May 21, 2021
Kiawah Island, South Carolina, USA
The Ocean Course at Kiawah
THE MODERATOR: We're happy to have Padraig Harrington with us. Padraig posted a second-round 1-over par 73. He is currently even par for the championship.
Padraig, your front nine, the front nine of the golf course, lots of up-and-downs and then steady on the back. What was the difference for you? Must have played some good golf into that gauntlet the last four holes.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, I played it the other way around, so I played very steady on my first nine holes, created a lot of chances, missed a few birdies. I think I only missed one green in the first nine, and I was putting on that hole. Yeah, pretty good stuff.
And I played very well on the back nine. I just made a couple of -- clubbing error on the first -- I had four bogeys in the back nine and then seven -- I easily left five shots out there on those nine holes. It was a very disappointing nine holes.
Happy with how I'm playing, how I'm swinging and what I see in my game, but I should be 3-, 4-under par, and even then I'd be a little disappointed.
Q. I just wonder after these two tough days, probably two tough days for anyone, but how are your energy levels?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, good. We knew it was going to be a tough week. I only played -- I played 18 holes Sunday, no holes Monday, nine holes Tuesday and Wednesday so I'd be fresh.
Yesterday evening we all finished late, so you go home, I sat on the couch for two hours and went to bed. Just really took it easy.
Maybe I didn't birdie because I dropped a few shots in the last nine holes, but I felt good out there. Yeah, felt good about everything.
Even in the position I'm in with the wind on the range, this is not a week to go to the range at all. I'll probably hit a few chips and a few putts and that's it for me, and rest up or the weekend and hopefully play the same way the next two days and don't leave anything out there.
Q. Were you guys on the clock at any time today?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Oh, yeah, yeah. We were on the clock for about two, three holes. We started on the clock on the 3rd. We had a lost ball. So yeah, we probably played on the clock for about four holes.
Q. Did you feel as though you were being rushed at any stage while on the clock?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Well, nobody is comfortable on the clock. You're always wondering where you stand. It's pretty easy to be on the clock if you're in position. It's very difficult if you're out of position. If you really get into an awkward situation, it can be difficult, but if you play good golf on the clock, you hit fairways, you hit it on the green, the 40 seconds is bundles of time to hit a golf shot, assuming that you're not struggling having to walk off a 60-foot putt or something like that.
For me personally, it's been a long time since I've been on the clock. It's been a long time since I've been in such a good TV group, so managing that sort of stress is something different. If you want to be a good player, unfortunately you're going to end up a lot of times in those sort of groupings where it gets a little tighter and more time is taken, and all of a sudden -- it's very easy to stay off the clock if you're playing terrible golf; put it like that.
It's tough when you're up there and you're trying to -- you're in that situation. I would have said the three of us today, even yesterday, we were never really -- we always struggled to keep up. Until there was a delay yesterday, I think we were struggling, as well.
It was fair enough that we were on the clock. Between the three of us, I'd say the three of us were average at best. We're working hard at what we're doing out there, and as I said, it does depend a lot on how well you play and the quality of your golf. As I said, if you're hitting fairways and greens, it's pretty easy to play within the 40 seconds.
Q. Can you speak to what you saw out of Phil the last two days and particularly his two final nines yesterday, and today obviously he had it going.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, he's had two great nines. He's played really well. Yeah, some fine golf there.
I suppose both days he started badly, both days he's come back, and come back well, like 5-under par both times. I don't know if he didn't make any bogeys late in his round -- yeah, it's really good play. He seems to be hitting a lot of good shots, and his short game is good. He made a great up-and-down on 8, and it wasn't off a bad tee shot he hit on 8.
In general I would have said he's -- like I wouldn't put it past him. In the position he is, I expect him to contend, and I wouldn't put it past him being there at the end of the week, for sure.
I would think -- I think he has the bit between his teeth. I think he believes he can do it in these conditions, just like myself. I think myself, Phil would find it easier to compete on this style of golf course in these conditions in a major tournament all the time. You can be patient in these courses, and obviously you've got to make a few birdies, but it suits somebody who is a player, somebody who is thinking.
Q. As a guy like yourself who's approaching 50, and he's 50-plus now, what does it say that you guys are this high up the board in a major championship?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You know, I said this the other day. Unfortunately as you gain experience, you lose innocence. There is a sweet spot on the way up when you're gaining a bit of experience, and yet you have that innocence as you get older. Like myself and Phil, yeah, we have experience, but we have some scar tissue in there and we can overthink things at times.
Phil works hard. I know I work hard at my game to try and be competitive at this level. I really want to be competitive with the young guys, and physically I am. Sometimes mentally not.
