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November 10, 2002

Padraig Harrington


GORDON SIMPSON: Padraig, here we are at the end of a long, hard season. You gave it your best shot, but just came up in second place. Give us your reflections on the week and season, please.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Well, obviously it's a disappointing week. That goes without saying. Retief played well today. It's better that way than anything. At least he put in a good score today.

What could I say? I had a reasonable year. Learned a lot. I think I've gained plenty of experience to get better for next year. So, really, I've got to finish it this year and look forward to next year.

GORDON SIMPSON: Do you feel that maybe there's just very little left in the tank this week? How would you analyse it?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: No, no. Absolutely not. You know, without a doubt, a situation like this, even if you were tired -- you couldn't blame tiredness, no. I haven't played that much this year. So, I'm not tired at all. Not for an important tournament like this. There's a certain amount of adrenaline going and that's the way it is.

Q. You mentioned you've learned a lot, could you give us one or two examples?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I'd like to keep those things to myself. (Laughing).

No, I have learned a lot. Gained a lot of experience during the year. Gained a lot of experience. More I would say this week and the last couple of weeks than probably throughout the year. Different sort of can experience in the last couple of weeks. Normally, I'd be gaining the experience of winning or losing, but the last few weeks it was a different sort of tournament I was playing and it was certainly interesting. Something I had never experienced before. It was, you know, obviously these things you kind of have to go through once or twice before you learn.

Q. If you had your way, would you do anything differently?


Q. Such as?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Well, that's experience, isn't it? (Laughter.)

Yeah, I would do things different, yeah, without a doubt, but as I said, I had never experienced this situation before in my life going into the last three weeks. So I had no way -- I don't have any regrets about the last three weeks. I would do things differently if I had it over again, yes, but I don't really regret because I didn't know any better and that's why I've got to -- that's why I think -- maybe it will help me win a major in the future.

Q. What specifically would you have done differently?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Just my focus, that would be it. Not about playing tournaments, no, not at all. Nothing to do with that. It would be just totally how I approach things. And that would be it.

It's always -- you know, you never find these things out until you get into a situation. As I said, you know, it's a totally different -- it was a totally different situation for three weeks. How would I put it -- there's so much focus, so much attention on every shot, everything you're doing. Yet there's not exactly -- it's not like you're in a tournament and you've got pressure and nerves and things like that to help your focus. It's a totally different sort of distraction. And it as I said, I probably have never experienced it before to that extent. So it was good.

Q. Did pressure play a part in your not playing to your usual standard this week?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Oh, without a doubt. It's a different sort of thing than maybe what would you call -- you know what, I even said to my wife, I said I wish -- and I was a little bit more today, I wish I was nervous on the first tee. I wasn't really -- I f wasn't that sort of pressure. But it was the pressure of the situation of the outside distractions that -- not necessarily on the golf course. It was how I applied myself to the task, preparation and things like that, just my general focus going into the tournaments each round, things like that. I was probably out of character for the last couple of weeks, and it was an interesting experience.

It's not something, as I said, you know, in a normal tournament, there's only pressure the last nine holes or the last six holes or whatever, and it comes and goes quickly. It's always different, but this is differently a totally new experience, because it meant a lot to me to win the Order of Merit, I can tell you that. It kind of came on my very quickly at the end of the year.

You can only look, it's amazing -- I can see it in other people. Like if you looked at the guys who were on the Ryder Cup team coming into the Ryder Cup, their form was so poor because there was so much attention focused and it distracted them from playing golf, and it's pretty similar to what happened to me the last three weeks, very similar I've got to say.

Q. Does it strengthen your resolve to win the Order of Merit next year?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: It strengthens my resolve to win the Order of Merit at some stage. I've really got to say that I'm still focused on other areas as priorities. If I was focused solely on the Order of Merit, I'd get myself nice and fit and go out and play 35 events next year or something.

I'm still trying to improve my game. I'm still trying to get better as a player. Hopefully in the situation presents itself, I'll know better going into the last couple of events.

You know, I'm not sort of saying to you that next year I'm going to come out if I don't win the Order of Merit, I'm certainly not going to set that goal on myself to start the year because somebody could come along and play great. You never know. I could play brilliant next year and somebody will play even better. You can't just say that I'm going to go out and do it next year.

Q. Can you try and be more specific about how you could prepare better in the last three tournaments given the chance over again?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I'm trying to be a bit more specific without exactly expanding too much. I don't like to give everything away. (Laughter.)

Just how you perceive things, how you look at things, it's distorted when there's that much attention and focus.

As I said, best example -- and it's funny, because all year I tried to tell some of my Ryder Cup colleagues, I said every time you're going out on the golf course, you're going out there and you're trying to prove that you're good enough to win the Ryder Cup, you're actually not going out there and playing in the Benson and Hedges tournament or something like that.

