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May 16, 2008

Padraig Harrington


Q. Yesterday you said you were happy with the way you played but not with your score; how about today?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Same, same again. I felt like I played a little bit better than 71 but happy to birdie the last for 71. I think I'm five shots behind.

Q. 6-under was leading when you went off; did you have a target score in mind?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Not really. Just trying to get a run going somewhere in the round but have two more days for that. If you work on the averages, I'm going to make a few birdies the next two round because I haven't made too many so far.

Q. Last tournament, you said you felt you were going to win all the way through, same this year?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: A bit harder this year. I wish it was that easy all the time. But I'm only five behind -- I definitely got frustrated on the golf course out there. I had a lot of chances. I seem to be hitting a few into 10, 15 feet, a few into ten feet, a few closer, but a bit frustrate that had they weren't going in.

Q. You come in here as Open Champion and defending champion at the Irish Open. Tell us about the support this week?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Fantastic. I got up to 17 and I think it was the first time I heard something to cheer about in a long time, when I holed the putt, as well. So hope I can make a few more birdies and make it a bit more exciting for the crowd. There was a big gallery there but a few more birdies would certainly cheer them up and cheer me up.

Q. Thoughts going into the weekend?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Just try and stay patient and hope it turns. I think if I keep doing what I'm doing, it's going to turn. 36 holes to go is a long way, and five shots isn't that much.
You know, nobody is going to find it easy out there. Who knows what's going to happen on the weekend; I'm just going to do my thing, play good golf and try to stay patient. Hopefully a few putts start to drop, I get some momentum, and certainly, 66 is certainly out on the golf course if you hit the shots, but also, it's a tough golf course and you have to do very good to be shooting over par.

Q. You played so well from tee-to-green, the number you added up at the end didn't represent how well you seemed to play.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, that's the way I felt. I felt like some of my iron shots I hit it close and then towards the end, I started losing faith in the putting. I think early on I putted quite well and hit some nice putts and was doing okay but I think a number of times I went to hit balls out of the hole that didn't go in and then I hit a couple of bad putts on 14, 15, 16, yeah, so you know, maybe a careless 3-putt on 15.
You know that's what happens on days when you play well. You feel like you should be doing better. You know, I've just got to stay patient and just wait for the putts to drop.

Q. And five shots off the lead, heading into the weekend, it's doable, though, isn't it?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I had not looked at a leaderboard all day and I was greatly encouraged birdieing the last to only be five behind is quite good. I thought eight or nine might be leading so I'm positive.

Q. You're frustrated with how you played on the greens; but you gave yourself so many chances.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: That's always the nature of the game, the better you play tee-to-green, the worse you putt. It's just a fact that putts tend to be -- even though they are for birdie, tend to be that range, 10, 15 feet and they are tough to hole. If you keep hitting good putts all week, eventually you will get a run where you'll drop four or five in the round and that's when you're going to shoot the 66.

Q. Judging by the atmosphere the first two days and especially today, it's going it be a hectic atmosphere on Saturday and Sunday, I'm sure you want to be part of that?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: As I said it was a great crowd out there today and would have been nice to maybe hole a few putts or make a few birdies to give them something to cheer about, but maybe I'm holding it all back for the weekend.

Q. Around this time last night, two Ryder Cup colleagues and Patriots described the golf course as a monster, greens too firm and playing too many long irons into greens, etc., etc., what's your view on that?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I agree that the greens were designed for shorter irons. Actually I like it. It's very intimidating off the tee. The fairways are incredibly narrow. You hit that 17th fairway, it's a hard angle, first of all and there's a slope in the fairway and maybe it's 24 yards wide, and it feels like it's less because it's -- that's pretty tough when you know you hit it in the rough, especially as I did watching TV last night, I saw one ball go in the left tree so a bit wary of that myself. So you can't afford to miss a fairway. There's a lot of tight shots on the golf course.
I don't have a problem with the length. I don't have a problem with the firmness of the greens. Probably if it was my tournament, I'd certainly widen some of the fairways. It would not necessarily make them easier, but I would certainly widen the fairways and have a bit more imagination around the greens. That would be my -- but I actually quite -- you know maybe if the fairways were a bit firmer, they are not too bad. It's long but it's kind of what we expect nowadays.

Q. But a monster?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: It's a big course. I've got to say it's a big course. I think pin positions have been reasonable. They haven't had to go over board with it. I'd rather playing a longer golf course with reasonable pin positions than a shorter course with tricky pin positions. Just, you know, courses, capabilities, throw in some wedge, capable of being a monster but in this weather, no, it's good play. A lot of mid-irons and 6- and 7-irons. I think you'll get very few wedges in your hands.
But no, not a monster. You know, today the four par 5s were 3-woods off a couple of tee boxes. They were all mid-irons or 5-irons. So no, I think it played well today I would have said. Just as I said, there are certain areas where they could make the golf course fairer in terms of maybe slightly wider fairways and some runoffs around the greens. They will probably make it tougher but certainly a more enjoyable test.

Q. Have you had a look to see how the Irish guys are doing and is it important to see that a number of going into contention on the weekend? There's four under par.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I didn't know -- to answer your question. I haven't looked at the leaderboard. I probably would have a look to see who is doing what, yes.

Q. How important is it to have Irish golfers in contention?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I think it is important that we have a number of Irish guys there. If I don't win this week, I hope another Irish guy does. I hope that's an exciting event and I hope that, you know, I beat somebody in a playoff. (Laughter).

Q. You were doing stretches out there, any problems?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: No. It's a big day, there's no question. You always expect that in the afternoon on a golf course that doesn't give up -- with no wind, certainly approach shots with no wind, but obviously with the firm greens --

Q. John Paramor was on the fairway --
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: We were on the clock for a few holes - we were a hole behind.

Q. Do you have any superstitions?
My son has been practicing this magic trick and you need a coin to do the trick. You have to mark the coin so when he marked it and I said, oh, that's got to be lucky. I said, oh, I'm going to use that coin - it could be lucky.

Q. Not wearing any lucky underpants or anything?

I had a 5- or 6-footer on 17 and it's interesting -- you know, you hole a putt and you feel good. But I felt terrible after I hit a bad wedge on 15, I felt terrible over the putt. I felt terrible on 16. And all of a sudden I play 17 badly, hole the putt and feel great coming down 18.

Q. 13, you it looked like you couldn't believe it lipped-out.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: 14 I hit a bad putt. 13 I hit about a 15-footer that was right-to-left and actually got into the hole on the right-hand side -- I had three putts like that today that missed. It happens.

Q. Do you just say, it's one of those days?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I ignore it all the way, but hit a bad putt on 14, and started to lose -- I hit a terrible putt on 16. I would love to tell you that I was the best-disciplined man in the world and could totally blank everything, but I had lost my patience at that stage and I did hit an ugly putt on 14 and an ugly one on 16 which is the direct result of not believing that the ball was going to go in the hole.

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