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September 28, 2006

Padraig Harrington


SCOTT CROCKETT: Thanks for coming in and joining us. Let's talk about your golf, tell us all about it. Good stuff out there.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah. Obviously I came into the week, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday exceptionally tired. I think I played a practise round yesterday, and it must have been the hardest 18 holes of golf I've ever had to play in terms of not wanting to be out on the golf course. I was very tired.

I knew coming out today that there was a huge difference on tournament day; you always have a little bit of an up for a tournament day. It's a big week, so that was always going to be to my advantage.

And then it helped out starting with a couple of birdies; that caught me interest, and from there I kept going. I always needed a little bit of adrenaline that you get by playing in a tournament and then a little bit of adrenaline by actually making a few birdies by starting well and going well.

SCOTT CROCKETT: You birdied the first. What did you do?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I hit driver over the green, pitched it to about six feet and holed it.

Par 5, driver, 3 wood left of the green, I chipped it out to about eight feet, holed it.

4th, I hit a 4 iron to 35, 40 feet and holed it.

5, hit a sand wedge to about six feet and holed it.

7, I hit a 6 iron to about five feet.

Two par 5s, 15 and 18, two drivers onto 15, about 40 feet. And on 18 driver into the rough, hit it about 60 yards short of the pin, back fringe, and from there I holed it from about 15 feet.

Q. You said yesterday after your first round at the Ryder Cup your golf was improving, had improved. Is this a natural extension of that?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Well, I came into the Ryder Cup with a second place and a fourth place, so I would think this is more indicative of those tournaments than last week. Last week I had a steady, average week, especially on the greens. I didn't really hole anything.

But today I holed a couple of putts and things like that.

I would have said this was more indicative of the BMW and the Madrid tournament.

Q. You did a lot of work on the putting green yesterday with your left shoe off. Did that help today?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, I work a lot with my left shoe off when I'm practising my putting. I struggled with I don't get enough weight on my left side, trying to get 60 per cent of my weight on my left foot and 40 on my right. Obviously when you take half an inch off your left side, all of a sudden you've got to lean in there. It's a convenient way of working on something without having to think about it.

Q. Putting was a lot better today overall do you think?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Putting was nice today. I missed a couple of six footers there on 10 and must have been 14. Yeah, 10 and 14. But besides that, yeah, putting was good. Greens are excellent here.

You know, you want to be holing putts on these greens. They really are superb. I think that's why you see a lot of good scoring. The golf course is quite tight. Especially if you hit it in the rough you're in trouble. But when you have greens of this quality, guys are going to make birdies and hole putts.

Q. There's obviously nothing in the rules to be able to do it in a tournament, but I presume you never have?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You wouldn't be able to do that for your advantage, no. Both shoes have to be exactly the same, so you couldn't build a shoe on one side to give you an advantage on the golf course. You could do it if you had a blister because you wouldn't be doing it to get your weight near that side.

But you certainly couldn't take your shoe I would definitely think you couldn't take your shoe off with the sole purpose of (laughter). For the purpose of I couldn't put something under my right foot in order to get my weight in my left side. That would be the same sort of thing, wouldn't it.

Q. Did you have any tangles with that rough today at all apart from the 18th?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Just on 18 I think was the only time I was in the rough. I think that's why I shot the score.

You know, looking certainly at my playing partners, whenever they hit it in the rough, they wedged out. So it really is a question of don't hit it in that rough. It is very heavy, very lush. You can see it out there, it's very dark green with not too many people playing, and you tend to pull a bad lie when you're in there. Yeah, avoid the rough at all costs, I think, this week.

Q. So if the wind gets up, the scoring will change?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, it'll be interesting to see a couple of the sort of semi blind holes in crosswinds will get difficult. And they tend actually to be the narrowest fairways out there. The likes of 8, 8 is very narrow. 18 is quite narrow; 11. They were all crosswind yesterday, and they were much tougher holes. Today it was very pleasant with very little wind.

