May 23, 2021
Kiawah Island, South Carolina, USA
The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island
JOHN DEVER: Welcome back to the 2021 PGA Championship here at The Ocean Course. PĂˇdraig finishes at 2-under par and at this very moment is tied for fifth.
You closed well today. I imagine you have to be -- with the totality of the week, you have to be pretty pleased with your performance and what will likely be a Top-10 for the first time in a while.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, I'm very happy that I felt like I competed on a level with everybody else this week. Physically, tee-to-green, I played very well during the week. There was nothing that I -- you know, at 49 years of age, you don't want to go out there and feel like you're giving anything up. I certainly was good, particularly today.
I will say, that was probably my most enjoyable round of golf I've had on the golf course in a long time. It's amazing when you play with a friend, it definitely helped both of us relax and just play golf and both of us played really well. We both could have been quite a few shots better.
And I will rue a little bit later on. You never know what's going to win this tournament, but I will sit down afterwards and go, you know, there's no doubt I left three or four shots out there. I was a little bit jittery on the greens and just didn't run my putts at the hole like I would like to, but yeah, it was nice and it was nice to just do an interview there where it's been a long time since I've been interviewed and been asked about my golf rather than The Ryder Cup.
So for today, at least, I'm back to being a golfer.
JOHN DEVER: Well, that's great to hear.
Q. You mentioned the other day about leaving strokes out there and you and Shane said you might have left a few today. Do you walk away satisfied or disappointed?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You know, I can't be disappointed. Yes, I left shots out there and I will look back at particularly Friday and today as potential for lots of shots.
But this isn't my tournament. I don't feel like it was my tournament. Sometimes you're playing a tournament and you feel like you let one slip away. No matter what happens today, even if the lead finishes 7, yes I could have gotten to 7 but everything would have had to happen.
I don't have any regrets about this. I'm more about walking away from this thinking my physical golf game is good enough. Mentally I've improved over the last couple of weeks and while I didn't feel comfortable -- as comfortable as I would have liked on the greens, I have been very comfortable over the last couple of months.
So matching the two of those up could make me very competitive going forward.
It would be amiss of me, I know this is off-track, I can't tell you how good a setup this was this week. I have to say, this was probably the best major setup I've ever seen. It may have been equaled in the past but couldn't have been better. I know the golf course is fantastic, but they really set the course up that there was opportunities to make bogeys and opportunities to make birdies. It really was that case.
So I certainly -- I'd love to play this style of golf every week and I would be a bit more competitive than playing a regular TOUR event, it's hard. It's a lot easier, these majors.
Q. There would be a train of thought that if you can play so well here, you could play so well at Whistling Straits. What do you think about that?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I'm well past that time. I'm too long in the tooth now at this stage, sweating through five rounds of golf and all that goes with it.
I'm very much dedicated to being the captain. I'm letting other people have their time. I had mine. And you can't do both. Nobody's ever going to be a Ryder Cup Captain and a player at the same time.
It's a full-time job being The Ryder Cup captain. There's no doubt about it, and even in my situation trying to play some golf, you know, I have to manage it very well because it is, it has become a full-time job and when you get to the tournaments, even more so. There's a lot going on.
Q. I was only being half-serious, but what you have shown, there's a large element of horses for courses and Whistling Straits is seen as similar to here.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, there's no doubt, put me on a windy golf course and I'm going to be competitive to pretty much everybody.
And comparing this to Whistling Straits, it's different grass but it's going to be very, very similar, similar style of play. You have to manage the wind, it's a big course in places, crosswinds, down. It is a similar style.
Saying that, a good player is a good player. Just because somebody has come here this week and not had their best week doesn't they are not going to be a good player the week of Whistling Straits. You have to get out of pre-judging people on individual rounds or even their style of play, and if they are a good player, we'll have 12 of them on my Ryder Cup Team, and between them, all they have to figure out to do is get 14 and a half points.
Q. The first time we saw a guy in his 50s take the lead into the final round of a major, you are the one that chased him down. When you are the younger chaser, do you start with the attitude that the leader might be more fragile than if it was one of your peers?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: No, I started very much against Greg in 2008, scared of my life of the story that was being told in the media. Like the whole world was telling this story, isn't it great to see Greg here; was he on honeymoon at the time and it was the whole focus on this and all that's happened, how many times has somebody done something crazy to beat Greg Norman; wouldn't it be great for him to win.
