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October 29, 2006

Padraig Harrington


GORDON SIMPSON: Padraig, many congratulations, finally you're there, the Harry Vardon Trophy, winner of the Order of Merit, your 30th second place and probably the sweetest second place of all.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, obviously speaking of second places, when I made 29 second places at the where was it, the French Open, was it, or the BMW. I was kind of thinking, well, what am I going to say at my 30th, it's going to be a milestone. Well, this is one way to get over the 30th consecutive place nicely.

As I've always said, sometimes it's very good to finish second. You know, if that's the best you can do in a given week, that's great. Obviously it adds up to a lot on the Order of Merit today. Obviously I feel very disappointed for Paul Casey. A lot of things conspired against him this week, his illness and then for the exact number to come up at the end of the day, should have been playing The Euro lotto this week. They had Paul 7 to 1 from the bookies at the start of the week, so that basically meant they thought it was a sure thing.

GORDON SIMPSON: And came down it your up and down at the last two holes and Sergio's bogey at last.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I had a very strange week. I played 63 holes of great golf, and had so many 3 putts and so many misses and all sorts of things. My caddie just kept pushing me on to just keep concentrating and doing my thing and not have to worry about the results and just to stay focused on what we're doing.

I did stay very calm. I never lost patience over those 63 holes. Then I came to the back nine and got a couple of bad breaks early on again, clubs coming up short, going long. But for some reason, the last nine holes, it was vintage Harrington. I just willed the ball into the hole. I was just going to get up and down and that was it.

You know, 17, I was coming out of the semi rough just the first cut and there was a little bit of mud involved and pulled it into the middle of the green and just kept swinging. You know, my caddie, he just reminded me: Just come on, keep the head up, let's keep going, we've got to do our thing and not worry about what anybody else is doing, try and get it up and down, which I did. Certainly made a great up and down.

18, same thing. I find 18, got to be the toughest, I just don't even know where I'm trying to hit it off the tee on 18. It's just a very difficult hole off the left. Once I didn't hit a good tee shot from there, I hit a great second shot. I was lucky to have left myself a right spot on the number, 62 yards out of the wet rough, a perfect distance for a half lob wedge for me and you get those breaks when things are going for you. It didn't happen for the first 63 holes but as I said for the last certainly the last six, everything went for me.

Q. You kept referring to your caddie there, would you expand on the role that he played?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You know, caddie is very important and always has been for me. I think I've always wanted a caddie to chat on the golf course and keep things light. One of the big things we changed during the year, it was actually after the U.S. Open and from then, is not to just talk about keep things light on the golf course but he also now does the job of reminding me to do, you know, the things that I've been told to do by Bob Rotella and through my own experience, over the years, what I want to do, and is there to keep butting in there, to keep saying it.

You know, it can be very mundane at times, but his job is to keep reminding me to do my job. He does that very well. You know, at the funniest times, he can say, it's time to just keep doing your thing and not worry about what anybody else is doing and just keep the head up and keep going.

Q. What were you thinking after you made the bogeys at the first two holes, and what did Ronan say to you?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Super second shot into the first hole. Actually I'm thinking this could be stone dead. The second hole I hit wedge straight over the green. Again I'm looking at it in the air thinking, this could be stone dead.

So I've made two bogeys off good iron shots. But again my whole goal at the start of the week, and this is what Ronan had been reminding me of: It's not what happens in one shot. It's not about getting all upset about things not going your way. It's a long process. Obviously we were running out of holes, but his job was to remind me just to do my thing and to keep playing. And because of that, I did keep going at what I was doing, take my shots and everybody else look after themselves.

I didn't lose patience, and lo and behold everything went right the last six holes. Took a long time in this tournament for that to happen. Normally you don't go 66 holes probably before or actually, I went 67 holes where another week, you would be thinking everything was against you.

But I kept my focus, it was just excellent all week. I kept my head so much in the right place. Never got down about anything that happened. Thankfully, I didn't run out of holes quick enough. There was five holes left where things turned around and went all my way.

Q. When did you exactly know what gave you the Order of Merit, and what didn't? Did somebody tell you?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: When I finished, I did the math. So I totalled up the fact that it's a three way tie for second. I couldn't afford to have a four way tie for second, and, you know, I think it was reasonably simple to work out when you had the figures in front of you. It was only when I finished that I knew. I was actually trying to win the tournament up to that. You know, I could see the leaderboards. I started watching them with a couple of holes to go, maybe five holes to go and I could see that it was 4 and 3 under, and there wasn't much between there; it was four, three and one. So I felt you know if I could get it to three, myself, I would have a great chance, which turned out would have won the tournament.

Q. When you had done that, was that as good a moment as winning any tournament?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: It was strange to win the Order of Merit, and the minute I won the Order of Merit, somebody said, "Well, Jeev is in a lot of trouble on 18." So I had to restrain myself from celebrating and focus a little bit on the fact that there could have been a playoff. I didn't celebrate and probably haven't as of yet, has not sunk in yet. I think I have about 40 text messages to go through on my phone here, so that's when I'll start celebrating.

Q. What does it mean to you to be European No. 1?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: It's been a big goal of mine. It's been a big goal of mine over the years to win the Order of Merit. I've come a long way. You know what, as I said, when I started off years ago, I would be happy to be a journeyman pro. If I'm finishing 75th every year, I would have said I would be very successful and most people would have said that, too, who would have seen me turning pro.

So to be leading the European Order of Merit after ten years and to have won it, I've just come ever so far. So it's very proud for me and hopefully I'll move on from here and keep going forward and hopefully I'll carry the flag of the European No. 1 well for a year and, you know, who knows, come back next year better and stronger and win it again.

Q. Does moving on now mean contending for majors more so?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Obviously the focus has been for a while on majors, yes, without a doubt. The U.S. Open, like Muirfield, the Open a few years ago, they are the only two that I've played well enough to have won. This U.S. Open I was very comfortable and felt good about it. So, yeah, I do believe that the U.S. Open that gives me confidence that I can go on and win a major. Winning the Order of Merit is a different, distinctly different thing, but it's something that nevertheless that I'm very proud to have done.

GORDON SIMPSON: Padraig, congratulations again, well done to the European No. 1.

End of FastScripts.

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