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October 13, 2004

Padraig Harrington


SCOTT CROCKETT: Padraig, thank you very much for coming in. Not probably the best week last week, but how is the game looking going into this week?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You know, obviously it's my sixth week in a row and I do need a break. But saying that, trying to get some rest and get ready for if you do well what will be a very long week. Certainly the last couple of weeks I have been struggling with my focus. It's been coming and going on the golf course and obviously that's going to be very difficult to manage through 36 holes. It will probably come and go anyway in 36 holes. Obviously that's what I have to be aware of. The game is okay. It's just a question of making sure the focus is there.

SCOTT CROCKETT: Thoughts on your match against with Chris Riley, a member of the is Ryder Cup Team, what's your thoughts on that one?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I really don't know Chris that well. I know of him on the Tour, and I'm actually quite looking forward to seeing his game tomorrow. I don't think we've ever played together before. So it will be interesting to see his game.

Q. Talking about your focus � have you been speaking to Bob (Rotella) on the phone?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I haven't, actually. Like I know what to do. I'm just tired. When you're tired, it comes and goes a bit at the best of times. You have to deal with the two weeks, German Masters obviously was very intense, followed by the Ryder Cup, and then I've been running a little bit on empty since then. I obviously could have done without playing the Woburn, and I played there to try to get in here; and as it turned out I got in here without playing Woburn. In hindsight it would have been nice to have that week off. You can't always choose these things or see what's going to happen in the future. I would be very happy to be here. I tried to take it as easy as possible and hopefully I'll be ready to go tomorrow morning.

Q. Is this where the low maintenance swing comes in?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: That would be great. Yeah, I brought it on myself. It was an intense week. I normally play three weeks and have a break. This being six, and the Ryder Cup being -- you know starting off with the German Masters and then the Ryder Cup are two heavy weeks. It's just taken its toll a bit.

Q. What do you do when you go home for 24 hours, just recharge or sleep, what do you do?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You just try to relax, get as much sleep as you can. Get in the gym as well; that gets you going, and things like that. You just, really it's the competition I need to get away from. It's not necessarily wanting or what you're doing in between. It's that I'm quite an intense person on the golf course. I want to -- I try very hard. It takes a lot out of me. Some guys can play in a given week and it doesn't really take much out of them, but I tend to be quite intense about it and do all of the practice. I'm not the sort of guy -- I don't think -- I think sometimes you have tournaments where we go on a holiday in a week and play golf. Either I go, I play and give it 100% or I don't. That's why it takes a lot out of me when I play and that's just my nature. I just have to not play as much, because the weeks I play, I tend to really put it in and need a break afterwards.

Q. What is the priority for you this week?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I think winning is the priority full stop. It's a big event. I've come close in the past and it's something I would like to do. To have a bigger event, even though it was great heritage to it and great players have won it, the fact that it is the leading prize money in the world, it is a European Tour event and but I think it does carry World Ranking points, doesn't it? That would be a big issue, as well this week.

So the money is great, without a doubt and if I win this week, I will appreciate the money, but I don't think I can win -- the Order of Merit doesn't seem to be a realistic goal for me. I don't think it's mathematically possible, so that's out.

But certainly the World Ranking points would matter. This is one of those weeks where you can make some good points and come by some good points, where maybe for a good performance in other weeks it's hard to get that many points.

Q. You're No. 1 on the non-PGA TOUR Money List --

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Well, they didn't count all of my money in that. I've actually got $2.2 million. What does it say I have?

Q. You have $1.7 --

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I've got $2.150 or something like that. It would mean that I'm 20th in the Order of Merit to get into THE TOUR Championship.

Q. Are you mulling over going official on the US PGA Tour?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Oh, I've considered it at this stage. Yeah, I'm probably going to play the same schedule in Europe. I'm actually probably going to play more in Europe next year, physically in Europe. I'm going to take my U.S. card, as well, so some of the around the world tournaments are going to lose out next year. So I'm going to play -- I played -- I'm going to end up playing both 13 times, close to 12, 13 times in the States this year, and that will probably be up to 17 times next year. I'm going to add four in.

Basically I'm going to more or less play all of the events I played in Europe last year and maybe, maybe one more in Europe.

Q. Based around the majors?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, based around the majors. Some early season as well. Most of the ones I'm going to play in the States are going to be the early season ones. I'm going to play an extra two events in the States. Last year I played two -- I played three events leading up to -- I played five events leading up to the Masters, and next year I'm going to play six. So I'm going to play an extra two events in the states leading up to the Masters compared to this year.

