home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


March 28, 2003

Padraig Harrington


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: I'd like to welcome second round leader Padraig Harrington. A lot of players still on the golf course with you currently at nine under par. You played 26 holes and it was a very successful day for you.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, very happy. Good position to be in, really can't be any better. It was a tough day actually. I only realized - I stayed focused all the way through and it's just when I finished how much it was taking out of me. It was a long, hard day.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: You won the unofficial Target Challenge last year and had four Top10s on the PGA TOUR. Talk about your comfort level of playing over in the United States.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Well, I've been coming over now about five years, and every year I've gained a little bit. Last year certainly there was a breakthrough last year. I certainly felt a lot more comfortable over here. I'm a little bit more prepared when I do come over here. I certainly like playing over here. I'm very happy with the forum and I like the golf courses. It's good for me here.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: We'll take some questions.

Q. Padraig, traditionally you have a bad start to the season. This year you got beyond the first round of the Accenture for the first time and now you play well here.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Traditionally I take a wiser warmup. During the winter I take a long winter break and I tend to change things in my golf swing. I've overdone some things and changed some things so when I come out I'm very rusty. It takes a while before I start to know which ones I should be working on at the tournaments and which I shouldn't be overdiagnose doing and sort of getting them all together if you know what I mean. It does take me a good while. I've got to say today I was a little bit erratic and I attribute it to some of the things I've been working on. It's hard to bring it on the golf course from the range. It's been a lot better on the range. That takes time to get comfortable, and it has in the past and this year is no different. I've started this year very similar to how I've started every other year. It just takes a while.

Q. The fact that you're playing as well as you are doing now, do you see that as a good sign for the rest of the year?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You know, after the early results of the year I sat down and had a look at some of my notes from previous years and how I felt I was doing at the same times and I compared things and results were pretty similar, but I've got to say I'm quite a bit ahead of other years as regards -- in all aspects of my game. I certainly feel like I've done some good work on my swing during the winter and I've done a good bit of work on my short game and my putting. Everything seemed to have stepped up a little bit from previous years. Results and better scores on the golf course or better results, I don't know. I'm not in a better position. I have to go back to five years ago, my first tournament -- not my first tournament -- first tournament of the year four years ago, first tournament with my caddie. I made the cut. It was in Australia and I played really, really poorly striking the ball-wise, and my caddie seemingly turned to the other caddies at the end of the week and says I won't be first to go, I think the coach will be gone before me, and if anybody knows me they'll know how much I work with my coach and how badly wrong he got it. I've always been that way at the start of the year. I basically overdo things a little bit in the winter. I go work on something and exaggerate it maybe a bit too far. I try and rush it to be honest. Some of these changes take six months and I try and do them in four weeks.

Q. Why do you feel you need to change? You're playing quite well.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I always try to improve and change. I've got to work on it to be honest. If you try and stand still you go backwards. Everybody is improving out here so you've got to make the effort to improve. I'm very motivated to get better. That's the one good thing I have going for me, I have pretty good ideas on how to get better, it's just a question of finding the time basically, not trying to rush it too much and keep improving gradually.

Q. You mentioned that you went and looked back at some of your notes from early in the year from other starts. Do you keep a journal or is this just your accountant's habits of comparing numbers or what are we talking about?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I just keep some notes in a diary basically of what's happening. Basically it's more swing technique, you know, I might write down at the end of the week if I was hitting a certain shot, this is what I was doing wrong, so if I have to work it out on my own at another tournament I have something there to give me a few ideas of what to work on. You can basically compare what you felt was good or bad about tournaments in the past. At the end of the week it's probably a good time to reflect on what you've done during the week. If I write it down once it's easy to look back at it and see -- it's amazing how similar some of the events are every time. At certain golf courses I just don't hole putts or struggle with putts or struggle with this or that, so sometimes the place, the course or whatever does affect how you play or the time of the year.

Q. Two-part question in the memory of Ed Dubro (phonetic). One, did beating Tiger in his own tournament last December in the Target, did that give you added confidence? And two, I think they said on television that Joey, your cousin, sent you a telegram or a note of good luck?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I think he made that up.

