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October 2, 2004

Padraig Harrington


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Padraig Harrington, thank you for joining us. Third round 66 puts you at 12-under for the tournament, right in the thick of it. There's still some players on the course, but looks like you're in great position going into the final round tomorrow. Let's start with some opening comments about your day.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Obviously it was a good day. 6-under through 10, maybe I would have been happy to shoot a little lower for the round, but I could see myself doing no wrong and probably got a little bit aggressive at times coming home, but I got it up-and-down out of a couple of bunkers I hit it in, so overall I'm not too disappointed, but I'm very pleased with the score, pleased to be somewhat in contention for the next two days (laughter).

Yeah, it was nice. I holed putts today that I felt I hadn't holed in the first two rounds, and that was the difference in the score, simple as that. I probably played slightly better yesterday, but overall I just holed some putts today. The ball was going in the hole, and that made a difference. Even on the last, I had a tricky six-footer back up the hill that was dead straight, probably as awkward as a putt as you can get, and I rolled the ball in the middle.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Nice bit of inspiration from the home crowd, too.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I've gotten some great support. Thankfully I started the right way. I birdied three of the first five holes, and the people who came out to watch me stayed with me then. It gave some momentum to that crowd. If I started with pars they would have been drifting off. It was a good day for me, a really good atmosphere, not just clapping, but cheering from greens to tees, so there was some really, really good moments out there.

Q. You didn't change anything in your putting or do anything differently, did you?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: No. I putted well the first two days, I just didn't hole putts. Today, just the ball was going in. I picked the same lines, did the same thing. You just have to be patient sometimes, and when they go in, just let it happen and don't get in your own way, so today was a good day.

Q. You made some really good saves today.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I made a couple of good saves coming home, yeah, which are very important obviously. You know, as I said, you've got to do that at times. It has been a strong part of my game, and it's nice to see that was there when it was needed. Especially the first two days, I had very little -- the second day it was windier, I had a few more opportunities, but today every time I had to get up-and-down, I got up-and-down, which is exactly how you shoot 66. You've got to take a lot of pins on and you've got to miss a few greens because of it, and then if you can get it up-and-down, you're doing okay.

Q. Are you excited to be in contention in a tournament I'm sure you'd love to win?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I'd have to make sure I'm not. It's obviously a very big deal, a World Championship event, a Tour event in Ireland. It's a big deal for me if I could go on and win it. But to be honest, I have to leave all those things until after it's finished on Monday (laughter). You know, I just have to focus on what I'm doing, not think about the result at all, just focus on the job at hand, do my own thing, and nobody wants to give Ernie a couple of shots' lead going into any round.

There's a lot of hard work ahead. The odds would be stacked against me, but it's a question of doing my own thing and not getting excited about it and not thinking about the result.

Q. What are the better odds, catching Ernie or finishing tomorrow?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: They never get the forecast right in Ireland. I think we'll finish tomorrow. We don't even look at it. If you don't like the weather, every 15 minutes it'll change.

Q. How are you actually managing to do this physically, because you won the German Masters, won the Ryder Cup back over the Atlantic, played the Heritage, and now you are in Mount Juliet, so that's four weeks of intense competition in a row. So physically, how do you actually keep an even keel?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Physically I've never been in better shape. I continue to workout every day through those four weeks, I've continued to do everything -- I'm as strong as can be. Mentally is what you have to watch out for, the mental tiredness, especially after the German Masters, having won it, that took a lot out of me. The Ryder Cup is like two weeks.

So yeah, it's tough, but the fact that you're in contention, there's a little bit of adrenaline there, and that props you up. The difficulty would be if you were -- like last week I was middle of the pack and there was nothing there, but the fact that I'm doing well in this tournament, the adrenaline will help and hopefully keep me focused.

I think that's been the hardest thing over the three days, is to keep myself focused. I struggled the first day and sometimes today I struggled, as well. I would like to be a little bit fresher mentally, but we all want things, don't we?

Q. You said Ronan seems to communicate out there very well on the course. You talk a lot?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, we do. Ronan is a talker and I do like to talk. One of the things I always require from a caddie of mine is somebody to talk to, somebody who can chat, not necessarily about golf. Actually more than not, we don't want to talk about golf when we're out there. Ronan is a very good friend of mine and we have a lot of the same interests, so we spend a lot of time talking about business, talking about different things happening, so it's just a nice aside to keep away from the golf.

Q. I remember in Canada last month when Mike Weir was in contention, he said he felt the weight of a nation on every shot. I'm just curious what it's like for you here, not just this event but other ones in Ireland.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: So far I don't really feel it on every shot. It's hard before, during and after a round, the stuff around -- I think at the Irish Open I had a good conversation -- it was actually with my wife about, everybody wants you to win, all the Irish support want you to win, and sometimes that translates into expectations, which I don't think those expectations are -- like you can't expect someone to win the American Express Championship at Mount Juliet, yet when people want you to win so much, it feels like an expectation, so it feels like that.

Since then I've realized that they just want it, they don't necessarily expect it. They want it, and it's a lot easier to handle when you know that they just want you to win, that they don't actually feel in any way that they expect you to win because if they expect you to win, it puts a lot of pressure on you because you feel like you failed if you don't win. You kind of have to look at it like that, at the support. They're willing you on, but you have to try and get away from those expectations. It's dangerous when you feel the pressure of people's expectations, as I'm sure Mike would have felt in Canada. You have to just deflect it a little bit and put it down to they're willing you to win.

Q. How long did it take you to figure that out?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: More or less at the Irish Open this year. It's so hard to play a tournament in your home country. It's much tougher. If this event was in the States, you know, I'd be flying under the radar until today. Nobody would know too much and you can do your own thing. But coming into this tournament there's more interviews, there's more things, and as I said, there's more people wishing you luck, which if you take that as expectations it can put a lot of pressure on you, whereas if you take it at face value, that they're willing you along, it takes off the pressure.

Q. Well, the pressure is trying to give them what they want, isn't it?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: They want you to win, but you have to realize that -- I used to think -- go and have a look at the odds and the bookies, the expectation if you're a betting man that he wasn't going to win in a given week. At a regular event -- I think I was 25 to 1 this week. It takes 25 of these events for me to win (laughter). That's the expectation, not turn up and win this week. I have to manage it that way, that they're just willing me to win, wanting me to win, and necessarily they won't -- the expectation, they won't hang me out to dry if I don't win, let's say.

Q. This must be about your 25th World Golf Championship.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Not far off, I'm sure (laughter). How many have there been? I've played every one.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Padraig, if we could go through your round.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I hit a driver, wedge to 15 feet on the 1st, holed the putt.

Holed a 25-footer on the 2nd for par.

Hit 3-wood, sand wedge to 15 feet at the 3rd.

Hit lob wedge to four feet at the 4th.

The 8th, I hit sand wedge to about 15 feet.

9th, I hit 6-iron to 15 feet.

The 10th, I hit lob wedge to three feet.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Thank you very much.

End of FastScripts.

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