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September 2, 2006

Padraig Harrington


SCOTT CROCKETT: Padraig, thanks for coming in to join us. A fantastic performance today. Two years ago before the last Ryder Cup you won in Germany, and now here we are on the verge of another Ryder Cup and you're in with a good chance. You must be very pleased.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I'm pleased. It will be interesting to see what the lead will be at the end of the day. I was trying to figure out before we went out, 14 under par would be there or thereabouts. I knew I needed to shoot a good score to give myself a chance tomorrow. It's not a big problem when you're two, three, four shots behind, but if you're starting to get six or seven shots behind, you're really, you have no chance. So hopefully I'll be within shouting distance when everybody finishes the round.

But scoring is going to be good today. The four par 5s are reachable, and there's a drivable par 4. So it's beautiful, sunny weather, most of the rough is starting to dry out, but it's still heavy, you don't want to be in it, but you're really looking, as I said, I shot 70 the first day and I really felt like I played well for 70. You know, 64 today was a lot more comfortable than the 70 the first day probably.

SCOTT CROCKETT: Just give us your details, Padraig, before we take questions. You birdied the 6, what did you do there?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I hit 3 wood, 4 iron, 2 putts, and it was a good distance, four feet, 35 feet.

7 was 5 wood, 8 iron to 15 feet.

9, drive, 5 wood to 15 feet, two putts.

11, just ran through the fairway, laid it up. Hit sand wedge to about 15 feet and holed it.

SCOTT CROCKETT: Then the beginning of your run of three, 13?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: 13, I hit sand wedge out of a divot to a foot.

14, I hit it in the bunker off the tee, and I hit it in the green side bunker with my second shot and holed the bunker shot from 26 yards.

Then 15 I hit lob wedge to three feet.

SCOTT CROCKETT: And you went for it on 16.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: 3 wood on 16. I think it was a 270 carry on the right hand side, and I felt I could hit 3 wood over the right hand side. The shot, the real thing on 16 you is kind of get lulled into going left and if you hit it left, you have to go back to the tee and play it again because there's a forest there. So you've got to be comfortable to aim over the water on the right and if you're going to carry it.

So I was quite comfortable. I did actually hit it very well and I probably only just got off, after making three birdies, you feel like you can do anything, so that was kind of the way I felt coming down 18, which obviously that five cost me my six golf balls for the day. Do you get six balls on the card? It used to be five. When you move up to our level, it's a five. I had 233 to the pin front left and you know, really, to get the elevation downwind, I kind of got drawn into hitting a 5 iron because that looked like the club. I hit it straight down the pin and obviously came up short of the bunker which didn't get up and down. That was disappointing. Probably on a day when you're not quite as confident, I probably would have hit 4 iron to the middle of the green and 2 putt. But I was just drawn into it a bit. Thought I could do anything at that stage.

Q. A few years ago, the 62, how does the course compare?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: The course is obviously tougher, but it's still a golf course no matter what rough they put into it and whatever bunkers they put in. If you play well, the rough in the bunkers don't come into play. You know, the course is tougher for erratic shots. It's not tougher if you hit it down the fairway and you hit the greens, it really doesn't make too much difference. The greens are good, they are soft.

So it's a better score, yes, but in terms of playing well, it's probably just the same because I don't think the course has got any longer since then.

Q. So with your result, you don't have to get up so early tomorrow morning

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Unfortunately when you're doing well at a tournament, you don't travel around the world two hours and can't go to the player party or whatever tonight. So these are the side effects when you're in contention. You have to be disciplined and go to bed early and all that sort of stuff.

Q. Are you going to watch the football match in an Irish pub or in a hotel?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I think I'll probably try to find an Irish pub to watch it. I've been sourcing one out and I think I will go to an Irish pub to watch it. Hopefully they have a good day like me. There's a couple of people out there who are actually watching are actually going to the match, they came up from Stuttgart. There are a few diehards out there.

SCOTT CROCKETT: Score predictions, Padraig?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Don't ever predict anything. Expectations are the worst thing.

Q. (Inaudible.)

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I didn't actually realise that. The Europeans are a long ways away and I think Ireland will be very happy if they end up in it, but they will do well to get there, so hopefully. I wasn't looking that far ahead.

Q. You say "don't predict," but was there a sense of release yesterday?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You know, I've been focused on my own my own attitude at the golf course now for a number of weeks, and I don't necessarily think it was a sense of release. I think it was you know, I stayed incredibly patient the first day and particularly yesterday. I hit a lot of putts and they were a number of putts that hung on the lip and a few horse shoed, all sorts of things like that. I've been saying all along, I don't feel like I played any better than I played today than yesterday.

But things just went a bit better for me today, instead of hitting a nice wedge shot yesterday and coming up, spinning back 12 feet short of the hole, I'm just missing the putt today, stops besides the hole and I tap it in. It's not a difference in the quality of my play. It's the difference in just being patient. It's going to happen over four rounds, and hopefully it will happen again tomorrow. You know, a few good things happen to you out there. Like holing out of the bunkers on 14, that's a big break. Big breaks like that are important to shoot low scores. When you don't get the breaks, you're going to shoot those 70s, a lot. Certainly the one on Thursday was okay. The one on Friday was frustrating.

Q. Would you agree that probably the single most important thing in the Ryder Cup win two years ago was everybody's form and that everybody seemed to be playing well going into the match and that bred confidence; would that put a big of a smile on Woosie's face as anything at the moment?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Definitely the last Ryder Cup match, I remember playing the practise rounds, and it was hard for Bernhard to leave anybody out. It wasn't obvious, let's say, whereas in previous Ryder Cups, it was quite predictable who was going to line out the first day, and the last one I think all 12 players were playing very well. I think, you know, it would have been much tougher to leave somebody out the last time.

This time around, you know, I'm sure Woosie is hoping for a bit of form shown by all his players coming into the event. It certainly does no harm to have players playing well.

But it's hard, difficult, when you have a year long qualification. I really don't think too many of us are that good that we can play well all year. So it comes in peaks and troughs. So hopefully we'll have enough players peaking at that Ryder Cup and hopefully, you know, everybody will hopefully we'll win.

Q. What would it mean on a personal level to hopefully go into the Ryder Cup with get another victory?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: To be honest, I think I teed it up on the first day at the Ryder Cup the first day whether I win or not win. I'm out here trying to win for the sake of winning this event, not for anything else. I've got this one and the Madrid Open.

Yeah, I want to win, but I want to win every week. You know, I suppose a win makes it easier to be confident, yes. It does make it easier, but that doesn't mean that, you know, I will try and take the right approach and go into the Ryder Cup feeling confident regardless of what happens tomorrow or Madrid.

Q. So you would have gone to the soccer if you had shot 80 today?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yes. Yes. I'd probably have gone to the player party afterwards. (Laughter).

Q. When was the last time you felt this good on the golf course?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I think the last time, I don't know, loads of times, it happens. I don't know when the last I really, no, I was struggling. I could name times when I hit it in the water on the 18th against Michael Campbell. I remember at the PGA, I tell you what, I remember at PGA one year, one of my early PGAs, I pulled out a 6 iron on the third hole, 3 under par through five. And I've actually got 228 into a par 5, and the flag is four yards over the water hazard. And I hit my 5 wood 235. So I've got 228 and I'm trying to take something off my 5 wood and it's four yards over water. And this was not a good thing at times. (Laughter) I took nine at the hole and swiftly missed the cut.

At the (Honda) Classic when I shot 63 in the last round, that was as easy as it comes. Yeah that, would have been a time. No, it's more likely, when is the last time, all the way up to my putt missed at 16, I was unflappable at that stage. It was just easy.

Q. The other day you said you play your best when you feel a bit spaced out?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I was trying to get into that frame of mind. The interesting thing is the last couple of weeks I've swung the club the worst I've swung it all year. Felt great going into the PGA and have managed to not swing it well since then, trying to sort some things out and I seem to be playing better in that sort of mind. But I tend to knuckle down and focus on the golf course, and today was an example, I wouldn't have been that happy, but start off with a few errant shots on the first couple of holes and made a couple of up and downs and it was all plain sailing after that.

Q. Have you had a chance to speak with Paul or congratulate him for making the side?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: No, I didn't speak to him, no. I think he's gone to Bob's. I spoke to Bob; Bob has spoken to Paul. He's gone to Bob's to do some practise.

End of FastScripts.

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