Q. Did they really?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: He asked me was I contacted -- in contact with his father and his uncle, so kind of, but not directly with Joey. He kind of got two and two and got five. I was laughing at that.

Q. The other part about playing against Tiger and beating him in his own tournament?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Playing against Tiger, the thing I got confidence out of that, it was great that Tiger was there, but as I've always said, I'm just as intimidated been an Ernie Els, a Phil Mickelson, Davis Love who's in second place. These are all guys when I was an amateur who were big stars. Just as much as Tiger these guys are up there for me. Playing against Tiger is just the same as other guys nearly. If you feel like you're the underdog it doesn't matter who you're coming up against, it's the same feeling. The comfort I got from that event was just winning. It was nice that Tiger was there. It added to the media coverage and sort of maybe a little bit afterward, the congratulations and the winning, but the confidence I took from it was that I went out there and did my thing and won. That was it. You know, in the states, which is always a little bit different from home, it was new ground for me, and it was nice to do.

Q. The line that your caddie got off in Australia, what was your reaction to hearing it?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: He only told me afterwards, he didn't tell me at the time, but obviously it's amazing, if you take very short-term results you can get anything wrong, and that's kind of what he's saying is if you look at the work I've done with my coach, it's easy to see that he's the one that's staying without a doubt.

Q. I don't mean to make you go over old ground and I apologize for that but there's a lot of us who don't know the full story about your relationship to Joey Harrington, the quarterback.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: He's a second cousin of mine.

Q. When did you find out that your second American cousin was a famous football player?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I found out I'd say about four years ago that I had a second cousin who was a promising footballer. We haven't met, which is very strange because he followed me for three and a half rounds at the Masters last year, and we were due to -- he walked every round with my wife and with the people who were following me and we were due to meet on a Saturday evening, and I double-chipped and two putted the last for a double bogey, so he was very wise to depart. He is as smart as they say he is (laughter).

Q. Second cousin, that means your parents are first cousins?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Grandparents were brother and sister, I think, grandparents. I think it's my grandfather's sister is his Grandmother, I think. Is that right?

Q. Couldn't be. Wouldn't have the same name if it was.


Q. How much trouble did your ankle give you today -- sorry, your hip?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I don't know. I just couldn't keep my balance, that's it. With the longer clubs, the driver, the 3-wood I was struggling, I just really struggled to keep my balance. I just didn't seem to be able to -- the left side didn't seem to be doing its job. I'm in a bit of trouble with my, to use a technical term, TFL, which is my left hip, something up there on any left side. That's what the chiropractor told me. I'm assuming that -- it might be coming from the old ankle injury, which I'm getting treated, as well, so I don't know. I wasn't keeping my balance and I'm blaming something else and not me.

Q. You spoke this morning when I finished your first round about how the conditions changed, the greens were a lot slower. Can you talk a little bit about how that changed throughout the course of the final 18 holes?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: They definitely firmed up again this evening. This morning for those eight holes, most putts you stood over you were thinking, yeah, I can really look like -- you felt confident about the fact that the greens were pure and you didn't feel like giving it a go, could run it three, four feet by. I have to say this afternoon like yesterday afternoon they're starting to get a little bit dried out and you have to be weary if it's a downhill putt. I certainly knocked a couple of putts four feet by. You've got to watch being overaggressive, let's say.

Q. What do your journal entries say about your last couple of trips through Augusta?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: That's the thing, I never tell anybody what I'm sort of putting in there or judging, but certainly I'm preparing for it a little bit more this year, which is a good sign. In other years -- the first year I flew it on Monday, and last year I played BellSouth beforehand, this year I'm playing two events beforehand. It's just to see which suits basically. It'll take time before you find out what's the best way of preparing for any event. In two tournaments as a lead into a major could be good. Last year I only had one, but we'll wait and see.

Q. You started on what hole this morning, 12 or 13?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I was on the 11th green this morning.

Q. You've surely played 26, 27 holes a day. Why was this one so long and hard?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Because I had to work harder.

