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October 3, 2007

Padraig Harrington


SCOTT CROCKETT: Padraig, thanks for coming in and joining us as always. First, glad to be back where it all began for you last year?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, you kind of take a look back at this about a month ago after a slow year, right here at the Dunhill Championship, and I think I won half a dozen trophies since then. Yeah, this is certainly the catalyst that kick-started my last year, and obviously it would culminate in me winning The Open Championship.
SCOTT CROCKETT: You've played today, how is your form going into the week as defending champion?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: It could be a little bit -- yeah, I think I'm a little bit rushed and probably not as prepared as well as I could be? But nothing particularly wrong with the game. Seems actually quite solid and quite good but didn't quite have the pace of the greens. Wasn't as comfortable as I would hope to be if you were prepared well for a tournament. You know, got to go with what you got.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Did you lose money?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, lost 6 & 5 to my amateur partner -- not the one -- no, it wasn't my partner, no. We just played a fourball match.

Q. With your injuries, how much practice did you get in the last couple of weeks?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You know, after taking the first week off, I think it wasn't until the following Wednesday -- I hit a few chip shots on the Tuesday, so nine complete day off, hit a few shots on Tuesday. Wednesday, Bob came over in the afternoon and we hit some shots and it seemed okay. Thursday, more shots, and I stopped I was so tired. So I had to basically take Thursday off again.
Friday I was better. I certainly knew after Thursday not to overdo it, but I was certainly keen and wanting to actually get out there and do something, and that's a good sign that you're ready to do it.
I think that I'm in a good position with experience that I'm well able to tell how I am physically and mentally and I can read those signs and not always respond to them properly, but I certainly can read them right. I suppose that's a really good thing to have. I'm able to tell where I'm at. I can definitely see that I was struggling, especially -- the thing is, I went home with a neck injury, but I picked up a back injury, as well. So there you go. These things all seem to pile up at once.
But I seem to be fine at the moment, getting a little bit of treatment on it. I wish it cleared up but it's the only one that looks like it needs a sustained period of time away from it but obviously I don't have that luxury.

Q. Will it be emotional going back to Carnoustie tomorrow?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I really think so. It's something that I have to prepare myself for. Obviously I'm going out there to play golf and to compete. On one hand, I want to enjoy it, but on the other hand, I want to put in a good score for the tournament. There is a little bit of a conflict there.
So I do have to sit down and think about it and think how I'm going to approach it, and it would be no fun unless I play well.

Q. Have you avoided the pitfalls many Major champions fall into in terms of feeling obligated to do everything you are asked to do?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: No, I would say I'm quite happy to jump into that pit in the short term. There's no question that I'm well in there at the moment and I don't see -- I don't see a way out until really the wintertime. That's the nature of winning The Open. There is a lot of demands, but I'm quite comfortable to do that, as I said, at the moment. I don't think I would be as comfortable -- I'm hoping that it tones down, and obviously golfing-wise, you get back to normality next year. But I'm quite comfortable to run with it at the moment.
But as I said, I wouldn't want to keep going through that. I arrived here Monday afternoon, Monday evening, and I spent ten minutes on the range yesterday warming up. I spent 15 minutes today, and I got 15 minutes yesterday evening and I just got five minutes there.
So, ten, 15, 15 -- well, I've spent 45 minutes on the range and I'm here 2 1/2 days. I normally spend three or four hours each day sort of thing. You can imagine, that is the difference. I haven't hit a practice putt and I haven't hit a practise bunker shot and I haven't hit a practise chip. You know, I have to finally accept that's the way it is in many ways, but that wouldn't be obviously the way to attack a tournament in the long term.
A lot of tournaments are now like the Irish Open. Before the Irish Open had a lot of things going on and a lot of distractions, whereas that tends to be -- it's kind of not quite the same as the Irish Open, but it's kind of like the Irish Open in that you cannot quite prepare the way you would like to prepare.

