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April 3, 2004

Padraig Harrington


TODD BUDNICK: Padraig Harrington joins us after a 5 under 67. He sits at 10 under, 206 after three rounds of the BellSouth Classic. You made a charge last week in the final round and you make a charge this week in the third round. Do you have one more charge left for tomorrow?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: It looks like I probably need it, all right. You know, who knows, who knows. Obviously, yeah, hopefully go out there and play well. I'm not expecting anything. I'll just wait and see.

TODD BUDNICK: You had a very good round today just the one mishap on No. 5, a triple bogey.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, no bogeys today. (Laughter.) No double bogeys, either.

It's a great hole, that fifth hole, it really is. It's an intimidating hole right from the start. Today it was into the wind and I was trying to hold one down the left hand side skirting the bunker and I just made a bad swing and pulled it into the trees. So there I'm really struggling from then on.

You know, I took 7. I hit six of the shots so I can't really complain about it. It anything it knocked me back a little bit on the next couple of holes,6,7, really birdie chances, and I probably made two pars, just happy to make my pars and get on from there.

It was only when I birdied 9 that I got going again, which was nice. The back nine when we got on the back nine the weather certainly seemed to pick up nicely. The ball was traveling further. It was nice and warm. The scoring was on on the back nine.

TODD BUDNICK: Six birdies on your last 10 holes and only 24 putts needed today.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, you know, I was very happy with the putting. You know, all the way through the last, realistically, the last ten holes, I had birdie chances on every one but the 14th no, 15th was the only one I didn't have a birdie chance on. So I holed my fair share coming home, that's for sure.

Q. Where actually were you on the fifth when you took the penalty drop that you then went into the bunker?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Oh, I was in the hazard on the left hand side.

Q. So it wasn't a bad shot

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: No. I had taken a drop and I had to carry a bunker. I had to keep it under the trees and carry a bunker of pine needles and I just hit it very nicely, just a little bit too strong and I carried it across the fairway. Certainly more conscious about carrying the bunker. I had 50 yards to carry and I hit it probably 80 yards. I felt it was easier to chip it from there than go back to the tee, put it like that. I certainly didn't want to go back to the tee. I was laughing at that point to have to go back and face the tee shot again.

Q. You are certainly in reach of your first win here in the U.S., can you talk about the significance of that?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Well, it would certainly be my first tour win. I've won couple of times over here before. Until I win on the Tour we are all biased what we've won. Yeah, it would be important to win on the U.S. tour. Obviously, you know, I'm not putting pressure on myself to do it tomorrow or anything like that. I haven't played that many regular TOUR events in the past. I probably haven't even played a dozen regular TOUR events. I've certainly played some majors and World events. So I haven't played too many normal events. We'll wait and see how it goes tomorrow, but I'm not putting myself under too much pressure.

Q. Does it make you any more confident knowing that there are a lot of other guys around the leaderboard don't have experience winning either?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Zach Johnson won three times last year, I believe. That's lots of experience of winning, that's for sure. Doesn't matter where you win. Winning is winning. And taking it home, you have to know how to do it. He obviously has a good hand at being able to do that, a good gift, so I expect him to play strong tomorrow.

Q. Is there something different about you, did you do something with your hair this week?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, I changed my hair about four months ago. (Laughter.) No, not this week, no. About four months ago it's been done. Yeah, it is different. You're very perceptive in that. (Laughter.)

Q. Would you rather them not say that you are one of the favorites to win next week; you seemed to balk when they asked you that on TV.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I laughed at it. I didn't balk at it. It's a strange thing to say, one of the favorites.

You know, my form is good going into it. I think when I think of favorite, I think of somebody who is going to go out there and outright win it, that's it. There's far more to winning a major than anybody being favored. I suppose I think when somebody says favor, I'm thinking good form or something like that. Obviously, my form is good going into it, if I continue on, hopefully I can give myself some sort of chance next week.

TODD BUDNICK: Let's go through your birdies.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: No. 1, I hit a drive, 8 iron to about 15 feet and holed the putt. Nice start.

No. 3, I hit 5 wood, wedge to three feet. Holed the putt.

9, I hit drive, 6 iron to 12 feet, holed the putt.

10, I hit drive, 4 iron, green side trap, out to four feet, holed the putt.

11, I hit 7 iron to three feet.

14, I hit 7 iron to ten feet.

16, I hit 7 iron to 12 feet.

18, I hit driver, 3 wood to the back edge, chipped it down, nearly holed it.

So, it wasn't exactly a spectacular putting round even though the numbers were good. It was only when I got through it.

Q. You were kind of looking at your second shot on 18, was there any thought about laying up or was it just what club to hit?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I don't think there was any thought of laying up, not on a Saturday afternoon when you're behind. No, I was going to go for it. It was a question of what club I was going to hit. It would be no big deal if I hit it in the water. Not a huge difference whether I finish 10 or 8 under. It's neither here nor there. If I don't shoot a good score, it's not that important to come in at 7 or 8, so I would be taking on, defendant definitely.

Q. When have you learned from previous majors about what it might take to win one?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I suppose we'd probably have to sit down and write a lot on that. There's a lot to learn in majors. I think that you've got to say there's a huge amount of experience involved in majors, of the tournament itself, of all majors and of the golf course that you're on.

So, yeah, I think you've got to realize that you've got to play them and be in contention and be under that pressure a few times before it really happens.

So it's just really, you've got to be it's experience.

Q. You've won quite a bit in Europe on the European Tour, how would you compare a win on the European Tour to a win on the PGA TOUR?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Depends on the event, purely. We have some very big events in Europe. Purely depends on the qualities of the field that you're teeing off in. You know, if it was a smaller event in U.S. or a small event in Europe; you try to win a big event in Japan or Australia. So it just purely depends on how you see the quality of the field that week and the history of the event.

Q. Can you talk about the momentum inaudible the back nine of THE PLAYERS and the way you played today, picking up speed a little bit?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I traditionally play very poorly with momentum. I get a little bit ahead of myself. So I'm just going to try and not really try not to build on the momentum, just leave it alone and just go play golf.

Q. Starting tomorrow you'll probably be at least 3 down, does that mean you charge or do you play fairly conservative? How will you approach tomorrow?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Forecast is 30 mile an hour winds tomorrow. So I think anybody who I don't think I can come out and win being patient and I don't think I can come out and win being aggressive, either. I don't think either of those two things are going to as a total game plan, I don't think either of them will work. I think I just have to hit the right shots at the right times all day tomorrow, whatever that may be, whether it's going at the pin or playing safe. It's neither one nor the other; it's the right shot all day.

TODD BUDNICK: Thank you, Padraig, good luck tomorrow.

End of FastScripts.

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