December 6, 2006
ST. JAMES, BARBADOS: Pre-Round
GORDON SIMPSON: We are glad to have Team Ireland with us, Paul McGinley and Padraig Harrington. Padraig, Paul said yesterday that you're playing well and he's along for the ride. How do you respond to that?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I'm up for that. If I play well, that would be great. No, it's a team event, you need both players to play well, and no one player is going to carry any team through. I think that's been proven in the past when both guys have got to play their very best golf and both guys have got to hole putts during the week.
GORDON SIMPSON: Paul, would you concur with that assessment?
PAUL McGINLEY: Obviously, yeah, it's very much a team event and that's what it's designed for. As much history this tournament has as most of the tournaments in the world, and it is a team event, there's not many chances we get to play a team events. Maybe more now than we did ten years ago, but it's a great honour and thrill to represent your country.
GORDON SIMPSON: Can you believe that so many years have passed since the win at Kiawah, although a different format?
PAUL McGINLEY: Nine years, ten years, hard to believe where those went. Life on Tour, it goes to quick. When you're gauging by weeks and tournaments it goes so quickly, but we've had good success since then.
Q. Can you go back to '97 and what it meant when you went back to Dublin and you had won this thing?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: It was a very big deal, yeah, definitely. Just you know, I think in Ireland we take our team events very seriously. It's something that Irish people are very proud when anybody in the country does well, but particularly in a team sport.
To win the World Cup at that time was a big step for us, and, you know, people appreciate it at home and certainly there was a lot of celebrations for a number of weeks. We were picking up awards forever afterwards. (Smiling).
Q. And does it surprise you slightly that the Americans don't seem to see it quite in the same light?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: We're a small country, so it's a big deal when we win anything on a world stage. So I could see how, you know, I suppose a little country attitude, any success is greeted well at home. So I can see why Ireland would take any performance seriously. The U.S. is a big place, so it's not the same sort of thing, is it.
Q. Is another success overdue; nine years with a team as strong as yours potentially, are you due another win?
PAUL McGINLEY: Of course we're due, but a lot of other teams are going to say they are due as well, too.
There's several very, very strong teams here this week and I don't think we're favourites. I don't think we're second or third favourites, but we're up there and we've got a chance. Anybody nowadays, the standard in world golf is so close and so tight, so of course we have a chance. But a lot of other teams feel the same way.
Q. You seem to be involved in some heavy duty stuff on the practise range, is there something you're particularly working on?
PAUL McGINLEY: No, no. Enjoying the Barbados weather and a bit of practise. No, there's no heavy duty stuff going on. I feel I've been swinging the club quite well. My results haven't been as good as I feel I've been playing, but that's okay. It's end of the season, I've got five weeks off after this. I think I've only play maybe three, four events since the Ryder Cup. I've played very little. So I'm using the opportunity to get some practise in while I haven't been doing too much the last few weeks at home; the weather has been so poor. There's nothing heavy duty going on, though.
Q. How have you found the course so far?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: The course is very good. You know, obviously both of us are very familiar with the course. We have been coming out here now for ten years playing it since it's been opened, and I think that they have made some good changes for the event. They have tightened it up a bit and it's going to make it that bit tougher. I think the strength of the golf course is the greens, even though they are in superb condition, they are going to be difficult. They are big and if you get out of position on them, you're going to struggle.
Obviously the wind is there, as well. So, a very good test. I don't see it I wouldn't think the scoring is going to be well, who knows what the scoring is going to be like. But I think the golf course is a very good, capable course, and one that we'll enjoy playing.
Q. You said you've been coming out here for years, is that family holidays over the winter?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, I kind of come out here preseason to do I actually come out after I've done my practise during the winter. I come out here to play golf to get myself warmed up for the season. So a kind of half holiday and a half sort of playing Paul comes out with me. We come out together and we play four balls every evening sort of thing, just to get ourselves sharp for the season starting off.
Q. In terms of playing the different courses, Green Monkey or this course, what do you play more?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Green Monkey.
PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, we play the Green Monkey regularly. But we have played here a few times, but not as many as the Green Monkey.
This is the first golf course that Fazio has ever designed outside of America, so you know, he's regarded in the world as being the best designer. So I think it's a real good test in real good condition and well worthy of an event this size.
Q. What do you think it's going to take to expand the importance of this event?
PAUL McGINLEY: Good question.
Q. Either one of you.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: It's interesting because we take it seriously in Ireland. It's a big deal, World Cup.
I personally would go with probably every four years. If it was every four years, then how often does a player stay in the top two in his country for that length of period. So it would mean that over a person's career, they would look for the opportunity to play in the World Cup every year because it may only happen for most guys a couple of times, at most.
GORDON SIMPSON: Is that why in football and rugby, World Cups and Olympics are so special then?
Q. Too many events; there's so much.
PAUL McGINLEY: I'd say a better date.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, if it was every four years, it would command a better date.
PAUL McGINLEY: Got to get a date in mid season when guys are playing.
Q. But to say something more about Lewine had said, it breaks my heart that the Americans haven't supported this; but the game started on your side of the pond and you have a certain different manner about it.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I would defend the Americans in that, because the Europeans, we're all playing in season now. It's out of season in the U.S. So this date is particularly penal for them. Everybody here, most of the players here have played tournaments recently, while the U.S. guys haven't played for six weeks.
So that's why it's the date that's off putting. So it needs a better date and possibly if it was every four years, that would encourage an in season date.
If you went back four years from this date, okay, each team would be quite significantly different, so players would look at it as an achievement to be here as we do in Ireland. In Ireland it's a big deal to play in the World Cup. We talk about it during the year, some of the guys, some of our European Tour players, they are thinking at the start of the year they would like to try to make it into a World Cup team. It's a goal for them.
Q. Paul, you were saying earlier that you don't consider yourself a favourite or second favourite or even third favourites. But what sort of advantage is it, the familiarity that you two have as a team having played together so very many times, probably more than most of the field has combined?
PAUL McGINLEY: Of course it's an advantage. We've had a lot of success together and we're very comfortable playing with each other. There's no doubt that's significant.
But, you know, the reason I'm giving you to say we're not even second or third favourite is World Ranking, combined World Ranking, and I think that's where normally where the bookies come up with the odds, anyway.
So our factor, of course, our team event, performance in the past has been very special. We've had some great memories together and Ryder Cup experiences, Seve Trophy, obviously World Cup, Dunhill Cup, and we played amateur golf, Walker Cup as well together. So we have tremendous history together and it's always a great thrill to play together. Even if it's for a four ball like we do around the Green Monkey here playing for a few quid, it's the same kind of thrill that we get for it.
As Padraig says, it's a big deal in our country. And we grew up in team events, we went to the same school, we played for the same football team, and there's a history there of team events in Ireland starting very strong and it's continued right through Ryder Cup playing in our home country. We're very lucky for that to happen during our career, and right through now, follow on with the World Cup.
So, yeah, of course it's an advantage, yes.
Q. Who wins the most money on the Green Monkey four balls?
PAUL McGINLEY: Who do you think? (Laughing) Padraig's normally winning. He won last year, anyway. Cost me $500 one day and that really hurt. (Laughter).
Q. Local or U.S.?
PAUL McGINLEY: U.S. It really hurt. I got a bit of it back but not much of it.
GORDON SIMPSON: Well, with a million Euro for the first prize, I don't think you need to worry about these side bets, do you.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I tell you what, when it's coming out of your pocket, you worry about it. (Laughter).
GORDON SIMPSON: Thank you very much for coming in and good luck tomorrow.
End of FastScripts.