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October 27, 2004

Padraig Harrington


GORDON SIMPSON: Padraig, first and foremost, tell us about the dodgy digit. How is it coming along from Wentworth?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: It didn't recover as quick as I thought it would. I got some good physio on it there and from Dale who travels and that's helped me.

GORDON SIMPSON: Is that Dale Richardson?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: There was some fluid under where it was swollen. We should break that open and it should be okay. But was a lot better today than it was yesterday.

GORDON SIMPSON: When did you pick up a club again.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Last week, I was surprised as slow as it has been. There are a lot of things that are stressed in there and after the rest it needs to be worked on.

GORDON SIMPSON: You didn't damage any ligaments?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Doesn't look like it, no. Doesn't look like there's any real damage in there. There's no fractures or anything like that.

GORDON SIMPSON: So it's getting more comfortable by the day.


GORDON SIMPSON: What about Valderrama, you've won at Montecastillo.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I've obviously found Valderrama tough over the years, as a lot of people do. It's a tough course, so I'll be interested to see how I get on this year. It's a course that should suit me. It's very good greens. I really like the greens here. I like the type of putts you get on the greens here. I probably see the difficulty that is hitting the fairways out here in the crosswinds, very narrow fairways, and some of the doglegs obviously have various wind on them at times so it can be very hard to get in the fairway.

But you've got to hold the ball up and that's sort of what I endeavor to do this year.

Q. You wouldn't ever not play here?

GORDON SIMPSON: Is that a loaded question?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: It fits the schedule very well to say the least. This is a tournament I want to play at this time of the year. I have struggled in it. I suppose there is no cut, so that helps. You can't miss the cut here in four days going at it.

I finished fifth in the American Express here, but again, that was similar, that was a good last round rather than four good days. It's a tough course but I like it as a tough course. I haven't done well in it but I do like the golf course.

Q. What's the situation with the TOUR Championship?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I'm well inside it in America. I'm 20th or 21st, something like that.

Q. How much of a problem is it; is it mental more than physical?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: If it was only mental, I would do well in it. That's one of my stronger areas is my patience and things like that. So no, I don't have -- I like the course. I don't let it eat me up. It is a tough golf course. I think hitting the fairways is very difficult out here. They're easily the narrowest fairways of the year. Some of these fairways are, you know, 11 must be 18 yards wide, and it's cutting the slope, so technically it's only 10 yards wide, or not even.

You know, it's a tough golf course. If you don't get it in play off the tee, that's when the second shots become really difficult. Like 14 can be, you know, an innocuous hole up the hill, but if you miss that fairway coming out of the rough and trying to judge going up the hill, how much spin you are going to get or no spin, the second shot back becomes very difficult and that's where the problems start on this course. The guys that have done well here are straight hitters, some lowball flights and straight hitter's. It's not a long hitter's course. There's hardly a hole on the course -- there really isn't a hole on the course that you open up your shoulders on hardly out there. It's definitely a straight hitter, lowball. Somebody who hits it low and straight does well around here. Mind you, that Freddie won last year.

Q. Having played Valderrama as often as you have, can you learn as you go along and learn to suit it to your eye?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I definitely think you get better on the golf course and more experienced on the course. Without a doubt, it is a course that you learn from each year. You know, whether how many years you have to take to learn, I've played it enough now at this stage to know it well enough.

But you know there are certain shots you just don't take on on the golf course. Without a doubt, the past has proved -- the past has probably proved that the guys who lay up on 17 probably play the hole better than guys who go for the green in two. I'm not sure on that but that's certainly a good example of a hole that experience says that, you know, unless it's very much on, you definitely lay it up.

But there's a lot of tough holes out there. 18, the tee shot is as tough as you get anywhere and if you do get a good tee shot away it really makes the second shot, you could hit a short iron in there, and have a sand wedge into 18. It's one of those holes that a good drive of the ball gets a big advantage on this course.

Q. If my math is correct, you can still move into No. 2 on the Order of Merit. Is winning the Order of Merit still important to you?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Can't win the Order of Merit.

Q. I don't mean this year but you can still finish No. 2?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Finishing No. 2 or No. 3 on the Order of Merit would not be of -- I won't be running around telling everybody I finished second again, no. (Laughter.)

Q. As one of your goals; one of your goals is to win that?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: It is. Without a doubt, I would think that it is a goal but it's another goal -- I don't think you succeed at winning the Order of Merit by chasing it down and playing every event. I think the guys that won the Order of Merit the last number of years, it's really done on you've got to win some of the big events, one or two of the really big events and do well in the other ones. It's definitely, it cannot be done in drips and drabs. You have get some very big checks in there in order to be competitive in the Order of Merit.

Q. When you came here a few years ago with Retief Goosen and something funny happened in the first hole at the first round...

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I was looking at that today actually. I marked my ball on the fringe. I looked at it today, and I did it in the sunlight and you just could not see a thing when I did it. It was sunlight and shadow. I was looking at it today and it was dull today but the light was reasonable. You struggle so much to see the fringe on that hole. Any other hole, you get used to knowing. I was looking at it, going, "That is the fringe, is it the fringe, is it the green?" It's very difficult to see. It's like it's very difficult to tell. It would be interesting to know for the stats, do they have a string on the fairway? On the edge of the fairway, there's -- this is how well they manicure the course. There's three feet of one cut and I'm trying to figure out whether they just reverse cut it, cut it to distinguish the fairway or whether it's the first cut of semi-rough. Whoever the referee that marked the yardage taked it as being fairway but I would have taken it before that as being semi-rough. They do everything so well here, it's hard to distinguish. Like you look at the aprons of the greens, you're looking at it, and there would not be too many golf courses that would not want the aprons around here to be their greens. It's just really difficult to tell. I was looking at it today, I was baffled, saying, "See, I could see how I made the mistake." I picked up the coin, "Hang on a second there's fringes here. Is there a fringe?" No, I didn't, actually. I fixed a pitch mark. I didn't mark my ball. I fixed my pitch mark on the fringe. It was the fork going in that the roots were a bit longer than on the green that told me it wasn't green. (Laughter.) So it wasn't even there. You can't tell. Have a look. It's so hard. (Laughter.) That was an aside. I've gotten lazy since the surgery. I'm seeing a little better.

Q. Did you have the other eye done?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I had it done last week. So I've had both done now. One eight weeks gone and one last week.

Q. Any issues being discussed the today's meeting?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I have no idea. No idea. I'll ramble in there and see what's happening. I miss out so much on what's happening, I've got to say.

Q. Do you think the latest saga with Seve might be raised?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: What's the latest saga with Seve?

Q. I'll tell you later.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You've got to tell me. You brought it up (Laughter.)

Q. You won in Hong Kong and you won a couple of weeks ago and you've been on the winning Ryder Cup Team this year but what would it mean to finish off the year with another Volvo Masters win?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, this is a big event. It's certainly right at the top of the European Tour events. You know, quality of the golf course, everything about it puts it up on that pedestal and it is a big event to win, yes. It would mean a lot to me to win it.

GORDON SIMPSON: Okay. On that note, you can go off to ramble along.

End of FastScripts.

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