Q. Winter break? As long?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Exact same winter break. I'm going to play a couple more events in Florida before I go to TPC and then the BellSouth and then the Masters. And then I'm going to play a couple more just after that. Basically I'm going to play an extra two there, an extra three just after the Masters, a little bit after the Masters and then I'm going to take one out that I played this year later in the year and just play the same schedule from there on. It actually has worked out quite nicely.

Q. Why?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You know I've been playing well in the States. I just felt -- I don't get to play -- I hardly played any regular TOUR events in the States. If I played ten in my life, that would probably be it. Generally I play the majors and the TPC, I would not count that as a regular. I'm maybe one leading into it.

Next year I just want to play a couple more, get more of a feel more the majors and things like that. As I say, it's basically -- it's basically an extra -- there's five regular tournaments I'm putting in at that period earlier in the year. I think it's kind of just to get going. I haven't played as much -- the last two years I've come around to June and July, the Open Championship, having played no more than ten events, and I've felt like the year hasn't started and three of the majors are over.

So next year I'm going to play a little bit more so that I'm more competitive at that period of the year. It would definitely mean that I suffer a little bit more towards the end of the year, so I'm just trying to get a heavier schedule at the start of my season, and that realistically means -- you know, it does mean playing more. It's those events in the States are the best ones at that time to play. So that's really it. So try and get myself a little bit more competitive earlier in the year, to try and play a few more regular events. I'd like to win a U.S. TOUR event and things like that, but it's more just to -- I've felt a little bit this year and last year that I haven't got into things by the time July had come around.

Okay, I played quite a bit from Augusta onwards, but I only play about ten events up to July or something silly like that.

Q. Conditions anything to do with it, three majors being in the States?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I don't think -- the three majors are totally extreme golf courses compared to what we play in general. I think European golf courses are set up -- this may surprise you, but because over here in Europe where we are somewhat of the country cousins type thing, we actually set up our golf courses how we think they are set up in the States, which in my eyes they are set up tougher. The fairways are far tighter in Europe. The rough if they can get it, it tends to be heavy. Like there was no golf course as tough as TPC at the Deutsche Bank SAP. The rough was eight inches high around the greens, and tight. We have some incredibly tight golf courses.

So it's not -- it's not because our golf courses don't set us up well for the majors. It's more just because at that time of the year their tournaments are probably, you know, the courses are ready at that time of the year. Maybe the fields are a little bit stronger at that period of the year where I need to be a bit more competitive. Whether they prepare me for the majors, I should know the majors.

I felt at the Masters this year I was not that sharp, and I definitely felt all the way through to the Open Championship I was not as sharp. I could have had more tournaments under my belt. And this looks more logical. Instead of playing a few more events, traveling a bit more out of the world, to take them out and play the couple in the States.

Q. Are you back for the PGA in May?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: How will I put this ... I am very strongly considering it, as I have for the last couple of years. And it is on my schedule. I have put it in on my schedule. So I'm really, really -- I've gotten weeks in the winter to get myself psyched up for it. It's there, it's penciled in. It's in the schedule as of you now.

I will actually look forward to it to try my hands at it again. I'm actually looking forward to playing this week, too, but I'm looking forward to trying my hand at it again for my own personal battle to see that I'm not trying to struggle to make the cut or whatever. But yeah, it's there at the moment unless, I don't know, I can't see -- it's penciled in.

Q. Did it surprise you that your coach raises his eyebrows when he hears you are not playing?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I would believe I could win every golf play every golf course and win every week. If I had as much confidence as Bob had, I would be okay.

Q. Do you know best or does he know best?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: As I said, if I play like he believes I can play, I would have no problems playing anywhere. But I do struggle on the greens at that time of the year. I roll my putts and that's -- they are very difficult greens to roll putts on. You want to be a firm putter and take a lot of the breaks out. Ultimately you can put me on the biggest slopes in the world, and as long as it's one consistent break, I would probably putt better on that type of green. So I would probably putt better than anybody with big, sloping greens. I struggle on flat undulating slight breaks. I always struggle on little, two breaks over 15 foot always drives me; I find that difficult.

