some opportunities out there. Thankfully, my short game was good enough to handle the odd bad shot and I hit plenty of good ones.

Q. You talked also this week about this being a real strategic test. How much does that play into some of your key strengths?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON: It definitely plays into my strengths. I think a lot of times, a lot of tournaments I play now, you know, would be the opposite. The whole field plays it a certain way and you know, maybe the most orthodox player tends to have an advantage, which I suppose is right but when it comes to links golf that's not the case.

There's so many ways to play it, play a hole out there. You can carry trouble, lay up short of trouble. You can play to one side where you know even if you're in the rough, you know you're okay. There's just a lot going on. And I don't fully know this golf course, so I'm really relying on my links experience rather than my local knowledge, let's say. But it can catch you out, too. Don't worry, it does. It doesn't always go as well as it went today but it certainly plays more into my hands on a links course.

Q. This setup and the players' reviews about Ballyliffin, do you believe it's a true links golf test but a fair test, as well?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON: I would consider the fairways are exceptionally narrow. We're hitting driver down that ninth hole and it's probably 18 yards wide. Like I hit a good drive and missed the fairway and that's going to happen a lot to a lot of players. That doesn't bother me.

Yeah, the golf course itself, I said it in the press conference; like it's come into being rather than somebody designed it. It really does sit very naturally on the land. It's fun to play.

Yeah, it's a really good test. You've got to think all the time. There's a lot of strategically-placed bunkers and every one of them, I really don't know if there's a bunker you can get to a green out of out there. The first priority is missing those bunkers.

Around the greens, there's some big surfaces. Hard to get the ball close but in general, you're not -- there's not too many areas that you can't get up-and-down from. So more strategy off the tee. Have a go for most of the pins and work with it if you miss the greens.

Q. You were having a bit of fun about your odds pretournament, weren't you. They will have shortened now after that opening round. A nice bit of fun. You said there's value in your pre tournament odds?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON: There's not often there's value in my game. The bookies in Ireland would make sure they cut you to a low price knowing that sentimentally people would back you. I was surprised, the bookies don't normally get it wrong, but to put me out there at 66 to 1 on a links golf course was strange at their part, at home in my home country. My performances always go up when it comes to a links course. Maybe that says I'm even worse than I thought.

Q. Talk about that 68. Conditions seemed to your liking today?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, it was touch and go when we were starting off. It did look like in the forecast, it was going to clear up a bit, but when we got up this morning it was raining and windy. Getting through the first couple of holes and sort of getting out there, playing, without doing too much damage was the goal and then obviously it brightened up and got warm. We're out in our tee shirts now, so there was scoring to be had later on in the round.

Q. How easy was the chip-in eagle on 17?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, I needed momentum at that stage. I played well early on and a couple of things, 15, I played really badly and maybe things were starting to get away from me and just to chip-in and get myself under par, I felt like I should have been under par at that stage. It's always nice, you know, on a links golf course to be under par, have one in the bank, so you always feel like you can go forward from there.

If you're a couple over par, you're kind of saying, well, where are they going to come from; when am I going to make some birdies. It was big in terms of momentum.

Q. A couple of good scrambles and par saves.
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, I hit two wild shots on my ninth and 10th holes. You know, I was lucky. They were very playable from where I hit them, and you know, the first hole, actually, I hit a bad second shot but in the bunker, which actually, one of the happier shots for me of the day. I played a nice pitch-and-run out of the bunker up the tier, which you don't get to play those shots too often, so I was quite chuffed about that one.

Q. Won Open Championships on this kind of golf course. Where does Ballyliffin rate?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON: It's a really nice, traditional golf course. It's a fine test. It's very narrow; I'll say that, which is I suppose the modern way of doing it. It will be a lot narrower than Carnoustie or any of the Open venues we go to. That's interesting, but the rest of it, it's really just a traditional links and sits there nicely on land and ebbs and flows, lots of doglegs. You've got to be really thinking as you go around.

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