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October 5, 2007

Padraig Harrington


Q. A 66 around the Old Course in this sort of weather, doesn't get much better, does it?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, obviously any time you shoot a good score on St. Andrews you're a happy man. No better place to play golf, and a fantastic day it was. Mind you, early on you're kind of pushing to get your score going, and unless you make those few birdies, it is a little frustrating. But once I got a few birdies around the turn, it was a joy the rest of the day.

Q. Ideal scoring conditions obviously. So you've been looking for something like 66, I'm sure.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, you feel like that. The back nine, it was tough back into it with the breeze; 12, 13, 14, 15, you know, all really tough tee shots off those back tees. So, you know, if you can get those through those holes well, you're going to play the course well.

Q. And not only are you defending but you're team-defending.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, I want the TV cameras to follow JP all day. I think he focuses a little better when I'm out of the holes.

Q. Give us a flavour of what your life has been like as Open Champion over the last few weeks.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I don't know, it's been busy, but all good, all good. I'm happy to put up with it. As I said, it's all part of the high of winning. I suppose all are different distraction in some ways, but they are all good. I'm only going to win my first major once and I'm only going to win The Open for the first time once, so I'm trying to enjoy it. So it's good to have it all.

Q. Anything surprised you about it?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Nothing has surprised me, no. We're all told about it, and you know, many players will tell the same story as I'll tell now of this moment. So, yeah, I'm not surprised but prepared, maybe not either. You know, it is -- but certainly, you kind of know what to expect and it has been a busy time.
But as I said, it's all good and I wouldn't have it any other way. When they stop knocking at the door, times are bad.

Q. 66 today; another good day's work.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, I holed a few more putts than I did yesterday, and that's the difference. Probably played -- might have even played a little bit better yesterday, but I hit a few nice iron shots, a lot of nice pitches today.
I really hit the ball -- hit a number of shots quite close and essentially holing one or two more putts and, you know, culminating shooting 66, four better than yesterday. But that kind of happens when you stay patient. If you stay patient for 72 holes, you know, maybe every second day you're not going to hole it, but two out of four, you probably will hole putts.

Q. You spoke at the beginning of the week about how little time you've actually had to prepare. Are you surprised how well it's gone this week, considering?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Not surprised because I'm still making mistakes out there at times that I will put down to just not quite being as sharp as I would like to be.
As I said on Wednesday, I hope I get better every day. The fact that I'm still somewhat in the tournament, you know, that's very pleasing because you know, I know that my focus should be better tomorrow and better the next day; whether I play as well, I don't know.
But certainly I should build through the week, and that's a positive sign for me that I'm still in there and I haven't blown myself out of this tournament by any means. I don't know what's going to be leading at the end of the day but I suppose the fact that we're on different golf courses -- and I think, you know, the back nine there played quite difficult. There wasn't going to be too many birdies made coming home.
You know, hopefully Kingsbarns will give up another good score tomorrow, and then we'll see what happens on Sunday.
Today conversation was good, actually it was. In fairness, if you can't find something interesting to talk to JP or Dennis Hopper, you're really going to struggle, aren't you.

Q. Good conditions.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, it's a beautiful day. You're in a tee-shirt, where would you rather spend 5 1/2 hours than on the Old Course at St. Andrews on a sunny day shooting 66?

Q. Any long putts?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I birdied three from two feet. I birdied 5, two putts. I birdied 7 from a foot. I birdied nine from ten feet. I birdied ten from ten feet. Birdied 11 from ten feet. Birdied 14 from six feet. And I birdied 18 from a foot.
So they were not long but they were going in. They felt like, you know what, I actually thought I holed more putts than that.

Q. If you're knocking in eight birdie putts inside 12 feet, you must be happy with your iron play.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, I hit good pitches today. Most of those were, you know, nice wedge shots.
But yeah, over the two days, I've hit a lot of shots, good iron shots but I've been a little erratic at times. So I'm certainly happy, yeah. I'm happy with where I'm at. I'm kind of positive rather than thinking that, yeah, there was some good signs out there, as I said.
The fact that I hit my pitches close is something I've always struggled on at St. Andrews. Over the years I tend not to make enough birdies with the short irons out there. But today was one of those days, I hit a lot of pitches really, really close.

Q. The shot into 18, you wouldn't have been able to hit that --
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: A tiny bit into the wind, so I probably could have got away with that. Well, obviously would have finished eight feet behind the hole rather than stone-dead. Yeah, you're right.

Q. Did you have anything to do with Darren going to see Bob?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Nothing to do with me. But Bob did tell me, and, you know, I'm sure that's a really good move.

Q. Did you see what he's done, out in 29?

Q. He's not been Darren this year, has he? He's been struggling?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: No. Darren's figured that out. It was always the right move.

Q. For him to see Bob?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah. And Bob coached him at the start, you know, knows his game and Bob has been a keen follower of Darren over the years. Even when he wasn't working with him, he would always be aware of what Darren was working on and he had an interest in him. He's somebody he would have followed and I'm sure he went through every step that Darren's gone through over the last number of years but in the background.

Q. Is there anybody Bob doesn't coach; Paul, yourself?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Well, one of the reasons I went to him was there was an Irish connection there and all of the players would went to Bob always are good strikers of the ball. That's the thing with Bob; he's guaranteed to make you into a good striker.

Q. Would Darren be advised to do that?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You'll have to ask him. I don't know. I'll sure it's his own decision but I can't answer the question.

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