Q. What in particular?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: It's everything, everything.
You haven't seen people in a while. You know, people are congratulating -- it's all the good stuff. You know, it's just part and parcel of it. For years, you used to fight at the Irish Open; I used to really get upset with myself that I wasn't prepared properly for the event.
This year, I would have said my preparation for the Irish Open this year was as bad as it could be, but I didn't worry about it and I've learned from those experience that when things don't go as planned, when you think you're getting up to do two hours of practise and you only get 20 minutes. It's not something that you can -- there's no point in worrying about it; it's happened.
So as I've gained experience in the Irish Open, I didn't get distracted about it this year and I've kind of taken that, it's the same after winning The Open. There's no point in being worried about not preparing as I would like to. It's no big deal. I can win tournaments without doing that. You know, I just don't want to be doing it every day and every tournament, and certainly in the long term, you wouldn't want to be doing it that way.

Q. What are your plans rest of the year?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I'm getting four weeks off -- no, three weeks in November, and then I'm going to probably play Tiger's event. And then the likelihood is I'll probably play with JP in the AT&T. That's another seven weeks.

Q. Will you play in the Middle East?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I'm not sure but that's the plan, I said to JP, I'll probably play the AT&T and I'll probably play Target, and I'm finishing after the Dunlop Phoenix. So that's the schedule at the moment. I do intend to play less next year.
I realise that I've played too many tournaments this year and I need to reduce my schedule because there's so many good events. There really is so many good events out there, and often there's two or three good events in a given week.
It's a difficult task, as a modern player, to play less. I suppose this is where a player of 20 years fought so hard for the rights to get to be able to play all over the world and now we have that opportunity to play all over the world and there's too many opportunities. Yeah, my intention would be to play less next year.

Q. When you play the 18th at Carnoustie tomorrow will you approach it with dread or delight?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Well it's my ninth hole of the day!! You know, I don't think I've ever walked to the 18th on Carnoustie and felt that good about -- since I hit it out-of-bounds there -- it's been a tough hole for me. So I wouldn't say -- not often do I walk onto 18 and have a lot of baggage of my own but you have baggage of other people down there. It's got to be one of the toughest holes in golf and certainly one of the toughest finishing holes in championship golf.
It's just one of those holes that you've got to play it well and that's it.

Q. Michael Campbell made the mistake of resting on his laurels after winning a Major instead of pushing on - I believe he called you about that?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: That's what he was ringing me to talk about. You know, I took it on board and when you win one day you realise how many people have won majors and you look around and you wonder what -- the problem for most golfers is we put winning a major as a pinnacle of our goals, and anybody who succeeds at getting his pinnacle finds it very hard to do something after that. Sometimes the highest achievement is where the career ends and we can go back over many players and see that, not just with majors but with Ryder Cups and things like that.
So it's something that you've got to be very careful about. You've got to realise that you've got to set new goals and I've done that. I do have some priorities and I'm still trying to improve as a player. I've got plenty of things to work on. I'm keen -- I really know I have to get back to -- it is something that, you know, probably hasn't been happening over the last eight weeks in terms of -- you have to get back to the little things, you know, around tournaments, the nitty-gritty things.
You know, it's the little bit of practise here or there. It's sometimes the tedious work and shooting the 74 instead of the 75 and finishing 39th instead of 40th is what makes you a stronger golfer on the big occasion. I realise those are the things I will be focusing on.
Obviously my goals, but also I'll be really keen to get back to that -- to be honest, a little bit of the hard work ethic, working hard, doing the little things, as I said, and that will build up things. You know, certainly after the PGA finished, I had won The Open, finished the PGA and it's seven months for the next major and I can't wait for it. I want to play more majors, but that's not realistic. And there are other events; in order to play well in the Masters next year, I have to perform well in a lot of the events coming up to it. That's the nature of the game. You build your game by going out and play tournaments.
In order to putt my best performance in at the next major, it is by putting my best performance in at all of the tournaments. I can't just focus on one event. No matter how much I want the adrenaline of playing in majors after I have won one, I have to realise that every event, no matter how small or big, it's just as important in the discipline of golf. And that's where I see myself and that's where I've got to put a lot of my focus is making sure I do the same job at every event if I had won The Open, and get out there and try every hard at every shot. That's my nature and the way I've always been. Just because I won The Open doesn't mean I should go out there and feel any more relaxed and feel in any way and not try as hard.

