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January 19, 2007

Padraig Harrington


GORDON SIMPSON: Padraig, it looked as if you might go very low today but I suppose that's the fickle nature of golf, isn't it, the second nine didn't yield as many birdies.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, you know, I got a nice run to start, the three birdies, made another two back-to-back ones on 15 and 16. Had a reasonably short putt on 17 for birdie. Obviously good chance on 18, thinking, hit it in the fairway, good chance of birdie and that didn't happen after that.
But I created a lot of chances and putted well and you know I just have to stay patient and wait for it to happen. A couple of errors here and there, but that's to be expected first week back to be honest. A couple of errors; hopefully I'll be nicely placed going into the weekend. Depends on what the guys do starting out this afternoon. Doesn't look too windy out there, but if I'm within a couple shots of the lead, two or three shots, well, whatever I am, I should be well-placed going into the weekend.
GORDON SIMPSON: Make you found something here, taking four weeks off instead of two months off.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: It's interesting, certainly after four weeks, I want to play, and I also don't feel like I've -- I don't feel as -- I don't know what's the word, I don't feel as detached from the game as I would after nine weeks. I still have a bit of feel around the greens. I still feel comfortable. You know, a few mental errors, but those creep in any way. Definitely looks like it might be a better plan to take a shorter break.

Q. (What happened with the tee shot on the last)?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: The 9th or the 18th? I don't like the tee shot. It really is a tough tee shot. You're hitting slightly across the fairway and there's water left. It's awkward up there, I hit a good tee shot, I left myself a long way back, 200 yards and I tried to hit a little cut with a 4-iron, lost my focused chickened out and hit it straight left.
Those sorts of things can happen when you're not playing. I am trying to hit -- I'm trying to hit the ball a little bit different this year. I'm trying to play more with a fade, more sort of drop-off shots to the right. So it's just taking a little bit of getting used to.
I tend to hit most of my shots today, when I hit a good shot it tended to be ten feet left of the hole. I tend to just try to get it to move a little bit more left-to-right, and 18 was a good example, but it was left-to-right -- or 9 was a good example it was a left-to-right wind. These are the sort of things that you come out with the start of the year, and you know, you get used to it after a while, but trying to play a little fade, it certainly caught me out there.

Q. (Were you trying to hit cut it)?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: No, I hit it straight left. I hit it dead -- well, I probably pulled it ten yards, five yards left of wherever I was aiming and I hit it with a draw if anything in the left-to-right wind instead of hitting it with a cut. I was trying to hit it sort of 15 feet left of the hole.
GORDON SIMPSON: 18 might have been a block, was it?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: 18, yeah, I was hitting 3-wood, I had 290 to the flag and I was obviously trying to hit it flat. When I went to pull the trigger I decided to aim it a little left and really lost all semblance of focus on the shot, and I hit it fat and it squirted out right and then it hit the scoreboard and went another 50 yards right on to the ninth fairway. We have no idea where it went, actually. So to be honest, it left me a very nice shot into the pin. Just didn't quite get the, trust the yardage, to get it right, which is a pity.

Q. (Overall happy with where you stand)?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Oh, yeah, I'm happy with the score. If you offered me 5-under going out, I would have definitely taken it.
I'm always disappointed to finish with a bogey, but 9-under par after two rounds, if you offered me that, I would have taken it in your hand with it and so on.

Q. (About position after two rounds).
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You know, that's what I'm saying, I can't complain. Last night I was in the Top-10. If you're in the Top-10 after the first round you're certainly well this contention. I don't expect to be outside the Top-10 tonight, so I definitely think I'm in position.
Obviously if any of the guys -- well, I'm well there. I'm happy. I'm happy. Even if I was two shots better, I'd still have a lot of work to do over the next 36 holes, so it's no great significance whether I parred the last or bogeyed it, or significance of what I do on the 72nd hole or what I do on the 346th hole.

