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October 4, 2002

Padraig Harrington


GORDON SIMPSON: Okay. I think we'll just start. Padraig, well played again, two rounds now of 66. And I suspect you would fancy two more and that would do quite nicely, wouldn't it?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yes, if somebody would give it to me I would take it all right. But I know the reality that that's not going to happen. And I have to, it's half the battle to have 36 holes in and probably we have more than half the battle to go. About, but that's nice, I'm there. And it's always good to be in that position. It's better being where I am than trying to shoot two good scores on the weekend to get into contention.

GORDON SIMPSON: You seem to come good in the autumn. Based on last year at Valderama and in Spain there.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Every year I have always played better at the start of the year and at the end of the year. I'm much more focused at those two periods of the year. At the start of the year you're trying to get off to a good start, and at the end of the year you can see your goals and you're trying to make the last effort to get across the finishing line for a number of things. So in the middle of the year you lose a little bit of focus, you drift away from a few things. But certainly -- it's nearly a sprint to the end of the year now at this stage. I'm only playing three more European Tour events. And I haven't had a win yet. Not much time left.

GORDON SIMPSON: This one would certainly help if you had one eye on the Order of Merit, that's for sure.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Well, yes. I knew that if I was to compete for the Order of Merit I had to win an event or two. Well I started thinking the last two weeks either the PGA, the NEC event or here. And now that I'm here I'm only trying to win this. I'm not trying to win the Order of Merit this week I'm trying to win the Dunhill Links Championship this week. Nothing else. And it helps to have that added bonus and that puts me in the fight.

Q. You got two rounds left at St. Andrews, how has this place treated you in the past?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I didn't have any practice rounds here this week, so I'll be going out new tomorrow, fresh. And I love the golf course. Besides, I played it, besides the Dunhill last year, I played the St. Andrews Trophy when I was an amateur. They're the only times I ever played stroke play on the course. So I'm not really too sure how I would score. I do know I like the golf course. I think that The Open was here. Yeah, The Open. The Open. Yeah. I remember that. What did I shoot in The Open here, I can't remember.

Q. (Inaudible.)

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: No. No. I do like the golf course. I got to say. It's nice to be back playing links golf, really. That's the main thing. It's so varied. And when you're playing at St. Andrews it's that sort of test that you can do a lot of things good and bad out there. Which leaves a little bit to the unknown.

Q. Do you have to adjust your game to play here, links golf?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: It's about playing links golf, you do have to adjust, but you -- yes, I'm suited to it. So I don't have to adjust that much. As in I know what I need to do to hit the shots, let's say. So I don't have to start practicing coming into this. But obviously you hit different shots on a links golf course. But it becomes pretty natural to me to play most of the shots you have to play on a links course.

Q. Sam Torrance has said he doesn't want to be captain next time. Could you give me your reaction to that?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I think that that's what he kind of told us at the end of the week. So this has come as no surprise to us. Sam has given so much over three years. And it is three years. And he put a lot into it. It took a huge amount from his own golf, just from a personal point for him he couldn't give that much again. So he's made the right decision for himself. Obviously the players would have loved to have him as captain, but it's only a friendly match. Give somebody else a try.


Q. You talk about the fact you haven't won for nearly 12 months. Is there a sense of urgency about winning?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Not really. No. I think that somebody said to me it would be nice to win, but it doesn't bother me too much when I win tournaments. If I'm going to win tournaments I wouldn't mind that they're all back to back. So, no, I'm not rushing to win a tournament to prove anything in the next couple of weeks. Basically I'm happy that my game has improved and I'm working on the principle that the wins will come eventually. Don't press it.

Q. You weren't happy with your swing at the start of the week. Are you happier now?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I'm happier, but I'm not -- I wouldn't say I'm anywhere near on top form with how I'm swinging the golf club. But I've got a good mental attitude and I've worked my way around the golf course. I actually, what I've actually done over the two days is I've hit the important shots well. Every time I've had a shot that I had to hit well, I've hit it well. And that's really why I've shot 12-under par. And like I hit, I had four eagle putts today, let's say. So every time I got in one of those, they're all just about reachable par-5s. I hit the fairway and I hit a nice shot onto the green. So I'm hitting all the shots I need to hit well. I certainly have hit some bad shots elsewhere, but because of the nature of links golf you can get away with that. And it's probably just a focus thing, actually. That seems to be the thing with me. That maybe it's a little bit more focus than anything else. Because when I've had to hit the shots, I've hit them well.

Q. Monty said that Kingsbarns is the make or break course of the three. Would you agree with that?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I suppose my indifference says no. I, after three rounds or after four rounds it's whoever has the lowest score. Kingsbarns it certainly gives up an option of shooting good scores. They haven't really, you know, the course isn't tricked up, the wind wasn't too bad today. The pin positions are reasonably the same as they were last year. So it's a course you actually, once you played it last year, you would, it's not like -- you don't have to know it that well. So I think, no, getting all the golf courses in the same conditions as in, you know, you don't want to play Carnoustie on a bad day. I believe St. Andrews is actually one of the toughest when it comes to the rough this year and some tough pin position. So I'm trying to do my best on each one of them. I'm not trying to get out there and play better on any one golf course compared to another. They're all, save a shot here or there, and it makes all the same at the end. It's no difference.

Q. Have you had an albatross?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Never in my life have I had a albatross. So obviously a player to have an albatross must be very lucky, Monty.

(Laughter.) He obviously solved his putting problems.

GORDON SIMPSON: I can't wait until he sees that transcript. Anyone else?

Q. (Inaudible.)

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I've got to tell you, you could learn a lot from watching J.P. (McManus) and Dermot (Desmond) play. Like they never hit a shot unless they're trying to. And they're exceptionally focused. And they very rarely -- like whenever they had the opportunity to improve the score, they take it. Which is very impressive, their focus and their concentration, the competitiveness. In fact I would suggest that J.P. (McManus) and Dermot (Desmond) wouldn't have finished -- no, I mean they didn't, they weren't out of the holes, but they didn't finish six holes each. I mean they picked up because they knew they weren't going to improve the team. But when they were trying to finish out the holes, they didn't waste their energy, let's say, just trying to make a bogey at a hole. They made the pars when they needed to make it. And that was it. Which is, it was very impressive. Every time he had to hole a putt today, I think he improved, he improved my score four times each day. And really they were the only opportunities they had to do it and he took them.

Q. (Inaudible.)

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: He's keen. I've got to say that. He's enjoying it. And he's also, he has got that little bit of nervousness in him. He's up for it. Which is nice. He wants to do well.

Q. Is there something technical you're trying to correct?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, I had desperate problems since I had my injury.

Q. (Inaudible.)

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I've been trying to get my swing back to where it was. Basically it is, my takeaway got a bit messed up. I can't go out and work on it in the wind. So I've got to work on it mentally and believe that it's okay. I struggled to get it right for the last six weeks. But it must be good. I hit plenty of good shots. So on some of the shots it's good, anyway.

GORDON SIMPSON: Padraig, you managed to clear the room, I see.


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