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October 8, 2006

Padraig Harrington


GORDON SIMPSON: Hearty congratulations to the winning team here, and winner of the individual Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, Padraig Harrington and JP McManus. Guys, the sense of déjà vu here, four years ago you did exactly this after a Ryder Cup win, and here we go again. Padraig, I think it was vitally more relaxing this time around.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Obviously, it was a playoff the last time, and JP, I remember saying right as we came right down the stretch, we looked like winning the team event and he felt it wouldn't be the same if I didn't win the individual. So it was kind of taking away from it. Obviously, I holed a good putt on the last to tie Eduardo, and I won on the second playoff hole. It was an exciting win.

But this time around, once I got through 14, made a good par on 14, I saw I had a three shot lead I think going down 15, and I felt pretty comfortable and I could enjoy both the team and the individual win after that.

GORDON SIMPSON: And JP, the way you played today, maybe you'll think about joining The Seniors Tour next season, will you?

JP McMANUS: If you had Padraig as your playing partner and Eric Ramsay as your caddie, no doubt it would improve anybody's game a few shots.

GORDON SIMPSON: Did you enjoy that even more than last time or much the same?

JP McMANUS: I enjoy them all. But it's very, very sweet to come back and do it again. Tonight we'll celebrate; the last time went home and we've been regretting it since that we didn't stay here and celebrate properly.

Q. (What does the win mean to you?)

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: It's very special. Obviously there was a little bit of talk as much as I would like doing it in this tournament, I wouldn't mind doing it in another tournament. But yeah, very, very special.

You know, I have at home where I have an indoor facility, I have that exact picture painted on the wall at the 18th, with the Burn and the clubhouse and everything is on the wall. So I look at it every day. So it was very nice to walk down there and savour a win as I went down.

Q. (Will you play Mallorca?)

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, I don't know what sort of I think so. I haven't decided. (Laughter).

GORDON SIMPSON: Is that a yes or a no?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You know, unfortunately for me, it went into Valderrama vying with Retief Goosen and it's still a course I find difficult. You know, my best performance there has been fifth place.

So possibly I will need to go to Mallorca to try to close up the gap. You know, going in Valderrama, if I seem to play well, maybe I can get a Top 10 out of it, but that would not bridge the gap. So I might need the aid of a good week Mallorca as well.

Q. (What was the key for you this week?_

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You know, at the end of the day, when you win like this, it's not necessarily you know, the difference was my focus all the way through the week. My concentration was good, my approach was really good through it all. I don't feel like I wouldn't tell you I did swing it well this week. I wouldn't say I swung it any better I swung it better at other times during the year.

But all week I hit the ball reasonably well, and the control, I felt I could hit a draw when I need to hit a draw and sometimes when you're in windy conditions, it's not necessarily how well you're swinging it, but it's being able to control at least in one direction which way you're going to hit the ball, whether you're going to hit a draw or a fade on a certain hole. And I seemed to be well able to control it. I have a good ball flight for the wind, and the actual conditions probably brought the best out of me and probably made it a little bit easier for me.

Q. (Will you play next week?)

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I am going to go to Mallorca.

Q. (How important is it to have a win this year?)

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: It's always crucial. You look at every year and you don't want to when you have won tournaments, you don't want to go a year without winning at least once. You know, it's 15 months since I've won, but now if I can just put it down, yeah, I won in 2005, I won in 2006; it's always nice. I've still got another half dozen events this year. So hopefully I might back it up.

Q. (Do you enjoy this format?)

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I think the format suits me without a doubt. It's nice having a partner. JP, he's a man of few words but the words he comes up with are very wise, and he does tend to say the right thing at the right time on the golf course. Whether it's a word of encouragement or well, it's only words of encouragement to be honest. It does help. It does help having somebody out there, and it also motivates me. If I've maybe got a 10 footer for par, it's nice to be able to walk over and JP might have a putt for a birdie at the hole and it's nice to be able to go over and read that putt and get involved in something else, rather than necessarily be brooding over, well, why did I do this, or why did I do that.

