June 12, 2003
OLYMPIA FIELDS, ILLINOIS
Q. Good day's work?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: It would have been a good day's work if I parred the last. It's never nice going to lunch when you've bogeyed the last. I've certainly taken it going out.
I played very solid the first 14 holes, never put myself under any pressure. Besides three-putting on 9 I don't think I had any other par putts aside from tap-ins. It was all going very nicely but I seemed to get tired at the end. I struggled to focus and hit a few bad shots at the end. I recovered them, which was nice, but obviously three putts again at the last leaves a sour taste, but 69 is okay. There's a long way to go, 72 holes.
Q. How would you characterize the course?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I definitely felt the course was certainly -- I felt the course was playing for a U.S. Open probably -- certainly of all the ones I've seen, probably that was the easiest. No wind, the greens are receptive, pin positions today, they can't really go too extreme with some of the slopes, so yeah, I thought all the way through the first 14 holes or so anyway, I was telling myself, you're looking at them and thinking you could go at the pins, which is not normally U.S. Open. Like the pin on 18 is a U.S. Open pin. It's over a ridge. The rest of them were very, very decent I've got to say.
I actually thought the scoring would -- I think the scoring is good in general. I thought it would be better individually. I thought somebody would really shoot a low score with the conditions.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Not tiredness, I just lost focus the last four holes. I hit a few wayward shots and lost my concentration a couple times. I'm putting the bad shots down to loss of focus and I'm putting the loss of focus down to tiredness, so it's a bit of a chain there.
Q. If it ever really warms up out there and we get some sunshine, do you see the greens and fairways firming up for under par rounds?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Well, the golf course two days ago had a crosswind and it was brutal. You had to work the ball hard. You had to use your driver and cut it into the wind or draw it into the wind. It's not like that at all today. It's not playing long enough where you're hitting a lot of run off the tee shots so you can hit a lot of 3-woods. It played very reasonable today. As a U.S. Open should be, it was -- without the wind it was a little bit easier.
Q. At 16 would you describe your second shot that ran over the green and then the chip shot back, please?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I had 210 to the flag, I hit 5-wood out of the rough. I hadn't hit it at all in practice so I was guessing how it would come out, and it came out and I had a good lie. The chip shot I played with a 9-iron and it came out -- when it landed it came out very hot. It was always going to hit the flag, though. How unlucky was I?
You're going to get the odd break during the U.S. Open, you're going to get some bad breaks during the U.S. Open, and you kind of continue on. When you get good ones you don't make too much of it and when you hit bad ones you don't make too much of it.
Q. Did you have to convince yourself that you could go for pins?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, there was a lot of pin positions I was thinking about and saying this looks -- sometimes 9-iron or 8-iron normally you'd always be going at a pin with those clubs, and you're thinking should I or should I not be. I played it pretty steady all the way around. I tried to stay patient but definitely there were pin positions out there that were accessible.
Q. You said the greens would be slower out here and the golfers would know that.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Early this morning there was a lot of moisture on the green. I think it will be tougher this afternoon and it's dry for the next three days. There are slopes in the greens and you don't want to get too far away, say like my putt on 9 and 18, two long putts, there might have been five, six different breaks going across up and down slopes, and that's difficult. Really certainly if you have the pins get any tougher you want to keep it middle of the green, 15 feet range, so you're not struggling to three-putt. If you're too aggressive and you miss the greens you're going to have difficult up-and-downs.
Q. You talked about the lack of concentration the last four holes. Does your mental game concern you more than your physical game? Is that really what's going to make the difference for you?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: For me? When you're swinging okay you feel like it does come down to your mental game. We spend 99 percent of our time working on our physical game and 1 percent on mental, but we should really do it the other way around. It's one of those things you put on the long list that you're going to work on some day, but I should be applying myself to it more to it.
Q. Sam Snead sait that golf is 70 percent mental.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I'm not going to argue with Sam, but I'd say it's 90 percent mental.
Q. Was that boring enough?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: It was very nice for 14 holes. I kept it very much in play, especially -- yeah, always to that range that I wasn't worried about three-putting. It was very, very steady for those 14 holes. The last four holes were very exciting. I was everywhere.
Q. Why do you think European players have fared so well (inaudible)?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: The golf courses we play in Europe are becoming set up like U.S. Open courses, but in the past the European courses required a little bit more flair. You could be a bit wilder off the tee, hit high shots, low shots. The U.S. Open doesn't require any of that. It wants you to be down the middle every time, very patient, and to be honest European golf wasn't about being patient over the years. If you're playing a links golf course it's never the guy who hits it straight, it's the guy who's thinking well. Really it's just the opposite end of the scale. As I said, European golf courses are becoming much more about being patient, hitting it down the middle, trying to hit it in the middle of the greens. I think that was the difference over the years.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Obviously it doesn't require an answer.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: It's great that we play all sorts. We should never, ever play -- I said this to my playing partners on 17, I missed the green right and I had a real tight lie, and it's just so nice to see that sort of shot. The amount of times in the last seven years that I've hit a cutup shot off a tight lie, I'd say I wouldn't hit ten a year in tournament play or even five a year in tournament play. As an amateur I would hit five a day playing links courses trying to stop the ball quickly. If there was rough on the right on 17 it would have been a 20-foot chip rather than a 40-foot chip. I would have stopped it where Charles Howell's ball was and not much skill involved. Instead I've got a shot and I'm thinking I hope I don't chunk this or do this. It was nice to have variation, always variation. Long courses, short courses, we should never play the same all the time.
Q. What do you think of this golf course, the greens?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I still think it's the tee shot, get it in play and do okay because if you're in play off the tee you can hit greens.
End of FastScripts....