That's very much what I was doing this week. I wasn't playing the Volvo Masters; I was trying to win the Order of Merit, which is silly. That's not what you should be doing. You get ahead of yourself and you get away from what you're normally doing. I wasn't myself for the last three weeks, and as I say, it's nothing like the actual experience of a happening can teach you that lesson.

It's a very, very -- I'm optimistic for the future, I would say. It was a good experience. I'm disappointed to have lost, but, you know, I'm sure it's happened to many players, but only one guy can win each year.

Q. Have you congratulated Retief?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Haven't seen him yet. I will, of course. As I say, I'm delighted he shot a good score and went and won it for himself, which is great. You know, he played good golf all year, both sides of the sea. So what can I say, he deserves it.

Q. Are you blasted at how you played the previous two weeks?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: If you want to go back into things like that, which is silly because you can't recount a number of times I'm sure that you made mistakes. At the U.S. Open this year, I finished pretty much close to darkness and if I had looked at the leaderboard I would have realised a chip and a putt would have put me in 4th place, where I would have been tied for 4th with a chip and two putts. I took two chips and two putts. I was aggressive with the first shot whereas, you know, that was $60,000 $70,000. There you go, just like that.

I could go back every week of the year, I could go back and give you part of the one week I won -- I could give you a sob story every other day of the year. It doesn't work like that. You kind of have to -- everybody is the same. I was told that when I came out on tour, you never look at what you lost on a Sunday. If every time you play a tournament and you finish up and start counting up what one shot would have made you better, you will go barmy on this tour. If I go back every time and say, well, if I was one shot better there, if I did this or I did that, sure, that's fine, It might be true, but it's not going to help you play any better. Actually, it will probably help me play worse.

Q. You're not barmy, are you?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Now, isn't that debatable? (Laughter.) You have to be a little bit to be out here, yes.

As I say, it's the way -- I definitely do not have any regrets whatsoever about the whole year, anything I did. I had a good, solid year. My game has improved. I'm going where I want to go with the game as long as I can keep going, that's fine. If I stop now, it's not up to much good if I can keep going, I'll be very happy.

Q. You're coming around with that last statement to a positive frame of mind; you're pretty beat up obviously today, the way you look at the World Rankings, the money you've got in the tank this year, the Ryder Cup, surely a couple of weeks down the line you're going to have a lot to celebrate.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: What gives me the encouragement is the fact that, you know, I've done nicely. I finished second in the Order of Merit. I've played nicely during the year. There's nothing you couldn't physically -- there's no part of my game that I physically cannot improve. Now, whether I can do it or whether it actually works or not -- whether I can get better which is great. I'm here at this stage and yet I can improve leaps and bounds in all areas of my game.

I'm by no means static and I'm already doing nicely.

Q. Your scheduling for next year, will it be similar to this year?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Very early to be setting schedules. Schedule isn't even out. (Laughter.)

I would suggest it would be -- I would play very much more or less most of the same tournaments I played this year in Europe. There's one or two changes, the dates, things like the Irish Open and things like that. It may mean that I lose a tournament here or there.

Like there's a tournament I missed the cut in earlier this year which is a strange tournament that I probably won't play in next year. There's only one I missed during the year. That would be the only one I would say of all the tournaments I've played this year, I'm very happy with the courses I played. I'm sure all of them suit me except for that one course, which there's probably two courses that don't suit me. There's no point in going and playing golf courses that you struggle to make the cut on or that you struggle. It's tough enough game without going to a golf course that doesn't suit you.

So schedule will be more or less -- I think it was a pretty good schedule. As I say, I'm fit and strong. I got injured in the middle of the year that really set me back that. Set me back a lot. When I got injured at the Dutch, I hurt my ankle and hurt my neck. I was very happy with how I was swinging the club. Probably was close to hitting it as well as I could at the time.

So that was a bit of a setback and it did not -- I'm having a sob story again. (Laughing). That's certainly four weeks of my season that was knocked out. There was a good four, five tournaments there where I'm trying to -- where I was injured and then trying to get my swing back together. I probably actually haven't even come close to swinging anywhere near as well as I was swinging at the Dutch for the last six months. I've struggled with my swing since the Dutch. I struggled with it on the golf course. My performance, I was playing -- hitting well -- maybe my expectations are a bit high. But certainly the last couple of months, I haven't played as well as I possibly would have played earlier in the season.

Q. Just wanted to say, thank you for your cooperation.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Can I say thank you for your support during the season. (Laughter.) I need you as much as you need me. (Laughter.)

End of FastScripts....

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