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March 30, 2006

Padraig Harrington


PHIL STAMBAUGH: Okay, Padraig, 4 under 68 to start the 2006 BellSouth Classic, matching your best start of the year on the PGA TOUR, and it is your best start in this event. A couple thoughts on the day and how your round went.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, obviously it was a very nice day for golf. It was fair conditions out there, so I'm surprised at the 4 under close to the lead anyway. It seemed like a day there would be a lot of 4 unders and maybe 5s and 6s and 7s.

PHIL STAMBAUGH: Do you want to take us through your round, any highlights, obviously the eagle?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I birdied the 1st hole, made a putt about 20 feet. Then I kind of missed putts all the way through until 18. I got a little frustrated thinking my scoring was going to be better, missing a lot of reasonable chances from 15 foot range.

On 18 I hit 3 iron second shot off the downslope, hit a hybrid club, pitched it in the bank short of the green and just topped off, and the hole was probably 50 feet away. It was a nice break, nice to go through at 3 under par. I thought that was about right.

A little bit unlucky on the 2nd hole. I hit a very good 9 iron and just pitched probably four yards past the flag and over the back and made a good chip, missed the putt.

Got it back on 3. I think I hit a wedge to about eight feet.

And on 6, I hit a sand wedge to about eight feet, as well, and holed it. That was it.

Made a good 4 at the last, as well. Trouble off the tee and made a good chip and putt.

Q. At La Costa you were talking about being between two swings. What's changed here since then?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I'm obviously getting a little more comfortable with what I'm doing. That's always the case, that you need to get more competitive play. I'm still working on a few things, but I'm obviously a little bit more settled about how to manage my game on the golf course.

More competition is always needed when you have things going on in your head; you need to play a little bit more to settle down.

Q. Mental rather than technical?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: It's too much technique for nine weeks in the winter, to come out and play tournament golf. You need to have a balance between your technique and your competitiveness. As I play, I increase the competitive edge and then produce the technical thoughts, which is obviously going to lead to better results.

Q. Are you ever surprised at the quick change around in a week?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I think I would ignore talk like that in terms of okay, I did miss the putt, but there wasn't much wrong. I didn't play any better today than I did last week. I didn't play any worse last week. Whatever way you want to look at it, okay, I shot two 73s, but little things like that on 18, it's a two shot swing. I made eagle but likely you could make 6 at that hole. Things like that happen on a good day.

Why does a guy win one week and miss the cut the other week? A few breaks here and there, something goes in instead of runs by. That's why we love the game of golf. You just have to be patient.

Q. You made a 50 footer on 18. Can you take us through a little more detail on that?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I hit a good drive, had 260 to the flag and I hit I carry a hybrid club instead of my 3 iron. It's effectively a 3 iron but a lot easier to hit, and I hit it a bit low off the downslope. Thankfully it wasn't a 3 iron or it would have been in the water. It pitched in the bank short of the green, and it skipped up onto the green, 50 feet away, and I rolled it in.

Funnily enough, I rolled it up there, and on the last few holes I had hit a lot of putts that were close to going in there. Actually it fell in the hole and I never even thought it was going in. It was one of those where, where is it going to miss? I was never thinking of it dropping in. It just caught the left side of the hole and went down. Very nice.

Q. What specifically in your golf swing are you working on right now that has taken you this long?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I'm always what happened at La Costa, going back to that, is I spent nine weeks off during the winter, and I really had gotten into it and was a lot of technical talk going on. I'm doing the same thing now but not to the same extent. I've been probably spending more time on my short game now and getting a bit more competitive.

Actually I'm working on I'm really just well, I'm working a little bit on my leg action and working a little more on trying to rotate through the ball with my left arm and my body at the same time. That would probably be, in terms of swing wise, that would probably be it, release the left arm and body a bit more through impact.

Q. Is it more performance or result this week?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Next week you're purely looking at performance. But I wouldn't show up at a tournament and not look for a result. If I'm here, I'm only thinking about the result right now. Come Sunday night, I'll be thinking about the performance to get ready for next week.

Certainly the best preparation for next week would be to play well, play very well here and shoot four 70s or something like that with not too much stress. That's lovely preparation. You feel good about your game going into next week. Most of the time at an event, there's no point in being here unless you're trying to win. There's no point in thinking about the Masters now, especially when you have a pretty decent start. It's much more focus on trying to win this event and not worry about next week.

Q. Historically this event has had a probably much more of a European flare because it's an in between week. That's going to change next year. Are you going to miss that? Are you planning on still coming?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: There's talk about it going to May, which May would be the Irish Open time, Irish Open/British Masters and PGA, which is a rough time if you're European. If I don't play the Irish open, I just can't go home (laughter).

It's a golf course I would make an effort to come and play because I have had good results. I like Atlanta, too. It's something I'm very familiar with, very comfortable with. It'll be something I make an effort and try and put it on the schedule, but it's possible with changing the date next year it'll come right up against a European event.

End of FastScripts.

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