Certainly my own respect, what I see here this week, I'm easily able to swing the club well enough, and my routine and my mental game has been a lot better.
Yeah, I'm bullish about where I am and I'm sure Phil is, too. From watching from the outside with Phil, he's prepared to sort of give it the -- if it's not a good week, he's going to push no matter what. He's not here to finish -- he's not here to make the cut. He's not here to finish -- even 15th would be a disappointment. You know what? Even second would be a disappointment for Phil.
I'm a little bit like that, too. I have no interest -- if you turned around to me this week and said to me now I'm going to finish 10th, I'd actually say no, because it doesn't do my career any good. It doesn't do Phil's any good. That might make it harder for us at times because we over-push and over-try because only winning is the only thing that will bring any satisfaction to myself or Phil.
Q. What do you remember about the first time you and Phil played together, and what is the main difference between then and now?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: My caddie did ask Phil who he played in the singles in the '91 Kiawah Island Ryder Cup. Now, he did know that actually he played the Walker Cup against -- we played Walker Cup that year in Portmarnock, so that would have been the first time I came across Phil. As regards playing tournament golf with Phil, no idea. I couldn't tell you the date or anything like that.
I know I got paired with him an awful lot in the PGA. Every year since we got -- a lot of years we got paired up in the PGA as past champions, but no, I don't know when I would have played against him or on the same team, but I would have seen him play because we were playing opposite teams in the Walker Cup in 1991.
Q. What's the big difference between '91 and now?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You know, I would say the two of us have actually stayed the exact same relative to the field. Phil was very long back then, longer than everybody else, and he was a very strong iron play.
It's very hard to get away from your own beliefs and where you stand. We've moved along, and I would say, yeah -- I would say yes, everything has improved since then, but he's kind of stayed in the same place, I would think as he's moved up along relative to everybody else.
On his good days now, obviously he has not as -- clearly he's not as many good days as he would have had 10 years ago, but on his good days I think his attitude, where he's at, how he feels, where he is against others, I think that can be the hardest thing as you get older and there's a new kid on the block and you're wondering can you compete with him. But I think the length for Phil, and very similar for me, I can't go out on the golf course and feel like I'm giving up something to the field.
If 10 percent of the field are reaching a par-5, I want to be one of those 10 percent. I think Phil is in the same category, as well. He wouldn't feel good if he had to go back and play in the middle of the pack. He wants to be in that sort of 10 percent that's capable of hitting any shot at any time out there to give himself the chance of -- I suppose it's the chance when you're coming down the stretch that you're not hampered by not being as physically good as the next guy.
Q. You mentioned yesterday that you're taking sort of your last bites of these type of events. I'm wondering, how does a disappointment in a round like today where you don't think you got what you should have out of it compare to what it would have been in 2008 and 2009?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You know, the disappointment for me now, and this really sums up how the game changes and the ebbs and flows, in 2008 it was inevitable I was going to win majors, so it didn't bother me if I didn't have a good day. I knew I just had to turn up, play my game, and that would put me in position to win majors and it would happen.
Now I turn up at a tournament and I think everything has to go right. I'm afraid that I can't -- I can't take as many punches. I can't take as many mistakes. I feel on edge to compete.
When I play well like today and leave shots out there, I'm thinking, can I afford to do that. Whereas 2008 I would have gone, yeah, I can afford to do that; I'm going to win. It was just so much in your comfort zone, and as I said, then new kids come on the block and you're looking over your shoulder and you're wondering is your stuff good enough.
Q. You mentioned that burning desire that you and Phil share. Obviously a lot of players don't have that. Where do you think that need to win comes from?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You know, I've always had it. I don't know. All the brothers, competitive. In the golf club it was a very competitive little -- just the way we played. There was always something on the line. Certainly not advocating for any young kids to go out there and gamble, but I'm advocating that you go out and play and put something on the line, and that's always been my way.
I've always enjoyed overcoming things and not -- especially if somebody was better than me. I really liked to beat somebody. It would be the same now, if we went and played darts, if you were way better than me, I'd have no interest, but if you were a little better than me, it would really give me a boost to try and beat you.
I like the idea of somebody is supposedly better, I like being able to do that. So yeah, a very competitive nature.
I'm sure Phil did. I know I waned quite a bit there three, four, five years ago when my putting really went south on me. You start wondering do you want to do this. But thankfully after a couple of years of that, you kind of go, well, even if you're not playing your best golf, I actually quite like being out here and doing what I do. I really like playing golf, and the reality of it is -- I assume there's hardly any person in the world wouldn't want to swap their lifestyle with what I do, even if it's not as good as it used to be.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks so much for stopping through. Best of luck through the weekend.
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