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DUBAI DUTY FREE IRISH OPEN


July 7, 2019


Padraig Harrington


County Clare, Republic of Ireland

Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON: Putted better today than I did in the two middle rounds, so that was nice. Still my short game not very sharp. Not 100 per cent sure why that but certainly the shoring needs to be looked at. Played the last couple of holes poorly. I don't know if I got tired or whatever, but got a bit quick on a few shots.

Besides that, it was decent enough day. Some positives going forward.

Q. Starting with a 63, a lot of good in your game, course record, for two days, anyway. What do you take from that?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON: Another week next week. I'll just keep trying to do the same stuff I did this week. Hopefully it will gradually improve and keep improving, going the right direction. You know, no matter what, as I said, do it for the three weeks and see where I'm at after the three weeks.

Q. Lovely three in the first round, a flow you're capable of. Obviously it's been a truncated season and in two weeks is The Open in Portrush. That flow might be one of the more important things that you got for the week.
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON: I was happy with my putting this week. Seemed to strike a lot of putts on day two and day three that didn't go in. Running the ball at the hole, I think I'm a lot more comfortable on this pace of green, for sure. It's been a nice week for challenging the hole with all my putts. I feel good about that. So we'll just see if we can sharpen up the shoring over the next two weeks.

Q. After the 63, you were right in the thick of things. Did you have a chance to look up and look around and look at this Irish Open and judge it on the success it's been?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON: Not really, no. I know it's been a great success and the crowds have been fantastic. But when you start well, it's a lot of hard work after that. You put your head down and you keep working on it. So no, I did not. I did not take time to look up and smell the roses this week.

Q. What will you do now over the next week? Will you play some links golf anywhere or rest up for Portrush?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON: I'm entered in in The Scottish Open. I was always playing the three weeks. That's what I was saying at the start of the week, I'll play three tournaments in a row and see where my game is at. I have no reason to change that schedule.

Q. And to have the tournament back here again?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON: Paul has done a tremendous job. Yes, Lahinch has been a great host, I've got to say. The community and the golf course, everything about it, has been excellent. So yeah, I'm sure there's a lot of other courses in the rota now, but I'm sure the players would like to come back here.

Yeah, I wasn't really thinking like that, but yeah, we're in a good place. At least the golf courses are crying out to host The Irish Open around the country and we'll look forward to getting back here some did a I.

Q. Plenty of hope for the future in Irish golf?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, we're definitely lacking at moment on Tour. There's only sporadically three or four of us out there, five at most at times. We need a few young guys out there. When I started out, there was at least 14.

I know the strength has got much stronger in Europe and there's less places now; it's just being squeezed out. But it's time that we had a few of these guys come through. Cormac does look like a solid player. He's playing and doing well on The Challenge Tour and just getting his feet, feeling himself into this, and he does look like he has a bright future.

Robin, obviously, has just turned pro. He's obviously a very good player. He has to find himself, as well.

Weeks like this really do help in that sense. You know, if they both finish it off today, it would bring tremendous confidence that they can do it; that they can play out on Tour. You know, it's got nothing to do with physical ability. It's all to do with the belief whether they are good enough or not and that has to be deep down. That's not something you can tell somebody. They have to genuinely believe it deep down in themselves and weeks like this really help.

It was great to see Portmarnock back to its glory, if you know what I mean. It's amazing hosting an event, and Lahinch has seen that here this week.

It's quite a burden on its members to host an event and it's always seen like that, but they get so much out of it. You see here, Lahinch, the course is on the map. People around the world are looking at this as a fantastic place to come, the community, and in many ways, the Amateur was like that for Portmarnock. The course is back to its best condition it's been since they had an Irish Open. They need these events. Golf courses need these events to get themselves focused and get the courses up to the standards that they believe they should be at.

So actually, it's strange, as much as they can be a burden for member, they are actually a benefit. You know, if you really, truly love your golf course, you want to see it on the biggest stage. Lahinch have shown that this week and it's looked glorious on TV; Portmarnock at the Amateur and we've seen it around the country. We're in a nice place with golf courses. The Irish Open, I suppose it's moving around, and you know, there's many a great course in this country that can showcase itself. The extra effort and I suppose the extra spend in a big tournament year really does bring the golf courses up to their peak.

Q. Are you going to be the host next year?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON: I have seen the work that Paul McGinley has put into this week and it's definitely, in my Ryder Cup year, yes, the decisions about where it's going and sponsors and all sorts of things -- it's not something I would take on lightly. So there's been no decision made, that's for sure.

Yeah, this week would have scared the life out of me, put it like that.

Q. McGinley had doubts about the date being two weeks before The Open and not everybody coming to The Irish Open, and pushing it to September. Where would you be on that?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON: What's he saying?

Q. The date?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON: Doesn't think this was a good week this year?

Q. The date should be looked at, to have players to come here. He's talking about September, guys who don't want to play three times. Shane said it. Sticking it around the PGA Championship time in September and making it part of the world swing that it would be in?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON: Wow, I think this is the best date The Irish Open can date right, this year, you couldn't get better than this. You know, two weeks before The Open. You're going to get guys who want to play links golf, who don't want to play the week before The Open, this is perfect.

It's tough competing to get the players, that's it. Players don't play -- like players won't play in a week in September because they are going to play a week in December. It's actually not -- sometimes it doesn't come down to the actual tournament week. It comes down to, well, I'm going to be playing another six events for rest of the year and I want to take a week off.

This is great date for The Irish Open. Couldn't be -- the only way this would be better is if this was next week, and that's not a possibility. Now, I know things change and there's other considerations put into it, but for this given year, I don't think -- I think this field, it's got as strong a field as it's going to get. If you put it in September, you know, with the PGA, and this year, like right now, I don't see why guys would be attracted to come over, either.

The guys have so much choice. You know, they will come to Wentworth. I think everybody who's come here has really enjoyed it.

Q. Do you think it should remain a links swing? That The Irish Open to stay on a links?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON: Right at this moment, yes, absolutely, I think it would be two weeks before The Open and a links tournament. I know other things come into it at times, but right now, this is ideal. Like every date we put The Irish Open, people have come back and says, oh, well, I prefer this or I think that. It's not an easy thing to get a date.

Literally, there are so few and far between events to fill their tournaments with all the players without paying appearance fees. This tournament doesn't pay appearance fees and it gets a great -- it gets a remarkable field considering it's not.

Q. What has this week meant to you in terms of preparing for The Open at Portrush?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON: It's very important for me to be on the links course playing and just seeing the different shots and getting a feel. The grass is so different. Just trying to get used to it. I've played all my life and I still have to get used to it, coming back to this. You know, I'll be better next week because of this week and I'll be better the following week because of next week.

Obviously I have to manage not getting over-played and tired, which is another consideration, but certainly I'll be able to, I'll be best placed to read the lies and the conditions by the time I get to Portrush by playing two weeks, two tournaments.

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