Q. You spoke on Sunday night about your relief about the end of playing the Ryder Cup in Ireland. Do you feel today almost a bit of a sense of freedom almost, the pressure off after that?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: No, not really. It definitely was relief after the Ryder Cup because we've been a long time building up to it. It would have been a disappointment to walk away with nothing from that Ryder Cup. It lived up to the dream that it was, really, by the win.

I don't feel like it's a release for me this week. As I said, I felt I was in good form going into it in terms of on the golf course, how I was approaching things, and I think I approached things well at the Ryder Cup and I think I've approached things as well as I could this week, even though the preparation wouldn't have been top class.

Q. You were talking about being tired after the Ryder Cup, naturally enough. Does a round of 64 change all that for you, get the adrenaline running again?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, definitely after the first couple of birdies it catches your interest. I'm sure if I started with a few bogeys, I would have found it very hard to stay motivated. But a couple of birdies early on, and now 64. Instead of having a very relaxed, easy going week, now it's a bit of work ahead of me.

Q. Even though you had a difficult time at The K Club in some respects, result respect anyway, you still felt you were playing well, didn't you?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Results went against me, definitely, no question about that. It's nice when results go against you, and I didn't cost the team anything. That's a big plus. If we had lost narrowly, I'd be devastated.

But I can only approach each match and each shot as well as I can, and I felt I did that particularly well, certainly after the first day, first morning fourball, particularly well afterwards. I didn't have the greatest of times in holing putts or anything like that.

But you can't really I said to somebody there in an interview, I said, what you've got to do at the Ryder Cup is have 12 guys turn up and play average, play their game, play average. I succeeded in doing that last week. Thankfully the other 11 guys played better than average.

But it's not about very few people are going to as we see in any tournament week, are going to hit top form, absolute top form in a given week.

So the key with something like the Ryder Cup is to make sure that nobody is struggling too much. I was right in the middle last week; it just wasn't good enough in the matches that I played.

Q. Traditionally you play well towards the end of the season. Do you have half an eye on the Order of Merit?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Definitely I'm thinking I need to win two of the last three events. I've got three events left. This week, I need a big performance this week to get me into the U.S. TOUR Championship and also give me a chance of winning the Order of Merit.

So that is definitely very much on my mind, especially next week is a good week for me, plus Valderrama hasn't been the happiest of hunting grounds foe me. I'm going to do well in the Order of Merit this week and next week to do so.

Q. In terms of this tournament, how high would you set it in the tournament ranking in terms of going for a victory, apart from just the Order of Merit?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Like with everything up to this tour of tournaments, this is the tour in the majors. I've won other events, and this would be the next progression, next steppingstone to a world event. After a world event, majors; so I've progressed nicely in my career all the way up so far. But I don't have any world events and I don't have any majors. If I had done everything else in a slow progression, which I tend to do, it would be an event like this that I win next, and that's a steppingstone to have the confidence to go on and win a major.

Q. With Tiger playing so well of late, stroke play events, do you have a feeling that perhaps he would like

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: He got three points last week.

Q. Do you have a sense that he would like someone to come out of the pack and really challenge him head on in these stroke play events?


Q. I've spoken to a couple of players and they seem to think that that's what's lacking, and he's looking for someone to sort of come out and take him on?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I think he's looking to win. I don't think he's worried about what anyone else is doing. No. He pushes himself. People set standards based on who's No. 2. He's got to set his own standards.

Q. When you first saw this course, did you think it was a really good one for him?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I wasn't really thinking I was struggling to think about myself, let alone anybody else (laughter).

I would never approach an event anything about anybody else, who it suits. I'd just totally look at myself, as Tiger would definitely not be approaching this event trying to figure out who's going to challenge him. The challenge is always within yourself and how you compete. There's no need to look to somebody else to motivate you.

SCOTT CROCKETT: Thank you, Padraig. Well done today.

End of FastScripts.

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