Q. (Inaudible)

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Because I was a bit wayward off the tee. There wasn't very much simplicity in that round of golf. I didn't really knock it down the fairway, hit it to 15 feet and two putt. When you're wondering and you have to get up and down and you have to think a lot harder, it is mentally much tougher to do that. It is a lot easier to hit all the fairways and all the greens, but I wasn't doing that.

Q. Are you surprised to be where you are?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You can't be surprised. You've got to go out there and whatever happens -- I could go out there and play better and do worse score-wise. On those days you don't want to get -- we were told not to get upset about it so I'm not going to feel surprised about maybe scoring a little bit better than I played.

Q. Given how you went wayward, as you say, are you surprised?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: No. I'm never surprised what golf shows up. Often you just go about it and you play and sometimes you don't. You can never sort of -- the result very rarely matches up with how you play. I'm not surprised, no. This would happen dozens of times in the year that guys would score a little bit better than they play.

Q. Do you feel you work as hard as you do because you need to or you're driven to be as good as you can possibly be?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I feel a need to without a doubt. Obviously I want to be as good as I can be, but I certainly feel like I need to do it. As I said before, I definitely know things to work on, so it's not like I haven't got -- when you've got things to work on it's good motivation to get out there and do it. It's not a burden on me, let's say.

Q. How important has your work with Bob Rotella been to your performance?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I get to work with Bob at the four majors every year and maybe one or two other American events or three majors, maybe the Open, as well, at times. It's very important to me, full top. Even if he's not there, I try and work on his principles and work on what he says in his books. It's sometimes not easy. When he's here it's a nice reminder about what you're doing, and undoubtedly he has a very positive effect on my play when he's around, a very positive effect. Yeah, what can I say? I can't overemphasize how important it is, yeah, without a doubt.

Q. How much time did you spend with him this week?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Three hours, three hours just chatting. It stops me from beating golf balls. That's the truth. It was like all that we were short was sitting down and having a cup of coffee. It was just three hours chatting away, very easy, just relaxing couple of chats, one hour each day. It has a positive effect.

Q. While Tiger Woods was out for two months recovering from knee surgery we were all under the impression that maybe the gap was closing between everybody else and him. Now he's come back and won by 11 this week. Do you think the gap is bigger, smaller, the same and where do you think you fit in that picture?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Obviously that question has been asked to me before this week and I really have to give the same answer. I'm more concerned about what I am doing and getting my own game in shape that I haven't had a moment's time to sit back and think about somebody else's game. You can only look at a gap when you feel like you've got -- if I feel like I'm playing my very best golf then I might start to look at a gap between me and any player, but there's no point in trying to -- I don't really care if there's a gap between Tiger and the world No. 2. It doesn't really bother me. It's where I'm at and how I'm doing, and eventually if I improve or get to a level where I feel like I can't improve anymore, maybe I'll start worrying about the gap.

Q. Did you say that you were sort of a late-bloomer? You came along after some of the other big names had played amateur golf there and sort of had to get into the mix a little late?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I don't know if I was a late-bloomer. I think what I said was I was no -- how would I describe this -- I was no boy star. I wasn't the one you would have picked out of the bunch and said he's going to be the successful professional. Even when he turned -- I went to college, I studied accountancy. When I went to college I wasn't going to turn pro. I was going to get a degree to work in the golf industry. I had no intention of turning pro at 18 years of age. It was only when I was 21 years of age and guys were turning pro who I was beating and they were doing okay, so I said, well, I'll give it a go. I was hoping to become a journeyman professional. That was my aspirations when I turned pro. Whether it was my immediate aspirations if I turned pro to get my card and keep my card, and I might after two years learn from what I've seen to figure out how to improve. That's actually what happened, after two years I stepped back and did change a lot of things in order to improve, but when I originally started off I came in a lot higher up than I thought I would. I finished 11th my first year on Tour. I would have taken your hand off to be 100 in the order. It's like the kind of score today. You have to go with the flow when it happens. You have to say that's great, it's much better when I expected. It's one of the reasons why I don't tell people my goals. It's one of the difficult things. If you think you've overachieved the following year you'll probably go back to what you thought you should have done.

