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November 8, 2006

Padraig Harrington


RODDY WILLIAMS: Padraig, thanks very much for coming in today and joining us, and as the European No. 1 for a new season, how does that feel as we start?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Unfortunately it only lasts a week, doesn't it? Obviously I won a week ago and I got a week's enjoyment. I suppose at the end of this week, we'll have maybe we won't have a new European No. 1, but it's possible we'll have a new European No. 1. So it's interesting that it only lasts for such a short period. It's like a tournament win; it only lasts for a week.

RODDY WILLIAMS: How have you enjoyed the last week, lots of letters of congratulations and calls?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, there was a bit of that. And when I got home, I did quite a bit of interviews during the week, a lot demands and besides that, just took it easy, didn't do too much.

RODDY WILLIAMS: And how are you looking forward to this week, the HSBC Champions, and playing on this course?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, I'm looking forward to it. The golf course and the conditions are quite a bit different so far to last year. Seems a lot warmer this week. It's a lot firmer. The golf course is probably playing a lot tougher than last year. The greens are very good, very fast. So I'm looking forward to a tough challenge.

Q. What's the big difference between this year's condition and last year's condition on the golf course?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: The greens are releasing a lot more than they did last year, so that's putting a big premium on hitting your approach shots to the fairways. The rough is heavy and dry, which means you get a lot of flyers. So I think you've got to be a lot more precise than last year with the greens being firmer and faster.

Q. At the Volvo Masters, Paul Casey was leading in the Order of Merit race, but he had a little food poisoning I guess on the first day, was that a little bit of luck that you ended up being the Order of Merit winner?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, you know, it's a long year, and obviously it comes down to, you know, who get breaks at times during the year. It obviously was disappointing for Paul to have food poisoning the first three days and obviously had an effect the next three days.

I just wanted to go out there and have a good week and managed to finish second. I stuck to my job and I got a break with Paul not doing so great in the actual week itself, but I'm still happy I played well and finished high enough to win anyway.

Q. Given what you just said about the fact that it's only been a week since you've had the Order of Merit crown, is this sort of like the start of a new season for you; given the fact that you still have a lot of golf to play this year, do you look at this week as the start of The European Tour season, which it is, or is it just a continuation of the 2006 season?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Can you translate? (Laughter).

What was the question? (Laughter).

Well, I would consider, to me, I've got five more events. Well, this is the No. 1 event in the European International Schedule for next year, but it still fits in with the 2006 schedule for me. I'm really focused and I've got five more events and continuing playing for the rest of the year. Yeah, mentally, this is more of a 2006 tournament to me.

Q. Is it true you bought Paul Casey a beer at the airport?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I met him in the airport and I was in the process of buying a beer when his flight was called, so I did manage to buy one for him, but I was ordering it, and they just about made their flight actually. It was the same for everybody, even for myself; it was a bit of a rush to get to the airport and get home. Kind of breaks up any celebration you could possibly have.

Q. Would you prefer more time between actually the end of the season when you are crowned European No. 1, and 11 days later being told, well, here begins another season?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: There's only one person who prefers more time, the guy who has won the Order of Merit. Everybody else is raring to get going for next year.

You know, yeah, I suppose it would be nice to hold the title for a longer period of time. It only affects one person, so not a big deal.

Q. With that now in the bag, what are your next ambitions? What are your hopes for the year?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: For this year or for 2007? I think throughout my career, ten years now, I've won every great tournament, all the way up to a world event and a major. The Order of Merit probably sits in there just behind a major win in terms of something you would want to achieve in your career. The natural progression would say, world event, major next, or major. So that's the next step.

I've taken all of the other little steps beforehand. Is it a giant leap left, I don't know, but certainly the next step is a step up to, well, a world event first and then a major. I'm happy enough to skip a world event and go straight to the major if that's okay.

Q. I have three questions. No. 1 is, I'd like to know what kind of books you like to read.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I do tend to read a lot of sort of self help books, psychology books, sports psychology books.

Q. Why?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: To make myself a better player. But if I was reading socially, I like history books. History books, and, let me see what else ...

Q. What kind of history books?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: War history, different stories from different wars, continuation like that. Outside of that, maybe recommended books. The only novels I would read is something like the Da Vinci Code or something like that where people say, you've got to have a read of this. Or last year, Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson, something like that.

Q. When you play golf, who are you most afraid of?


Q. Yourself?


Q. Why?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I'm the only one I worry about. This game is totally about what the individual is doing themselves, and you can't control anybody else. So I know that my own golfing destiny is in my hands, what I do on the golf course. So it's me who I wake up in the morning and worry about.

Q. So last question, who is the person in your life you most respect; yourself?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: No, I would have to say my wife. I would have to say my wife. And outside of that, my family are the ones I tend to look to for; I look up to my family in terms of what kind of a person I need to be like, if I look to my family to keep me in check, let's say. So definitely my family.

Q. You won the Ryder Cup as a member of The European Team in your home country. Is that more pressure playing at home or playing in the United States when you're playing in the Ryder Cup?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I think there was more pressure I think there could be more pressure playing a home Ryder Cup. There's more expectations. There was more pressure when I played as a rookie in the States for the first time in '99; there was more pressure.

I think, also, in '99, there was a more evenly balanced support for both sides, so that made for a more exciting it was a lot more interaction between both sets of supporters, while in Ireland, it was a very vocal but one sided support. So it was a happy support rather that wasn't generating the same sort of tension. There was more tension maybe in a U.S. Ryder Cup.

Q. The HSBC Champions is the highest purse in Asia, the prize money, but would you like to compare this event to the majors or the U.S. Open or PGA, do you think this is a little bit more relaxing atmosphere? How do you look at it and is it different from the majors?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yes, it is different from the majors. I think the four majors, history dictates that they are the major events. They are the important ones. There's four of them and all of the players fill them up. You come to an event like this, and while you've got a really quality field, you've got a very good golf course and you've got great prize money, I think because it is a limited field, people are definitely a little bit more relaxed. There's no cut. They are here to they are kind of here to play good golf, and if it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen. While a major, I think you grind a little bit more. It's a little bit of a tougher week.

I think a week like this is in many ways more enjoyable, and it's the sort of week that you, as I said, you come out here looking to play your very best golf, but not under too much pressure if it doesn't happen.

Q. After finishing second at the Volvo Masters, what are your expectations and what do you think of your chances in this event, and do you think you will return this year, hopefully as the defending champion?

PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I think, yeah, I have been in good form. I'm very comfortable with my form coming into the event. I do find this golf course quite difficult, so we'll have to wait and see. I hope everybody else finds it difficult.

As I said, probably not putting as well as I would like to, and I'm doing a bit of practising on that and hopefully that will correct itself for the four days. If I putt well and I have been playing good enough golf, yes, I can win.

RODDY WILLIAMS: Padraig, thank you very much and good luck this week.

End of FastScripts.

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