May 20, 2023
Rochester, New York, USA
Oak Hill Country Club
Q. On the front nine, talk us through -- 11 strokes between a front nine and a back nine.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, another day on that front nine, I would have shot 2-over. I three-putted the first two greens. On a tough day, you need momentum. I three-putted the first two greens, hit it over the back the next, so I threw away three shots straight away, and the same on 7, 8, 9. I'm on the fringe three times and I made three bogeys.
On a normal day I would have played the front nine in 2-over and would have been moaning about it.
Q. 8-over par by the turn. What depth do you have to dig into in the rain, and your caddie is almost struggling as much as you are, to shoot 3-under on the back nine?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Look, every day you're on the golf course in a situation like that is a practice day, training day, so you're trying to do things right. You're trying to dig deep because you know that's what you've got to do.
Once you can't win the tournament, it's all about just -- every shot is a practice, training. There's no substitute for hitting a shot with a card in your hand, and there's no point in -- you can hit as many shots as you like on the range or in practice rounds. It's not like playing real golf. That's what you see when you go on the back nine in a situation like that. It's an opportunity to get your game in shape, with 27 holes left in this tournament to get your game in shape for next week.
Q. Next week is the Senior PGA Championship, so you've still got the possibility of a fairly positive experience here, in spite of the front nine, which obviously 8-over par was not good, but a back nine of 32 in the rain, holing a bunker shot at the last, that's fairly satisfying to come in with a 75 in these circumstances I would think.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I think I played my best golf today. I certainly hit more fairways today. Obviously the fairways are softer. Certainly seemed to hit more greens. Tee to green, I was good. I just was really poor on the front nine. Just a couple of -- three awful shots on 7, 8, 9 from the fringe three times in a row. That was frustrating.
On a tough day, you need to get ahead of it somehow, you need to get ahead of the curve. As I say, if you make an early birdie, you feel like you can make more birdies. Golf is very circumstantial. It really is. You go out there days, and you you can hit the same shot, and one day you go down there and find yourself in a nice lie, the next day you're down there in trouble. Golf is like that, and you have to take the good with the bad.
Q. 43 at the turn, the number 80 must have been coming in your mind?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: That's all I was thinking about. I'm probably not allowed to say I was -- I can't say that anymore. I was trying to break 80, yes. Probably somebody would get upset if I said that.
Q. How much differently does the course play in the rain here today?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: It is different. No wind means some shots are easy. The greens are softer. Greens are slower. You're able to run your putts to the hole. But it's playing very long.
Both my drives on 17 and 18, neither of them moved more than a yard from where they pitched. All of a sudden you've got 200 yards left, which today is a 4-iron. Yeah, it just plays longer. It's a different sort of toughness.
I think some players will get very frustrated in it, and some players gain momentum and hit a few good shots, somebody is going to play well and shoot a nice score out there. There's certainly a 3- or 4-under par for sure.
Q. After doing what you did on the front nine and the possibility of it feeding into some negative vibes with regards to the final round and next week the Senior PGA Championship, how important was it to come back the way you did?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I knew the front nine was circumstantial. I knew I just didn't have a good day. Like I didn't play badly. I didn't swing the club badly. It wasn't anything like that. I just didn't get up-and-down, some simple up-and-downs, and a couple of three-putts to start. I want to make my living by not doing that, and today I just got caught out.
Q. Can you recall a round where you had that big of a turnaround in nine holes?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: No, I can't for sure. 11-shot swing is a lot. I had eight 5s on the front nine. I created some good chances on the back nine. I had a good chance on 10, 11, not a bad chance on 12, birdied 13, 14. 15, outside. 16, I made an up-and-down on 16. 17 lag two-putt, and 18 holed a bunker shot.
Look, I didn't play awful on the front nine by any means, I just scored terrible, and that happens. On a tough day, it happens, and you just kind of have to -- that's golf. If all the breaks went your way all the time, it would be boring.
Q. Can I get one thought on next week and heading to the Senior PGA Championship, a new venue and no one is going to know it very well?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, I like Gil Hanse golf courses, so I'm looking forward to that, and very much this week I've shown -- I'm just a week shy or two weeks shy of where I should be in terms of my preparation. I don't know if I would be ready next week, but I certainly intend to be ready for the U.S. Open and the rest of my summer.
Q. How do you expect the course to play tomorrow? Obviously it's going to be softened up but we're not expecting the same rain, so could it be a chance for someone to go really low tomorrow?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: It depends. Honestly, conditions will affect that. The setup of the golf course will affect that. They've obviously pushed the tees up today, so expect them to be further back tomorrow. If it's nice conditions like they're saying, it'll probably be tough pin positions.
The PGA know how to set up the golf course, so they'll set up for whatever scoring they want. If they want us to go out there and shoot a good score, being 68, they'll set it up that way.
They could if they want set it up for a low one for sure, but that wouldn't suit the leader. The leaders always want a tough challenge on Sunday so they can play safe and the chasers get caught out. If it is easy, it means somebody can come from three, four shots back, five shots back with a bit of freedom.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports