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April 6, 2007

Padraig Harrington


LARRY PUGH: Padraig Harrington shot 4-under today. He's 1-under for the tournament. Great day. Congratulations.
LARRY PUGH: Wonder if I can open with a question and ask you what your thoughts are regarding the condition of the course.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I thought the course was excellent today, an excellent test. It's set up very well and some reasonable pin positions for making some birdies and difficult ones, but good mental test, knowing when to go for which pin and which pin to play safe.
Overall, as I did yesterday, I thought the course was in excellent condition yesterday for playing golf, exactly what I would expect right there so that every shot was important and no shot wasn't given its due thought.

Q. Can you talk about the shot you had on 15 behind the green?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, I hit a 5-wood second shot. I was tempted to hit -- I carry a hybrid as well and I was tempted to hit that, but my 5-wood pitched a foot from the hole and released over the green, 20 yards over the green just in the first cut or the primary cut.
I had a lob-wedge in my hand at one stage to pitch it up to the edge of the green, one hop onto the green with a bit of spin, and that thought stayed with me for about ten seconds before I decided to play a pitch shot, bump-and-run up the hill, the safer option, and if it stayed short, I'd try to put it 15 feet from the fringe. And as it happened, it just released out and rolled down to two feet.
Those are the sort of good things to happen when you shoot 68. You always get the nice breaks.

Q. With the conditions as they are, how tough or how much different is the course playing than in previous years?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I think the golf course is playing more like what -- right now is what I would imagine the course played like in the '80s when I was watching on television. It's similar sort of shots.
I think the course, it suits having a little bit of firmness in it. You know, last year holes like 7 were driver, 7-iron, and this year it's 3-wood, wedge. So it's playing exactly how would you want the golf course to play with this firmness.
I do expect the conditions to be equally as tough, if not a little tougher on the weekend. But you know, it's certainly a challenge and it's a challenge that's right there where you're -- as I said, every shot takes a lot of attention. You don't want to be slacking anything out there. You've got to give it your full attention.

Q. 69 was the best anybody could do yesterday and you did a 68 today. Can you imagine anybody going much lower than that?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Well, this golf course always gives you a chance to shoot a good score. So, yeah, I can see somebody shooting a good score, no question about it. You've got four par 5s that can be reached. You know, you've got great greens, great surface on the greens for putting. So yeah, you can make birdies out there.
And with the course playing the way it is with a little bit more run in it, holes like 9 I've hit pitching wedge in two days in a row. There are possibilities of making birdies as long as you keep your momentum going and you don't have a mishap. So that's the great thing about the course. If you play very well, you do feel like you can shoot a good score, and if you don't play well, you feel like you shoot a bad score. It gives you the opportunity, no question about it. You know, hit a good shot and you may make eagle; hit a bad shot, you've got a chance of a double-bogey.

Q. What was kind of on your mind coming off of the round yesterday and what did you sort of key on today?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You know, I didn't play much different yesterday to the extent that I just messed up a lot, a lot of simple little shots around the green. You know, 25 feet, 30 feet away from the hole and not getting down in two. That's what really stopped my round yesterday, killed all of the momentum; I kept making some silly bogeys.
Today I played similar, but when I got a chance -- when I create chances, I holed those 15-footers today and, you know, I was feeling very comfortable on the greens and making putts. So there wasn't a huge difference in my attitude. It's just it was a little bit different than a couple of good things went for me and I suppose that kept me -- kept my momentum going and kept me positive.

Q. You birdied 1; if you can talk about that and some subsequent birdies?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: The difference between my rounds yesterday and today is I hit a drive today straight up just inside the bunker, a yard inside the bunker, and it bounced dead straight and finished one yard left of the bunker. I hit 8-iron to 15 feet and holed it. It could have easily -- you know, if there's a little bit of wind, it could easily have gone in the bunker and I take bogey.
So there was not much difference in the quality of the golf shot off the tee, but it could have resulted -- it did result in a birdie. It could have resulted in a bogey, and things like that. That's the difference between shooting 69, 68 and maybe 74, 75. So that was a positive.
Second hole, I hit it in the right-hand trap like anybody else who is, you know, playing the hole correctly, really, and I pitched up, came out a little bit longer, ten feet long, and both my playing partners -- Luke Donald had made eagle and Jerry Kelly just missed for eagle and we all walked off that green feeling good. I hit a good drive up the next and hit a lob-wedge to 15 feet and holed it.
I double-bogeyed 7 which was -- I hit my 3-wood right into the trees and just short of the green and wasn't too difficult an up-and-down and made a mess of it. That's where I've been losing my shots this week around the greens, and I obviously will do a bit of work on that tonight.
9 I missed from four feet for birdie.
10, I hit a lovely 5-iron in and pitched pin-high and went long and really put myself in an awkward spot. I played a good chip to 20 feet.
11, I hit a drive and 6-iron, and that's about the perfect club to be hitting into 11. When I first came here, I hit 9-iron in. So the length that they have put onto that hole really does make it the challenge that certainly I imagined it was when I watched, say, Faldo win his Masters or anybody winning the Masters in the '80s.
Let me see, so -- lost my track. 12, I holed a 15-footer for par which kept the momentum going. I wasn't doing that yesterday. I was missing from 6 and 7 feet yesterday and today I got a 15-footer and I holed it.
15, I hit over the green, chipped it up to two feet.
16, I made a good chip-and-putt from just off the green. And 16, again, that being such a difference to yesterday.
And 18, I hit my tee shot right in the rough and it was blocked out, and I had 185 yards. I hit 5-iron around the tree to about 15 feet and holed it.
So all in all, a few putts dropped.

Q. Are you of the opinion that the firm and the fast conditions do bring a lot more styles of play into the mix?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Oh, no question about it. There's a lot of players here this week that they are, you know, slightly shorter off the tee and can compete on this golf course now because they can get the ball running out there.
And I feel, you know, for me, I also want to get it out there because some of the greens being firm and fast, you want to have shorter clubs in. Like as I said, the likes of 7, the likes of 17 and 9 are now all pitching wedge second shots which are kind of what the greens are designed for. Last year some of the guys, the shorter hitters were hitting 5-iron into 7, which is extreme into that small green. This year the golf course is playing excellent, just spot-on.

Q. Do you think that brings a different mood with the guys in the field that are not named Tiger, that are not named Phil, the guys that don't bomb it?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Well, I think -- I don't know. You'll have to ask them. Definitely I would feel that I prefer to be hitting a shorter iron into a firm green than maybe a longer iron into the soft green; around here, anyway, because there's always trouble near the green.

Q. I was just going to follow up what he was saying and ask why, why you think the power hitters are struggling?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: No, I don't think the power hitters are going to struggle, no. It's a big advantage to get any short club into these par 4s. I'm just saying the shorter hitters can get the ball running a bit and it sort of does negate the distance between the very long hitters. So everybody's -- but Tim Clark finished second here last year and he's no -- he'll tell you himself, he's no big hitter and he's obviously up there again.
So this golf course, it does allow it to be played many ways. It's not limited to one style of play.
LARRY PUGH: Padraig, congratulations on a good day and thank you for coming in.

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