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December 5, 2000

Padraig Harrington

Paul McGinley


GORDON SIMPSON: Welcome, Padraig; welcome, Paul. Obviously, you've been in this situation before. You won the World Cup of Golf in 1997 at Kiawah Island. Can you tell us what you think of the new format this year? Padraig first, if you want to lead off.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Well, obviously, it is quite a different format. I don't -- we're not quite sure if it makes it -- it is easier or tougher. Obviously, there is more of a team element, it is. Before, you played your own ball, and it was an aggregate score at the end. The foursomes is probably going to be the key to the week. Two days of foursomes; very difficult play. I think the course is -- there is going to be decent scoring on the course; so you want to keep that open to foursomes play.

PAUL MCGINLEY: I agree. It's going to be quite different, obviously. But I think it is a good change. I'm looking forward to playing, particularly, foursomes together. It's a nice change. I think the other format was a bit too long, a bit too tedious, a bit too -- you know, we were out on the golf course for six hours four days in a row, normally in quite a lot of heat. This will be a more fun. You know, it's good practice, too, for Ryder Cup, for both -- for all kinds of teams, American teams and European teams and all kinds of other competitions.

GORDON SIMPSON: Where does this experience rate in your careers, both of you, winning at Kiawah Island three years ago?

PAUL MCGINLEY: It was the highlight for me, anyway.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, certainly the highlight for me. You know, I've had good moments in golf, but when I look back over the years, the one I remember the most is definitely Kiawah Island. It was a great week for us. We enjoyed the week. We had a great time, and it certainly the stronger -- strongest memories I have of golf is from that.

Q. How much better players do you each consider yourselves from then?

PAUL MCGINLEY: I'd like to think I'm a lot better. Three years ago, definitely, my World Ranking has improved quite significantly since then. I've played -- consistency, I haven't played -- I haven't had weeks where I've played exceptionally well. But I've had a lot of weeks where I've played a lot more solid in the last three -- two, whatever is it, three years since we won than I did the previous three years. I definitely have, but I think Padraig has made bigger steps than I have in the last three years.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Three years, I'm obviously a very different player to what I was three years ago. Gee, I'm even probably two stone lighter, as well. So, yeah, I think I've certainly improved a lot of aspects of my game that I've set out to improve. I probably have improved overall. But I'd say certain elements have disimproved maybe since three years ago. But as in overall, I've definitely improved quite a bit.

Q. Do you remember what World Rankings you were?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I think I -- at the time, I would have been just inside the Top 100.

PAUL MCGINLEY: I'd be the same.

Q. Americans apart, who do you see as being the pre-tournament favorites?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I don't think you look much past Argentina after America. So, it's pretty straightforward in that those two teams are up there. You know, obviously there's plenty of other teams well capable of putting a surprise in or just putting in two good performances. With the nature of the event, it means two players have to play well. So it does give the opportunity for not necessarily outside teams, but some of the teams that are more, you know, of some accomplished players, but who you might not be thinking of necessarily of having a great chance of doing well, because it is two guys. It is twice as tough as a normal week.

Q. Your take on the course?

PAUL MCGINLEY: I think the golf course is -- like Padraig said earlier, it is going to yield a lot of birdies. The scoring will be quite low. But there is a lot of water, and you can get into trouble very easily on it. The greens are excellent. The course is in excellent condition. But I think I'd be surprised if the scoring is not low, from all teams, not just, obviously, the winners.

GORDON SIMPSON: Padraig, your verdict?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I think I agree with Paul. It's a very exciting golf course for this format. You can reach some of the par 5's, but there is a lot of water on the course. You'll see, you know, certainly bogeys and double-bogeys; but you'll also see some eagles; or as Paul had, an albatross today in the practice round. So the scoring, there's going to be variation in the scoring, which makes for very exciting play.

GORDON SIMPSON: Paul, can you tell us about that? That's quite interesting. What was that?



PAUL MCGINLEY: I hit a drive and I had 210 yards to the front, and the pin was on 20; so on a 230-pin, I hit a 3-iron.

GORDON SIMPSON: Have you ever had one before, an albatross (a double eagle)?

