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September 13, 2007

Padraig Harrington


JOE CHEMYCZ: We welcome Padraig Harrington in. Padraig, with a 7-under par 63, 29 on the back nine and closed with four birdies in a row. With the rain and everything, it's kind of an interesting day out there for you. Just talk a little bit about that.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, the rain delay was probably good for me. I kind of got a little bit frustrated through the front nine. I felt I hit good shots down pins and missed a couple of putts and this, that and the other and thought it could be a little bit better. I made two good birdies at 10 and 11 with 5-irons. But still, it just wasn't 100 percent, and it was probably good for me to go off the golf course and regroup. I felt a lot more -- a lot sharper when I came back out. Obviously I holed a few putts and hit some nice shots to make the birdies at the end. It was a good rain delay.

Q. You were where?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I was on the 13th fairway when we got the rain delay.

Q. Is this going to be one of these weeks where you're going to have to go really low because of the conditions?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I would think so, yeah. The golf course is set up for scoring in terms of you've got soft greens, the greens are at a pace that you can really be aggressive on them and run the ball at the hole. So yeah, I would think it's a good week for scoring.

Q. How much differently did the course play before the delay and after the delay?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Not a huge difference. There was a bit of wind before the delay, just getting up. There was obviously no wind at all when we came back out. I don't think it made a huge difference to the greens at all, and probably the fairways -- yeah, the fairways were a little bit softer. You know, there was no run when we came back out, possibility maybe of a little bit of mud even.
The rough was wetter, which sometimes is good. I didn't think it played that much different, no.

Q. How were the conditions of the greens?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: The greens are great. First out in the morning, as I said, they're at a pace that you can be really aggressive on. You feel you can run putts in. They putted very well, fair to say all day. Granted, I'm the first person out, I'm not the last person out, so they were in perfect condition for us.
I will experience greens like this at least twice a year. They're kind of like what we get at home in the springtime, the greens are just coming out in the spring or winter months. I'm pretty familiar with them, especially at this pace. If they were hard and fast and they were like that, it would be real tough. It would be a nightmare. But as they're soft and a reasonable pace, they're fine to putt on.

Q. Do you feel like you've had a proper chance to get your breath since Carnoustie?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I'm trying hard but I'm playing catch-up. I really am playing catch-up. Last week was important that if I played last week, I certainly wouldn't have shot the score I shot today. It's nice to play and shoot a good score and sort of justify taking a week off. I would have loved to have played the BMW Championship, but it seems like I made the right decision now. But yeah, I'm still playing catch-up. I haven't really quite got back -- I don't think probably until the wintertime will I get some serious break. I won't get a couple weeks in a row off.

Q. Were there any thoughts of just staying home this week?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, I certainly thought about it and discussed it and that, but once you're in the TOUR Championship you like to come and play. The fact that I couldn't win the FedExCup was obviously one of the reasons that might have kept me away. But the fact that it's a big tournament anyway was a big reason to come. I do like it here. It's really convenient to get to from Ireland, a direct flight. Yeah, there certainly was a thought of it, but I think probably, likely, no, I was going to come.

Q. Is that the longest you've had at home since winning the Open, last week?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, I had the week after the Open and then I went straight to the States and then last week home. And obviously the week after the Open I didn't really -- I was at home but I might as well have been up on Cloud 9 somewhere. I think I was.
Especially last weekend, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, I really made an effort to rest up more, and certainly that's paid dividends this week.

Q. Who's keeping watch of the Claret Jug for you?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, it's sitting at home. It sits on the breakfast table at home. It's perfect for coming down every morning. The first thing you do when you open the kitchen door is see it sitting there. So it's there.
I don't think my son is too worried about it unless he can get those ladybirds into it. But it's safe and sound there.

Q. Does your son try to play with it?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: No, actually he hasn't really -- he's left it alone obviously since the first day and the press conference awards where he hasn't really -- I think now he realizes he's not getting ladybirds into it, I think he's not interested.

Q. If you had played last week, what do you figure you would have done? You said you definitely wouldn't have played like you had today.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Well, I played the two weeks previous, so I wouldn't have played my best golf today, but I was sharp and made good decisions. I couldn't made the right decision to save my life in Boston. Every decision I had to make, I wasn't there.
So today, even though -- I wouldn't have said -- didn't have the ball in the best control today but I made the right decisions, and that's a sign of somebody who's fresh to play.

Q. So more than anything you weren't there in your head, not your game, not your swing?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Oh, yeah, we all work out out here. There's no issue walking around the golf course four days a week or six days a week and all that. It's the mental side of it and finding time to get out there and get your preparation right, get some practice done and all that. Playing too many tournaments, it just doesn't happen. It seems to be a common theme at the moment. It seems easy to go and play golf four weeks in a row, but if you're putting the effort in there, you just can't do it, especially if you want to compete.
You can finish in the middle of the pack, but if you're trying to compete in tournaments or whatever, you really have got to rest up. I suppose we could all see that with the No. 1 player in the world who comes and plays this type of tournament golf.

Q. It has been a common theme, all the tournaments here at the end, but it's not ending for you, right? You've got a lot more to go?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Well, I'm leading the European Tour Order of Merit, so that's actually my main focus from now on. I've got plenty of events. I'm on a big run now for quite a while. Yeah, it's an issue. I take next week off and then I start playing quite a few tournaments until the middle of November.
But I will then take close to nine weeks off during the winter. I think I might play one tournament in there, but I'm looking at really having a nine-week break.

Q. Do you know how many events you will play over there?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I end up playing in a year over 30 events, and really I should be playing under 30 events. It's a serious issue in my schedule and it's something I have to be very weary of. As you say, you see Tiger playing about 21, 22 events, I'm probably more like 32 events. Probably in an ideal world that's five, six events too many. But there's so many good events to play. We've got great events all the time, both here and in Europe. There's just so many of them out there. It's a tough task now to play -- to keep your schedule down.

Q. Based on where you might be, would you take another week off on the European schedule if you've got enough cushion in the Order of Merit?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I don't have the cushion. There's three big events left, really, in Europe, three big -- I would say the winner of the Order of Merit is going to win one of those three. I'm leading, but it would be a question of going into one of those three events and winning it because one of the guys in the Top 5 is going to win one of those three events, so I've got to make sure I do it, too.

Q. What are they?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Those three events are the Dunhill Championship, the Volvo Masters and the HSBC Match Play. They're the three biggest counting events left. Certainly anybody who wins that in the Top 5 is going to pass me, so I've got to go out there -- last year I won the Order of Merit by being somewhat in contention and winning the Dunhill Championship. So that's the way I look at it.
JOE CHEMYCZ: Take us through your round real quick, a birdie at 3?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: It's a long time ago (laughter).
Yeah, I hit 3-wood, wedge to about ten feet.
I hit driver, 9-iron onto the next, 20 feet and three-putted.
I hit 9-iron to about six feet at the 6th for birdie.
I hit 5-iron to 15 feet at 10 for birdie.
I hit 5-iron to 15 feet at 11 for birdie.
I hit 4-iron well left of the green on 15, the par 5, and hit a lovely pitch down there.
16, I hit 6-iron to about 15 feet.
17, I hit 7-iron to about ten feet.
And 18, I hit my hybrid to ten feet.
JOE CHEMYCZ: Padraig, thank you.

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