So I find it very relaxing to have another outlet on the golf course, to have somebody to talk to, somebody living it with you whether you make birdies or bogeys. But also, somebody who is there to encourage you.

Q. (Coming back from last week?)

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Obviously last weekend, I had a really, really poor weekend at the golf course in terms of I just really found it difficult to play and concentrate. Purely I put it down to afterwards I sat down with my caddie, Ronan, and Ronan, he said, look, this has to be all down to Ireland.

And this week, I never did any I never went to the range at all. I warmed up before I went out. I hit putts two or three evenings for 20 minutes, but besides that, I did know practise. And the reason being is I felt that, you know, whether my swing is in the slot or not, by going and working on it was only going to tire me out, and I'd lose the mental focus. I said, what won me the tournament at the end was my mental focus was very strong. That's definitely due to try to rest a lot more during the week than I would normally in a given tournament week.

Q. (What would it mean to win the Order of Merit?)

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Obviously there's four or five people, four people, anyway, is it four people in contention? So any of us can go out and have a good week at Valderrama. It would be a big deal to me to win the Order of Merit. You know, once you hit September, you really start thinking about the Order of Merit if you're in with a chance of it.

Certainly I've been using it as a motivation after the Ryder Cup to get focused and to get out on the golf course and push on. I think if I was further back, I would have found it harder to come out last week and this week and play good golf. But the Order of Merit being such a big deal, certainly something you want to have in your C.V. and keeps you pushing on.

Q. (Where would you rank winning the Order of Merit with a major?)

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Well, the Order of Merit is directly behind the major. You know, end of the day, you can win whatever tournaments you like, but you're going to be judged on the end of your career, okay, how many tournament wins you have, and then, okay, you're going to be judged on did you win majors and then you're going to be judged on did you win Order of Merit and maybe your World Ranking; that's hopefully, 20 years time looking back. But definitely, I would like to have an Order of Merit on my C.V.

Q. (How did you enjoy the courses this week?)

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Golf course was fantastic. You know, they did a great job on them all and they played really well. I think Carnoustie was in unbelievable shape. You know, they did seem to have a divot on the fairway out there. But all three golf courses were fabulous and they are always a joy to play at this time of the year.

It was interesting playing off the new championship tees on a lot of these courses in colder temperature. It made some of them Carnoustie played very difficult yesterday, and, you know, last year we didn't play off the back tees on a good few of the new back tees. 14 is the toughest drive you can get today, and it wasn't even that windy. Hitting into a cold breeze, you don't have much room on the right. It's the only time you ever aim down the left and you see the deep bunkers there and you say, just don't hit it any further right than you're aiming.

They really are good golf courses and they look great. And I like the fact that they are three different golf courses. Carnoustie without a doubt is an extraordinarily difficult test. Kingsbarns is a fun golf course, really enjoyable. It gives up a few birdies. You know, it's an absolutely fabulous new design of a links.

And then you can't beat St. Andrews without a doubt. St. Andrews is St. Andrews. The great thing about St. Andrews is you do have opportunity to make birdies and then you have some very difficult holes on top of it as well, and it throws everything at you.

Q. (Did Bob Torrance say anything to you this week that helped you?_

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: What Bob said to me is go out on the golf course his last words: "These are the happiest days of your life." He may be a golf coach but he's also got some wise words. No matter how you feel going out there, whether you're not having a good time on the course or as you're going out there under pressure, they are the happiest days of your life so you've got to make the most. But definitely his coaching, unbelievable, the best there is.

Q. (Last time being close to Retief Goosen for the Order of Merit )

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Well, yes, yes, that's what I'm saying, we went there and there was probably 25,000, very close, and you know, both of us finished it's a tough golf course. It's a hard golf course to go into when you've got to perform. You know, you require a lot of patience on the course and it's hard to have patience sometimes when you're trying to force something out of a week.

GORDON SIMPSON: Well, JP, Padraig, enjoy the Old Course Hotel and a jigger tonight. Well done and congratulations.

End of FastScripts.

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