Q. Anything you've said no to?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: The only one that got a no and it wasn't a full no, like a TV, outside the sphere of golf TV company rang up and said we just need a day of your time to do filming, sort of six-hour type thing. But that was, you know, sort of a 15-, 20-minute show on TV. That short of got the chop. But nothing's got a no yet in terms of -- no, I don't think anything -- some things have been put back and a lot of things have been shortened.
But no, maybe there's certainly been a few requests like that. I think especially outside of golf, a lot of times when people achieve things in sports or whatever they are in, usually it's at the end of their career and they are retired. And obviously I'm not retired and I think that sometimes from outside of the golf field, you know, I kind of think, oh, well, you wake up and you don't have anything coming around for another year and there's not another major for seven months.
But obviously I suppose you would love to do the tour of everywhere with that trophy, but I still have to be a competitive player and I still have to be realistic that in order to be competitive I have to behave responsibly to my game, and that means doing the practise and taking the rest.
So much of it is about being professional in how you go about your business.

Q. What are your goals now?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I'm going to keep them to myself. As we say, the last thing you want to do is throw them out there. People who have been forthright and told you their goals, they get judged on them every day. If they shoot 74, people say, well, look, told you could never do that.
If I go out and bogey the first hole here this week, I don't want it hanging on me, who does he think he is that he can do that. You've got to keep those sort of things private. Remember, when you're setting goals, you're setting ones that are well out there, way up there. It's pretty easy to figure out a lot of goals, there's not too many there sort of thing but I'm going to keep them to myself so that I'm not judged on them.

Q. There has been some criticism of you, missing Seve Trophy and all that, but I suppose people don't realise the demands on you?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: That would be very harsh but true. There is. You know, when you see Tiger Woods playing 18 and 19 events, something like that, 18 events this year -- 16 events, if I played the Seve Trophy, if I played the World Cup, I'd obviously play the -- why wouldn't I play Sun City? I'm very unlikely to play Sun City. Sun City is one of the best events in the world. You go down there, you're looked after like a king. You're paid huge money, last place, and we just can't do it.
I could probably end up playing 36 events this year if I did that. As it is, I'm going to play 32 events or 33 events. You know, twice as many as the best player in the world and that means that we all have to learn from who is at the top. He's setting out that every time he turns up, he's turning up to win. You don't want this attitude of playing lots of event and hoping to win. You want to really pinpoint them and every time you turn up, you're ready.
It's a real conflict at the moment trying to balance and especially as I am playing on the U.S. Tour and the schedule the way it is, having a world event in March, Masters April, TPC May, U.S. Open, June, we get The Open in July, PGA, FedExCup -- and I like to play around with my tournaments. That really takes up -- there's a lot of pressure on time management and a lot of pressure on tournaments. It is certainly something I'm very aware of. I keep setting out there that I want to reduce the events. My manager keeps looking at me and going, how will he do that. I'm trying to convince myself to be honest. I'm just trying to get it into my head that I'm not going to play as much and I'm going to reduce it.

Q. And of course in a couple of years Paddy will be at school full-time?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Well, he's already starting preschool, Montessori school. So it is -- you know, in many ways, it's something you kind of are going to have be disciplined enough to say, you know, not to play tournaments. I would have loved to play Seve Trophy last week in terms of if it was at home. But something had to break. It was either me or the tournament -- me or not playing. I know I chose wisely but it was a difficult decision to make. And as somebody said, you know, it was very interesting -- as somebody said, they were in a taxi and the taxi driver said, I play golf, how can he be tired. As we all know the taxi drivers -- that's a perfect example.
And I'm maybe worse than others that I tend to put, I certainly believe that I put more into a given day than most in terms of practise and working out. A golf day for me is probably, well, a golf day for me really is only breakfast -- I eat breakfast thinking about golf. Maybe lunch and dinner are the two periods of the day that I'm not thinking about golf. I might get two hours off in a day that I'm thinking about it or working on it on the range or in the gym.
It was suggested at the Seve Trophy, why don't you just turn up and play golf, which wouldn't be very stressful for me to go and play 18 holes of golf. End of the day, that's one of the things that's the easiest to do; it's the talking that's the hard thing. It's preparing to play, it's everything that I did over a week spread over two weeks. It's the practise, the workout, all that sort of stuff to get you on the tee box ready to play.
And there's no way I would go on the tee box without -- I find it very hard to go out there without feeling like I've done all I could. You know, I knew that wasn't going to be the case, or else, as I said, something was going to break and it was probably going to be me.

Q. When you saw the poor attendance at the Seve Trophy, did it give you some inner conflict?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I was hoping that would be the best attended tournament in Ireland and I would feel good about my attendance. Those are working days in Ireland, as you can see at the European Open and Irish Open. It didn't help me that that was the case and I didn't feel good about it. But I do believe I made the right decision for me in terms of the way I felt. As I said, even with the injury, I wouldn't have been able to play anyway full-stop. But I wasn't even sure the back -- maybe a week would have cleared some of them up but the back injury coming along, it wouldn't have happened. I made the right decision. But as I said I did feel bad when I did tune in and watch it Thursday and Friday.

Q. Have you spoken to Paul about his resignation as vice captain?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yes, I've talked to Paul about it and he pulled out for the right reason. He pulled out -- and I think we're all certainly at home, most people were keen to make up the reason why he pulled out. But after discussing it with him, Paul needed to set his agenda out very clearly that he wanted to make the team. By having it in his head that he was going regardless as vice captain was going to hold him back. Paul is a golfer; he's not retired, he's a professional golfer and he's out competing. And any time you have -- anybody will tell you, when you set a goal, if you don't make it clear, it's not going to work.
So he could tell himself all he wanted in his head that he was going to play his way on to the team, if he had a secondary way in of being the vice captain, it wouldn't help him. So he really needed to set his agenda out; I'm going to commit to making the team. It's my goal to play my way in; it's not my goal to be there regardless. You know, that would have been the soft way out, but it probably would have reduced his chances by 50 per cent if he held onto that secondary -- you know it was a distraction to him and he made the right decision.
I'm sure if it comes down to it, if he was asked the week of it and he wasn't in the team, I'm sure he'd jump on it; he'd love to be there. But he can't. As a player, you know, this is part of what we're talking about goals earlier. You have to make that commitment and get it in your head of what you want to do. If you lose focus or sight of your goals, it's not going to happen.

Q. Inaudible?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Well, I think Nick, he has plenty of time to pick two more. Bear in mind, you pick 13 and 14, or 6 and 7 -- so you pick 6 and 7, they are not going to be feeling very good that they lost out. They might make the best vice captains. If No. 5 has just skipped in in the last week, there's a little bit of rivalry there.
So that's a decision the individuals have to make and by the Tour selecting Nick Faldo to be the captain, they are giving him a vote of confidence to do as he pleases, whatever suits him. If we don't like what he's done in picking his captains early, well, we shouldn't have picked him as the captain. That's his prerogative. What you have a manager, you let him manage.

Q. Did you have some sympathy for Nick Faldo's situation last week and some of the criticism he took?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I think Nick's well able to handle it.

Q. Will you be using your new driver tomorrow?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: No, going further but it's not quite set up for me. I think I just need -- I need to be a bit more assured of what I'm doing before I put a new piece of equipment in, but it definitely is going further. I'm very impressed with that so it will go in there at some stage.

Q. Being responsible for Ireland having to go to Aruba, are you happy they qualified for the World Cup?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: So I was delighted to see -- and they are two good players. And it might be, especially good for Michael (Hoey) who has been out here, it might be the catalyst to prove in his own head that he deserves to be out here and good enough to be out here, because he is. He just has to believe it.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Padraig, thanks very much. Good luck.

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