May 20, 2021
Kiawah Island, South Carolina, USA
The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island
Q. What were kind of the challenges today?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I thought it was a really good setup. It's a big, tough golf course, but they set it up very fairly today. They moved enough tees up and they had some reasonable generous pin positions, so overall it was a good test. Maybe like all majors, maybe I was a bit defensive with my own play at times, but didn't put myself under much stress.
The two bogeys I had, one was a three-putt that was uphill, which was pretty bad, and the other was off a good shot. I didn't have a stressful day, which is a good thing. Didn't have very many putts for par. Mostly it was pretty solid play.
I probably was a little tentative on the greens, as I said, and maybe a little defensive with my choice of shots, but I think that's always the case in a major.
Q. At a place like this the wind is going to blow. Is it hard not to be in that defensive kind of mindset?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Well, we know now at this stage that when you come to a big tough golf course that's set up very fairly, the ones that will really struggle is if you get an easy golf course and then you get thrown out there and it's all tricked up and the pin positions are nearly impossible, that's the one we don't like. I was expecting a nice test here today, and that's what we got.
Q. The fact that you were playing with a couple of European guys that you might be scouting, were you able to concentrate more on yourself?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I don't know, I think for me it was more the idea -- it was a bigger draw. I just liked the fact that -- that's kind of self-fulfilling. You play in the bigger draws, you tend to play better. It's an ego thing, and that's just the way it is, so I was happy that I was comfortable out there and played my golf.
As I keep saying to my team, anybody -- the best thing anyone on my team can do when it comes to this and the next two majors and the Olympics is go win one. It's not about -- they need to focus on the majors, the Olympics and the Ryder Cup will take care of itself when it comes to September. They don't need to worry about any -- that's my job, not their job.
Q. What if you win one?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I'd be very happy. I'm a bit long in the tooth now for -- Ryder Cup is a big -- five rounds of golf? No, I'm happy to be captain and let them hit the ball.
Q. Were you hungry to get your nose in there and play on the weekend?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Look, I'm here to play the actual event, but I will say I'm trying to take more time out in and around the event with my own preparation that when I -- I'm not organizing anything the week of a major. I wouldn't do that. But I am taking more time when I see players to sit down with them and chat and just be relaxed and comfortable. It's not formal at this stage. Those guys just need to play golf.
Q. How much do those old feelings kick? You're a three-time major champion.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You know, look, I like this golf course. Perfect conditions for me to compete in, so yeah, I've given myself the task this year just to try and concentrate on -- when it comes to me, this is kind of the last roll of the dice for these events, so I've given myself the chance to get myself mentally in place as I would have done back in my heyday and not worry so much about the physical side.
Yeah, I was happy I hit some good shots out there and felt good about it.
Q. Did you and Phil talk at all about that? You guys are both at a similar --
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: There was a lot of talking out there today, myself and Jason in particular. A bit of banter, that's for sure. A few wind-ups. Yeah.
Q. You know Shane quite well, and obviously he's never played on a Ryder Cup and he wants to earn his way on, but the fact that he's playing well now in big events and he's playing well today, does it matter? Do you have to play yourself into an automatic spot for your first Ryder Cup, or is he a guy that you --
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I think in general, rookies have to play their way into a spot. Nobody really refers to Shane as a rookie. He's a major winner, so that's a completely different scenario.
Again, that's what I'm saying, there's no rules to these things because you have to take these things into consideration, and the fact that he's a big-time player, he likes the big occasion -- even as a rookie he's not going to be star struck, is he.
Thankfully for me I've got half a dozen guys trying to impress me right now.
Q. The wind did not kill you guys this afternoon --
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, I think we got a good draw. It certainly dropped a little bit, and when it warmed up, it even got better. I had 195 into the pin on 18, and like yesterday we would have been trying to get a 4-iron there. Today we were hitting 6. I know it's slightly different, but just the warmth of the conditions and the tournament pressure, all that. I know I wasn't necessarily trying to get it all the way to the pin, but it just goes to show how it was a beast with the setup and everything, tees up -- the right tees up in places, 10 yards can make a big difference for us.
Q. What's the best shot you hit today?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: 7-iron on the green on 16, and I made bogey. (Laughter.)
I just hit the most beautiful draw up into the wind. I hit a pretty nice one into 17, as well. I drew it what we thought was into the left-to-right wind and the wind just straightened on us. That's the most pressure you're under all day, and the one at 16 was just such a nice shot.
Q. Was the one over the green -- it looked bad.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: No, it was fine. It was just I played the chip how I wanted it, it just got a soft bounce. A lot of times on these greens you can't -- you kind of have to just get them on to the green and let them get down there, and sometimes -- like 15 feet short is only a little bit of energy, and it would have got there.
Q. What was your club at 17?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: 4-iron.
Q. How disappointing is it not to get a birdie on 16 when the par-5s are what you really want to try to do out here?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: 16 is a tough par-5. Today it wasn't reachable or anything like that. You'd have to hit a good third shot to make birdie there.
Q. And you thought you did?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I thought I hit a great one, but I got out of position, and that's the problem with being out of position. If I was in position and I hit a good third shot -- 10, 15 feet, being in the bunker, it came out beautiful, the wind dropped down. These are the risks you have to take. Being out of position off the tee, I was in the bunker, then I hit it in the next bunker. Even though none of them were particularly bad, just being slightly out of position was what caused the problem.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports