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June 20, 2006

Padraig Harrington


NELSON SILVERIO: Welcome, Padraig. Thanks for coming in. How about just some general thoughts on the golf course and coming back to the area?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yes, it's always nice to come back to a familiar area. The golf course, I played once before, I think it's three years ago. The year Fred Funk won anyway. I had a top 10 that year. I played with Fred for three rounds. Reasonably good idea what it takes to win around here.

I do like the golf course. It's tricky in a couple of spots. Obviously, the 9th hole is a very dangerous golf hole. I think if you negotiate that before pairing during the week, you're happy.

Yeah, an interesting golf course as in it's exciting. There's a lot of risk/reward out there. A typical TPC course.


Q. How hard is it to play the week after the Open?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Well, normally wouldn't be that difficult to play the week after the Open. It is very tough when you're in contention right to the (indiscernible). I don't think I've ever been as tired going into another event. You know, won plenty of tournaments, lost plenty of tournaments. The minute the following week starts, you're teeing it up and you're thinking about the following week, you get new energy, you got new thoughts, you can put everything behind you.

Not so easy to do this week, I've got to say. I don't think I've ever been as tired, as deflated from an event ever in my life.

Q. Because you had only played here once before, what made you decide to come back this year? Also, because you were so worn out from the U.S. Open, did you consider not playing, pulling out this week?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, the reason I'm here, I think it's very convenient on the schedule, and it's a course I've played well on in the past. Those are the two criteria I normally use to pick tournaments: whether I played well on the golf course, whether I played well at that time of the year, and whether it fits into the schedule. It did all those things.

Yes, I definitely did consider pulling out. I'm exhausted, I've got to say. I think it will be interesting to see how much I recover by Thursday. Hopefully when I get up Thursday morning, I'll have that spark and adrenaline to get out there and play golf.

Q. How much of playing this week is just a factor of you sort of honoring your word that you were going to be here?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I would think that's it. I think it would be the whole of it, yes.

You know, you don't normally when you're setting a schedule, you don't put into it, yeah, you're going to go all the way in the U.S. Open, get very close, have such a downer at the end of the week, let's say. I didn't realize that was going to happen when I set the schedule. Afterwards, yeah, I definitely would like nothing better than to be on a plane home, just chilling out for a week.

I hope it's the right decision. I hope, like I said, I recover somewhat on Thursday, teeing up, and the competition gives me enough of a spark to get going again.

Q. When you have a finish like you did, obviously it's deflating in a lot of ways. At the same time do you think it might be the best thing, to get right back out there and maybe put it behind you a bit?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Normally I do. Normally, as I said. Over the years I've won and lost many tournaments. I've always found that when you tee it up the following week, you get focused on the following week and you're thinking into the future, whereas when you don't play the following week, all you're thinking about is what happened in the past, and that's not good.

I've got to say, I find it very hard to look forward to this tournament. I'm spending most of my time looking back at the last tournament. It just shows the difference between a U.S. Open and a regular week out there.

Q. Two days after the fact, what do you recall from Sunday? What went wrong?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Well, you know what, I've looked back at it and I'm certainly happy with all the decisions I made. I didn't second guess myself. I'm certainly not second guessing myself now. I made all good decisions.

I think, you know, 15 was just a tough hole. Sorry, 16 was just a tough hole. I missed a green with a 5 iron. If I was to blame anything, I had a hanging lie in the fairway, and I just which meant I had to aim down the left along the tree line. Normally I would have gone more sort of right at the flag with a draw. When it was hanging, likely to hit a fade, I hit down the left.

None of that's a problem. That was fine. I just didn't quite commit to that before I got over the ball. There was still some doubt in my mind about what shot I was going to play. That's the only thing, if I was looking back, that's where I made my mistake. I just didn't quite commit to the shot I was playing before I got over the ball on 16. Because it was a hanging lie, it was slightly different.

It's unfortunate, that obviously cost me. I was a bit deflated after I bogeyed the hole. I shouldn't have been. I didn't need to be. Bear in mind that when I bogeyed the hole, going down 17, three over was leading, I was trying to make birdies, but definitely I was a bit deflated after making a bogey.

On 16, I couldn't see myself making a bogey. When I missed the green, it didn't enter my head because I hadn't made one all day. I just assumed I wasn't going to make one at this stage. I think when I did make a bogey, it did knock me back a little bit. Probably would have been better if I made that bogey earlier in the day.

Q. As badly as you feel, what you think Monty and Phil must be thinking at this point.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I don't take any comfort from anybody else's pain. I've got my own pain to worry about. I'm not going to worry about them. Phil Mickelson has won the last two majors before that. I wouldn't second guess anything he did. Actually, if I was going to comment on that, I would say he hit the right club off the tee on 18.

Q. Tell me why.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Well, the bunker is perfect. Not perfect, but it's not far off perfect. Once you hit it in the bunker or the first cut of rough on either side of the fairway, you can advance it up to the green. It was a pretty easy pin position on 18.