And I just did not want to buy into that sympathy that, you know -- and to be honest, to Greg, on the day, he played fantastic golf. You know, in terms of how he hit the golf ball and stroked the golf ball it could easily have been his day. So you know, again, physicality didn't cost him. I think older players struggle until they get under pressure, and you know, it helps -- it will help Phil today that the tension is there. You know, it helps him focus and it helps him compete when he knows that the other guys are going to be feeling it, too.
I wouldn't buy -- the media buys into a great story, but if you're the younger fella chasing, you have to be very resolute that, look, this guy is not going give you anything and he's not going to go easy, either. It's like going into a playoff; you can't be just happy to be there.
Q. Does it put pressure on the older guy because they are the subject of that narrative?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, but isn't there a boiling -- a tipping point of pressure that you can only -- you only get to so much and after that, it's kind of just the same.
So I think anybody in the last group going out in a major is going to feel it, or the last couple of groups. Anybody who really thinks they can win on a Sunday is going to be feeling that pressure and the nerves. I'd say Phil is full to capacity, but that's where he likes to live.
Q. Well-played this week. Does this week give you any more belief or confidence that you could maybe win a fourth major championship on top of what you already have, and are you putting the entry forms for the Champions Tour in the bottom drawer for a while and holding off on that?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, look, I walk away from this week, there's nothing stopping me in my golf swing. I swing the club well enough and I hit the golf ball well enough and I hit it far enough to compete. Give me the right conditions, as probably needed the right conditions even back in my own heyday, and I will be competitive, no doubt about it.
Yeah, we all dream it can happen and we push for that, and it keeps me getting up in the morning. Keeps me practicing. So this does add a bit of confidence that, yeah, I'm not too far away, and -- especially like when I won my majors, a lot of my major wins came after me seeing some good stuff and being able to build on that, and I do see some good stuff in this week.
`I was much better focus-wise, much better, over the last couple of weeks. I changed my routine and I got a lot better since then. And going forward, I just need to find that one thing on the putting or whatever and yeah, I could be as physically good a player as I ever was, but there's a lot more competition these days.
Q. Would you rather put that on Shane? With what you saw in Shane this week, do you think it will help push him on and make your team?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Shane as we know is a big-time player and likes playing big golf courses on the big occasion. Why am I keep saying big about Shane?
Yes, he likes the wind. There's a quality about him; he wouldn't stand on a tee box and fear anybody, so Shane, just like everybody else who is not on the team, either they -- they don't necessarily -- nobody has to make it into the team. As I said, there's nine guys there at the moment, but if you want to get a pick, you're going to have to impress because there's plenty of guys; I seem to have an abundance of players in that running for those three picks. There's probably -- you've got to think six, seven players who could be in the running, and you've just got to impress.
So did a good job today. He certainly did himself no harm and we'll see how the next couple of months go.
Q. Just as Shane's friend, not as a potential captain, he's a legend for the rest of his life if he never hits another golf ball. But as someone who is in a similar position, what would you tell him as a friend, like even though you've accomplished so much and you don't have to do anything else, there's still more to be done?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I don't know what your question is.
Q. Okay. I didn't word it well.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: What's he need to do to get to the next level?
Q. Or to keep it going.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, he's already at the level. He just needs to chill out. Same as all of us. We need to somehow get golf in that right place. Like all of us golfers, if you put us out on this golf course without this tournament, or let's say if you put me out on this golf course in the same conditions playing off the same tees, everything the same, but I was playing against, you know, a much lesser field, I'd have shot a better score than 2-under par.
So it's not a physical thing. At this level, it's never physical. It's mental. It's amazing, there's a fine line between pushing and actually not pushing too hard. I know Shane can give that impression but he pushes -- like the rest of us, he puts himself under too much pressure at times and pushes too hard and can get down on himself, and he's just like all golfers, where we can be too hard on ourselves, and if -- we'd be much better players if we were able to talk about our golf rather than play it.
JOHN DEVER: PĂˇdraig, thanks for your visits this week, and we'll see you later this summer.
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