PAUL MCGINLEY: No, my first albatross, my first one. And people up on the hill who were watching started clapping and going mad. It rolled in the hole; it didn't fly in the hole. Rolled into the hole, 10, 15 yards into the hole.

Q. Wasn't this the wrong day?

PAUL MCGINLEY: Yeah. So was his.

Q. What would you say to anyone tempted to think that Woods and Duval only have to show up?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: We can't control how they play, so it's irrelevant to us. We just go out, play our own game, and see what happens on Sunday afternoon. Certainly, you know, as I say, they are certainly that much favorites. It looks like they only have to show up, but I suppose they have to do it, too.

Q. (Inaudible.)

PAUL MCGINLEY: No, it's a difficult situation that they are in, because -- it's a bit like a goalkeeper in soccer. We've played soccer here, a goalkeeper in soccer on a penalty shoot. You know, they can't lose, because if they save a penalty, they are a hero. It's a bit like America this week; they can only lose, because if they win, everybody expects them to win. If they don't win, people say: "Well, why don't they win?" It's a difficult situation for them to be in.

Q. Can you please describe which is your stronger part of your game?

PAUL MCGINLEY: That's a difficult one to answer. My strongest point -- I tend to work on my weakest points more, so I'll go the opposite. Probably -- well, that's a hard question to answer. Maybe we can answer each other's ones. (Laughs).

GORDON SIMPSON: You can dissect Paul's.

PAUL MCGINLEY: His strongest points --


PAUL MCGINLEY: To me, would be a couple of things: His course management and his short game are his two strongest assets.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Paul's strongest points would seem to be his -- would seem to be his accurate driving and accurate iron play. Basically, tee-to-green he is very solid. That's definitely what his game is based on.

Q. Why did you mention the Argentine team as one of the possible winners?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Well, obviously, they are so high up in the World Rankings. They are playing at home. They are in familiar conditions, and they both have very good seasons on the European Tour this year. So they should both be in good form. And obviously, having the home advantage, they have the adrenaline to be a little bit pumped for the week. And they certainly have the home support. I can't see why -- they are certainly number two favorites here.

Q. Do you think that naming Argentina the second favorite is a good way of taking pressure off of you?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: It would certainly -- that's the natural thing to do.

PAUL MCGINLEY: We're not playing games up here. If you add up the World Rankings of all the players and divide it by two, you come out with a number. So obviously, Woods is No. 1, Duval is No. 2 -- or is he 3 in the world? And if you did that by all the teams, you could come up with Argentina being second, because both of their World Rankings are very high. And they are both good players. We know them very well. World Rankings don't lie.

GORDON SIMPSON: Padraig, I thought you were the mathematician, but yourselves, where do you come in the ranking when you divide by two?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I'm not sure. I haven't worked it out. As I said, all the teams are going to go out there and play their own game of golf. They are not going to be listening to what anybody else is saying, or who predicts them to be favorite or not to be favorite. So there isn't any psychological games being played. It's just a question of whoever plays the best during the week is going to come out as the winner.

Q. Yesterday at the range you were practicing 80- and 90-yard shots, you even sent your caddie to look at the balls. Do you think those shots are going to be the key to scoring on this course?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yes, as I said earlier if the scoring is going to be good on the golf course, if you can drive the ball well, you're going to leave yourself with a lot of shots with your sand wedge. So your pitching is probably -- it is crucial. Especially on the four-balls, because, you know, a lot of the holes in the four-balls you're going to be a little bit more aggressive off the tee. You're a little bit more likely to be left with shots left around 100 yards. And obviously, one of the two of you needs to be getting up-and-down to make those birdies. So, they are crucial on this golf course.

Q. Are the speed of the greens what you expected and how do you find the bunkers?

PAUL MCGINLEY: I think the speed of the greens is excellent. Because there's so many undulations and slope on the greens, they can't make them too quick. They are just a good pace now because of the slopes, because the slopes make them extremely quick.

Q. And the bunkers?

PAUL MCGINLEY: I think there's too much sand in the bunkers. It is more sand than what we are used to. There will be a lot of balls plugging this week in bunkers.

GORDON SIMPSON: Well, Padraig and Paul, thank you very much, and good luck this week.


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