Q. (About swing mechanics).
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, you know, I've discussed it with Bob (Torrance) quite a bit. I'm trying to play a straighter shot. Bob is trying to get me to rotate more through the ball, which means I get my best slice, I get my most spin on the ball when I rotate through it and I hit a straighter flight.
I would think I'm trying to hit the shot maybe that, say, Colin would have hit in his heyday, even though people say he played with a fade, he hit a very straight flight. So, yeah, it's really what's progressing from the swing rather than from, you know, when I hit a draw, I tend to get the ball coming in a little bit fast. Which is great in the wind. You can get the ball to go through the wind. But playing tighter pins and firmer greens, I think this is the way to go.
I'm really not trying to cut it. I'm certainly not trying to cut did it. I'm trying to hit it basically straight and draw it to the right. Trying to create a little bit lower flight with more spin, basically, rather than a higher flight with less spin, which is what I would have hit before. Maybe trying to trap it more than hit underneath it would be the way.

Q. (About coming early to Dubai).
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I was down here last week on holiday, I was doing some practise and testing some clubs. We decided that this is a great place to come up and do more tournament testing. You really don't see -- I could hit my irons all day on the range with a driver, but you've got to get it on the golf course before you know, you know, what it's like when you're playing there. And it's good that I'm playing well because now I can see even more.

Q. Could we get the details?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: 15-foot for eagle at the first.
I hit a nice drive and a wedge to four feet on the second.
I hit a nice 6-iron to about 18 feet on the third. So I would probably say the second, they were two shots the way I wanted to hit it.

Q. How long?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: It was a 10-footer. It wasn't that short, no. It was a good chance 10-footer, 12-footer actually. I did that; like I had a reasonable chance on 17, 18. Birdied the first; had a short putt on the second; reasonable chance at the third; quite a short one at the fourth; missed a short one for par at the fifth; had quite a short one for birdie at the sixth; reasonable one for birdie at the seventh; birdied eight. You know, through those nine holes, I played them from 17 through to 8, I played in -- ten holes I played 1-under and I probably had eight or nine chances, couple of birdies.

Q. (How do you enjoy playing the course)?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Well, as I said, it's lovely conditions for playing golf. You just couldn't ask for it. Beautiful fairways, it's not too windy, very nice, receptive greens, everything about the golf course is ideal for playing good golf and sort of breeding some confidence into your game.
You can go to a different place and, you know, the course was too tight, the rough too heavy, the greens too firm; it would beat you up and you would lose a bit of confidence. Whereas here, it's as nice as can be. If anything, this is sort of the course that would nearly make you feel you're playing better than you are, but at least give you the confidence; it will help you build your confidence.

Q. (How disappointed are you with the bogey on 18)?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: The funny thing about 18, I'm only upset with one shot on 18, my wedge. That's the only shot that bothers me on 18. The other one, I do not even come close to thinking about. Pitching wedge, I hit a nice shot and it came up 20 feet short and I'm disappointed that from an ideal position I couldn't get it -- I hit it to about eight feet. If I think I'm going to go through a hole in my head this week or any week without hitting a bad golf shot, I'm only fooling myself.

Q. What distance did you have to the green)?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: We settled on 108 yards. I had it at 112 and my caddie had it as -- which was quite, between the two of us, I think he had it to 104 and we split the difference.
I ended up, I probably finished about, certainly was about seven paces short, and I felt I made a nice enough shot to make it to the end there, maybe eight or nine feet, something like that.

Q. (On strategy playing 18).
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: No, no, I think because it was slightly out of position, I just didn't play it -- it was a lovely spot to be coming in from so I should have really -- that's the shot I would look at. You know, the second shot, I hit the stands. It was a long way, 290. It's the same as missing a putt from four feet; if you lose focus, you never know what you're going to do.

Q. (Did you think it had gone over)?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I did. Because we had no idea where it went. We heard it hit the stands and that was the score board.
We actually thought it hit and had gone up sort of just gone through, maybe finished in the right hand bunkers on the side of the green. To be honest I didn't expect to be that far right. It must have gone 50 yards right off the sand, so it could have finished a lot better. As I said, we were a little bit in doubt where it was going to go.
GORDON SIMPSON: All in all, a good two days' work, Padraig, and have a good weekend.

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