Q. Stateside last ten months we've been writing a lot of stuff about Martha Burke and Augusta National and Hootie Johnson and women in the club. As a player based in Europe how aware are you of that and do you have an opinion on that issue?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I am aware of it because we have a similar situation coming up in Ireland. We have the Irish Open is on a golf course that doesn't have lady members. I'll be the first one to say that ladies can -- gone are the days that ladies would play slower or anything like that on the golf course. Most ladies would play quicker than me. There's no issue like that. I think every new golf club in Ireland has full membership for ladies or men. The interesting point is I do think that all clubs should decide their own future. That's the idea of a club. I personally am a member of a golf club that I can never become a full member, so I have no problem with that. I can never become a committee member, a voting member or anything like that in the golf club where I'm a member. I realized that when I joined the club and I'm very happy with that situation. You know, that's the way of life. All clubs set their own agenda, articles, association. It's one of those things I suppose you have to -- it's great if -- if in time it would happen that everybody can play on the same course or whatever, but you have to have an articles of association that decides what the members want.

Q. What club is that? Why can't you be a member?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: The club I'm a member at is a course called Stackstown Golf Club. It was built for the guards because the guards were discriminated against and struggled to get in, the guards being the police force in Ireland, struggled to get in so they built their own golf course. Of course they don't allow civilians to become full members.

Q. Why are you a member there?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: My father was a policeman. There's many ways in life that we're all very happy. We all live by certain rules and in general we're quite happy to work by them.

Q. Along the same lines as Brian's question, what's your expectation about what it's going to be like at Augusta? Are you expecting a lot of distraction and whatnot? How do you feel like you'll handle it?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I know we get asked these questions, but the reality of it is that we're professional golfers, we're not politicians. Our opinions are not going to be as round as a politician's, let's say. They really shouldn't count any more than the next person's even though we do get asked for opinions in these matters. I think you will find that every professional golfer shows up to play a tournament is going to play golf and solely be interested in what they're doing. It would be foolish for a player to be distracted by anything else going on. To be honest, we're sportsmen out there doing a job. This is something political. I vote in the elections and if I'm not happy with the politicians who have been elected, I vote them out. It's not really for the golfers to sort out, the players. It's a bigger political issue than any professional golfer can deal with to be honest.

Q. You had said last year that when you were world 14 or 15 you wondered if you belonged there and when you got to 7 you reached a point where you said yes, I do belong. Are you at a stage now at 10 or 11 or wherever you are now, you feel like you should be much higher?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I don't feel like I should be higher by right. Like I don't sort of think that yeah, I should be better or I shouldn't be. I know I can improve from there. I think that's what I was saying last year. When I came in at 14 at the start of the year I was thinking to myself I've done well to get here or whether I will hang on to this. Later on in the year I felt like yes, I was good enough and I felt like I can improve. Again, I'm in a situation that I don't deserve to be any better than 10 as we stand today, but I certainly feel that I can improve my game to be better.

Q. Considering who's up there now being Tiger, Ernie, Phil, how high do you think you can go?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: That's what I'm saying about -- I'm not looking at anybody else. I don't look at No. 9 and say, oh, I can skip that one or I can get past him or I can catch 3 or 2. I know Tiger is way out there, but I'm really more concerned about how far I can go, how much I can improve my game. You've got to be really selfish about this and really focused on what you're doing. I do feel I can improve as a player and that gives me tremendous comfort that I'm 10 in the world and I feel I can get better.

Q. I didn't mean that as a gap question. Are you saying you're not results oriented at all.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, I'm not. I'm not at all, nor would I think -- would I rather be a good 10 or a bad 7? I'd probably rather be a good 10. If I'm in 10th position thinking I can get better than to be in 7th position thinking I can only go one way -- I feel like that improving my game and if I improve there's only one way to go for improving and that's up those rankings. How far I go I don't know. I think I got to 6 last year. I think there's reasonable bunching up, and then you have to take bigger steps when you get to the top 5 and upwards you have to start performing day in and day out.


End of FastScripts....

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297