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March 26, 2004

Padraig Harrington


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Thank you for joining us, rounds of 68 and 70 puts you in good position going into the weekend. If we could start with some opening comments about the first two days out here, and specifically how the course is playing today compared to yesterday.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You know, I wasn't too confident going into it; I struggled with my game the first two days. It wasn't quite the same today. I was comfortable with the way I played, but i made a few mental errors. Yesterday's pin positions, they were all intended to be -- if you hit good shots, you could get close, if you were slightly off in the wind you had a difficult up-and-down. Today they were flatter, or certainly they seemed that way. Not that they were any easier or tougher, they were just slightly different type of pins today. So obviously it's not quite as windy out there today. Scoring probably should be better today.

Q. Were the greens as hard or getting harder?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Obviously not as hard this morning, no. They were very firm yesterday, which you would expect. Obviously coming out this morning, there was more moisture in the morning, they weren't as firm.

Q. They didn't water them, did they?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: They have to water them to keep them alive. With the dew on them -- there was a shower overnight. In the morning they were reasonably receptive. Coming home, the last few holes, 14 I hit one in -- 14 I really struggled to find a pitch mark. They were firming up the last maybe five, six holes.

Q. Obviously you were the one being chased after two rounds last year. Are there advantages in doing the chasing?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I can't even remember. What was I last year?

Q. Two ahead halfway.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Two ahead halfway? I don't look at it in any sense -- if you're two ahead, it's not like you're assured of winning, and being three behind, whatever, it's the same sort of situation. There's a lot of golf to be played, another 36 holes. To be honest, it's whoever plays best on the weekend is going to win. We've got ourselves in a position that if we do play well, we can win. All the guys are up there. And nobody is going to get away with not performing on the weekend and hope to win this weekend. Whoever is going to win is going to have to play golf.

Q. What specifically about this course do you enjoy?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You know, the fact that I score well, that's why I like it. But why I like it, I don't know, it suits my eye. It's certainly -- it's very much a thinking golf course. You've got some holes where you can be very aggressive on, and some holes you have to be patient and play to the middle of the greens, depending on how the pins are set up in the wind. It changes a lot. So you've got to keep on top of your mental game out there, and that seems to suit me.

Q. After your practice round on Wednesday, you weren't too confident. Are you surprised at the quality of ball-striking?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I was -- I was, yesterday, especially. Every time I hit it down the middle I was baffled. I was surprised -- every time I looked up and saw it coming down the middle I was surprised because I really hit it poorly on Wednesday. Sometimes I have a habit of playing my best golf when my expectations are very low. Obviously I should keep those low expectations for the weekend.

Q. What happened on 16?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Today I hit a super drive on the left side, really needed to keep it tight to the trees. Then 3-iron, again, not like yesterday bailing out left. I decided to take it on, and I hit it to about eight feet. Unfortunately I'd been struggling on the greens, and I just hit a weak putt down the left-hand side and it lipped out. It was a pity, it was a great chance to make eagle.

I missed on 15, 16, 17 there, all very short putts, good chances. And to be honest, didn't hit a good putt on the three of them. I was very pleased to hole a 15-footer on the last. I would have been feeling sorry for myself if I missed that one.

Q. 14 was a good hole for you, wasn't it?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: 14, yeah, at the time, you know -- well, I was back in the tournament -- I was in good frame of mind going in there. I hit a lovely 9-iron, hit it to 12 feet and hit a good putt. I was pretty confident at that stage of a good finish.

Q. How fearful of what might happen were you out there practicing?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Not really at all, no. Such is life. I'd done the practice coming out and I felt I was

playing -- swinging the club great. If I don't play well, well, I can't do any more than what I did. So I wasn't going to be -- this is my fourth tournament of the year. It takes me a while to warm up and get into things. As I said, I'd scored really well here last year and I wasn't happy with my swing. It does take me a while to build into get going in the season, and that's just the nature of my game. So if it didn't happen this week, so be it. Hopefully it will be there next week or the week after.

Q. I just wanted to follow up on that, the whole notion of lower expectations. Does that make you go out there and say, what the heck, I'll just let them fly?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, I struggle when I'm very confident I tend to play very aggressive. A good example is that today, like I hit driver down the first today, hit it straight down the fairway. If I wasn't confident, I would have hit 3-wood. I hit the wrong club. I get very aggressive when I'm playing well. When I'm not playing well, I select the shots much better. I play defensive when I need to, and when an opportunity comes around I tend to take it. I am always a better player when I'm not confident. Confidence -- well, I seem to play better with fear than I do with confidence, basically.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Could we go through the rest of your round.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: 1, I hit driver down left half of the fairway, bounced left and went through the fairway, hit it in the green-side trap, out to about 12 feet, missed the putt.

Hit a nice 3-wood, 5-wood, beautiful shot through the green at the 2nd and made a great up-and-down, played a great chip to about 15 feet and holed it.

I bogeyed 9. I got a little bit in between clubs when I laid up, and I selected to hit lob wedge and I rushed the shot a bit and didn't allow for the sidehill lie and pulled it off the lie, hit it hard and missed it left. Didn't get it up-and-down out of the bunker. It was a difficult up-and-down.

12, I birdied. I hit it left off the tee and was in perfect position. I had a reasonable lie. I could see the flag and nearly holed the pitch, I suppose it was about eight feet and holed the putt. It was a nice break.

4, I hit a good drive, 9-iron to about ten feet I suppose it was, hit a nice putt.

15, I hit middle of the fairway. I just hit a 7-iron, chipped it to about eight feet, missed the putt, didn't hit a good putt.

16, I told you.

17, I hit a nice wedge, pitched beside the hole, off to the left, about I suppose it was 12, 15 feet, and hit a very weak putt.

18, I hit 3-wood down the middle, 6-iron to -- nice 6-iron, came around nice, about 15 feet, and it fell in on its last gasp. It was nice to see it go in. It makes a huge difference on my lunch.

Q. Tough one to read?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Funny enough, I've been

struggling -- when you start putting badly, you can't see any lines, and you're changing your mind. I've been bringing Dave in on 15, 16 and 18, asking him to read putts. Before I wouldn't ask him to read three putts in a year. I was struggling with the confidence. I asked him, and as he was halfway through, something came to me, and I hit the putts quick as I could, with a reasonable thought in my head. If you want to see how quick I hit it, that's what's been happening. My mind has been wandering. I wasn't committing to the lines. I wasn't seeing the lines on the greens.

Q. What did you say you hit into 16?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: 16, I hit 3-iron. It was one of those that looked like it was three feet, and as you got up it was eight feet.

Q. Could you tell us how you got involved doing the commercials for Ireland, because they're really lovely?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Well, obviously I'm Irish (laughter). It's one of the things -- actually Colin represents Scotland. It's easier to represent all the golf clubs in Ireland than one. I used to be attached to Mount Juliet. But it's more comfortable that I can talk freely about all the golf courses. People would ask you where should you go, and it's nice when I represent all the golf courses that I can say, well, try these six in this corner or go down here. And usually I've recommended some of the courses that people wouldn't necessarily have heard of. So it's more or less for that reason, you can promote it all, rather than just one course, necessarily.

Q. Was it the Economic Development Council or something like that?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, it's Failte Ireland, Northern Ireland Tourism. It's government backed.

Q. Do you have any association at all with Mount Juliet?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Besides being a member and enjoying going to the golf course, but the actual attachment is not there anymore, besides going and having a nice game of golf.

Q. You'll be there in September?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Hopefully I'll be there in September for the American Express. It's the best conditioned golf course in the world, our little country of Ireland.

End of FastScripts.

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