Q. Have you had letters from Ken or people at the Tour asking you to explain your absence?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Of course, everybody wants to know why I don't play in it. It's purely because of my record. If you look at it, I can't make the cut here or I struggle to make the cut every year. I find it a very frustrating golf course. I come here and some guy, I said last time I was here, I shot 4-over par for the first two days and Anders Hanson shot 19-under par. If it was my first tournament as a professional, I probably would have packed my bags and went home and went back. I was so inadequate compared to Anders Hanson that week, I would have had to go home and start accountancy again and that's the way I felt. And that's not great for your confidence going into a busy part of the year. It just unbelievably knocks you back. I can't see how -- I can't see how the guys, and every year it's 19-under par wins around this course, and I think shooting 72 is great out there at that time of the year.

Q. Is this the only course you play you feel like this?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: No, I generally leave them out if I feel that way now. But I've learned you can only play a certain amount of golf courses. So don't go to the ones you don't particularly do well on. And sometimes those courses you like, you don't do well on, and sometimes courses you turn up on and you can't understand why you do well on them, you don't think it suits you, because if you look at my track record, I tend to go back to the same courses and do well on them all the time. German Masters, the TPC at Deutsche Bank, just keep, you know, it depends, the venues times of the year, whatever. I keep repeating on the same courses. Whereas, and sometimes you do the opposite. Valderrama is a very good example coming up. Besides finishing fifth in the American Express where I had a good last round I've never done anything around the course. And yet you put me on Montecastillo, every year I'm right there, I can make 20-something birdies around Montecastillo over 72 holes, and every year I was right in contention or a good performance. And yet we go to Valderrama and right down -- some day maybe I will be good enough to overcome these things, but I ain't at the moment.

Q. Are your feelings different towards Wentworth at this time of year?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: It's a totally different golf course at this time of the year, everything. It is match-play, the fact that you've only got one other guy; that you're much more in control, he might find it as tough as you, you can see everything happening in front of you. You know, the 19-under par thing scares me at Wentworth. I know I can go quite low at this time of the year when things are soft. Yet it is a control thing at this time of the year being one-on-one match. At Wentworth, there's 156 guys, and yet you happen to know that somebody is going to go mad and hole putts this week. It's hard, it's a much, much -- and it's much firmer at that time of the year, you know, the greens are much firmer. They get much quicker around the hole. Tomorrow the greens will just be magnificent. There's only 16 of us so, so they will be pure to putt on.

Q. Do you recall Chris Riley from the Walker Cup in 1995 and do you think it was bizarre he didn�t want to play the foursomes in the Ryder Cup considering he experienced it in his amateur career?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You will recall him from '95. Yes and no. He was part of the team. Yes, but I know Chris, to say a lot but I don't know a huge amount about him. As I said I'll be looking forward to playing with him tomorrow to see what his game is like. I saw him a bit at the PGA this year when he was in contention there, but up close I don't think I've ever played with him. So I'm looking forward to that. The fact he was there in '95, unless you actually play against the guy, even like if he played against me in '95, I hope he would be shocked when he tees it up with me tomorrow because I've changed that much. So I'm sure he's matured and changed a lot since '95.

As regards the Ryder Cup that's not for me to comment on. It's totally his call. He should know best.

Q. Do you watch your opponent play his shots during your match?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: It's crazy to believe that you can play the golf course solely or that you will play the player solely. Match-play, you've got as with all golf courses, you have to go with the situations and circumstances. A guy hits it out-of-bounds, you have to change your strategy. If he tees up first and hits driver, you don't try and hook it around the corner with driver. You're obviously playing the player, you're not playing the golf course. If you're first up on 17, well, if you're first up maybe you will hit it right just to be safe and let him take on the hole. You definitely are playing the player. The key thing is not always to be playing against them, but you're going to hit your own shots most of the time. It's only when circumstantial things happen, like he gets in a lot of trouble. If they have two putts to win, I can guarantee you they are thinking of getting down in two, they are not playing the golf course and they are trying to 2-putt.

There is an element of everything. It's foolish to do one or the other, foolish to go at a pin because your opposition has hit it into ten feet. If you don't like the shot, still try to hit it to ten feet or 15 feet don't be all-out blazing at the pin. And if you've missed the green, sometimes it is better to hit it to the middle of the green. Sometimes you have to go to the pin. So it's how you're feeling, it's all circumstances and you can't -- you can't do one or the other.

No, I don't believe that anybody should still -- you can win a match by doing one or the other but over time it will catch up on you. You've got to be aware on what's happening in the match. Sometimes I will focus on my golf more the next while and let's try to not watch too much what he's doing. When things are going okay, you're probably keeping an eye on him, but there are periods when you go in and out of watching and not watching.

SCOTT CROCKETT: Good luck tomorrow.

End of FastScripts.

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