You know, driver, get it down there, even if he misses the fairway, would mean he should get it around the green, on the green. I definitely think he played the right club for him. I don't think he carried the 3 wood. I would have hit 3 wood, but that would have been the right club for me. Looking back, I think he made the right choice in terms of his club selection offer the tee. I don't know what the second shot was like. He did win the last two majors before that. I wouldn't be judging him, let's say.

Q. How about Monty?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: He probably got a little bit caught like me, that he wanted to make probably trying to make birdie down the last. When he missed the green, thinking that he needed to make at least four, running the putt by, you know, it's strange how often in a major you think you got to do things at the end. To be honest, sometimes you do. This is the problem. Nobody is a soothsayer or can tell what the winner's score is going to be.

If Monty turned around at the last, he chipped it by 30 feet by the hole, he was a bit unlucky it didn't come back down, say he left it short and 2 putted, Phil finished four over, he would have been sick about it.

You just can't tell what's going to happen. So many times, it does happen that guys like myself, Monty, Phil, make mistakes at the end. At other times, somebody does good things like Geoff Ogilvy chips in. You have to play every shot you think you need to play at the time. I'm sure Monty did that.

Q. Even when this tournament is not the week after the U.S. Open, it's traditionally not had the greatest time attracting a marquee field. Do you have any thoughts of why that is?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: A lot of good events out there. That could be the only reason. We have incredible amounts of good tournaments to choose from. It's a very competitive world out there. Guys build up for a major. You're talking maybe the very big names. Maybe they're expecting to have a run at the major. If they do have a run at the major, then they know they're not going to be a hundred percent fit the following week, so they're better off taking time off.

A lot of guys would have played Memorial, Westchester, U.S. Open. Nobody really wants to play more than three events in a row. There's a lot of things going on, a lot of competition amongst the tournaments to get the players to turn up because they're all good events.

As I said, I'm here because it does suit my schedule. It is a course I played on. Players have to make the right decisions for themselves at the end of the day. They'd love to play every week. There's not a player out here that would not like to play every week if they thought it would be helpful for their game. The general rule is the better you play, the less you play, as in you turn up to win rather than turning up to hope to win.

Q. Was last week the toughest setup that you faced in your career?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I actually thought last week was as straightforward a golf course as I've ever, ever played. That's one of the reasons why I feel so gutted. I think that's why so many of the Europeans did well. Like everything was in front of you. There wasn't a golf shot on that golf course that couldn't be hit, that couldn't be played.

Maybe besides the pin on the back left of 18 and the pin on the front left of 18 were typical U.S. Open pins that I've seen in many years, you're looking at it saying, How am I going to get there? Certainly the front left pin in 18. You're playing I'm hitting my third shot in there Saturday. I'm trying to hit it to 60 feet away from the hole as my good shot. That's a tough mental thing to do, to try to hit a shot to 60 feet, and that's being your good shot.

I pulled it toward the flag. I'm trying to hit a good shot that's going nowhere near it. That's usually what happens at the U.S. Open. This time everything was very straightforward, very fair. I've got to say, it was I say it was easy in terms of how the course played. Hit the fairway, hit the middle of the green. There was no shot there.

I think, as well, with all the greens sloping back to front, I hit the ball low. There was no issue with me flying a ball in, trying to stop or hit it high. Most of the time there was plenty of room, you could hit it in and it would stop because of the slope of the green or you wanted to release up the green.

Haven't come across a U.S. Open golf course that suited me as much as last week's course did.

Q. This has been discussed at this tournament before. Once the tournament starts, does it have a different feel if you're the only top 20 player in the field? Does it have a feel if there are other guys who are not here?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I'm sure it is for people watching on. But for an actual player himself, it's nearly easier to win an event when there's bigger names in it and you've got no focus, no attention on you, you're just playing along. It doesn't matter where you are in the world, if you play good golf that week, you're the best player. That really is the same if the very big names aren't here. To win a tournament, you've got to be the best player in the world this week. You know, you've got to be on top form to win any tournament, regardless of who's in the field.

It's easier to do that when there's bigger names because there's a little bit less expectation. You can trundle along until Saturday evening and nobody really knows that you're there sort of thing. Whereas, in a week like this, if you are one of the highlighted players, let's say, at the start of the week, one of the favorites, you kind of have certain expectations, you're trying to live up to those expectations.

I will say as a European, we tend to get a little bit better at that. That's why Europeans tend to be a little bit better at doing that. Often when we turn up to events, we travel to Asia and around the world, you are singled out at the start of the week as a favorite or whatever. You have to kind of live with it. You're hyped up going into an event. Whereas if there's more big name players, there's less hype. Less hype means you can, as I say, deflect some of that pressure and just keep playing.

NELSON SILVERIO: Thank you, Padraig. Good luck this week.


End of FastScripts.

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