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June 4, 2008

Padraig Harrington


STEWART MOORE: I'd like to welcome the British Open champion, at the interview room here at the Stanford St. Jude. Back here in Memphis for another year, your first time playing was last year. Let's get some opening comments on the golf course at your round this morning.
PADGRAIG HARRINGTON: The course is still as difficult and still as good a last year. Very good test, great condition, and golf course you look forward to playing.
STEWART MOORE: Talk about your game coming into this week.
PADGRAIG HARRINGTON: Interesting time. I'm happy with my game physically, you know. Mentally kind of this time of the year I try to switch off a bit. So I've been stroking with the focus and just more with my mindset going out and maybe being a little hard on myself, maybe seeking perfection a bit too much.
I tend to do that every year around this time. So, you know, I'm obviously very much focused on trying to get my head in the right place and get everything right going out on the course.
STEWART MOORE: You mentioned every time about "this time of the year." What is it about this time of year?
PADGRAIG HARRINGTON: No idea. Ever since I was a amateur, 20 years always struggle in the May, always, maybe I was doing exams for a number of years or something like that. Whatever it is, I'd say in 20 years of golf, I might have had one or two decent performances in this period of time and generally struggle at this time of the year.
STEWART MOORE: Pretty good in mid-July, though?
PADGRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah. You go through a bit of the burn patch and spurs you on. (Mark) I missed the cut last year, missed the cut at U.S. Open, coming off a win at the Irish Open. What happened in between.

Q. With the schedule you're trying to play, what goes into your decision to play here in the last couple years?
PADGRAIG HARRINGTON: My decision is very much based on the make of championships. I like to play the two weeks before each Major. I find it gets me -- gets my focus right, gets me competitive so that when I turn up at a Major, I'm ready to go, I'm not trying to find anything that week.
I think if I -- what I have done in the past when I take weeks off, I tend to get into working on my swing, getting into my technique, and where as that's good for the long-term, it's not good for playing in tournaments coming out.
I definitely need to be on the golf course with one ball to get my head in the right place and to be sharp and to be making the right decisions.
Two weeks competitive golf is always best. It's nice on a golf course like this, you know. But as I said, I'd be playing somewhere this week, some tournament at this stage to get ready for next week. But it's nice to come to Memphis and play a really nice course, really nice tournament.

Q. Just to follow-up on that. Tiger said he wouldn't consider playing in Memphis because of his injury because of the course because he didn't feel it was a set up that would, you know, it would be useful to get him prepared for the Open. Do you put any credence into that yourself?
PADGRAIG HARRINGTON: Everybody is different. That's the great thing about golf. Certainly you wouldn't, you know -- Tiger has won more Majors than anybody else playing at the moment in Major golf. He wouldn't want to say his preparation doesn't work for him, but I know what works for me. And that's the main thing is you can't be worried about what suits somebody else is not naturally what suits the next guy.
He's doing, showing what he needs to do, and I'm saying what I need to do. That's the most important thing that everybody looks at their own game, what they need, and definitely some players play better after a break. Other players have -- play better in a run of tournaments. I just need to play golf in order to be competitive and sharp.

Q. Have you been sitting back lately?
PADGRAIG HARRINGTON: You never wait for anything to pass you in this game. You generally fight it first. We never have the patience to just sit back and accept it. Different days, you know, you go back -- I work with Robert Keller. I go back and read the books, read my notes. I get in and analyze what's happening, and I try work my way through it.
There's no question one of the best motivations in this game is not to play well for a period of time and most -- a lot of golfers after they win tend to slacken off a little bit. It's not they slacken off the work ethic or anything like that, they might get a little bit distracted by it.
It works the other way, too. If you're not having a good run, sometimes it's painful to go through it. Usually when you come out the far side, you have a couple of wins or more wins because of this, your motivation and you got going.
During that period of time, you know, it's just a question of getting back to basics, rededicating yourself to doing the right things over and over and trying to stay patient. It's still a story. You have to be patient and wait with confidence, which is very hard thing to do. But that's what you have to do, you have to wait with confidence.

Q. After winning a Major last year, what was life like for you after that?
PADGRAIG HARRINGTON: It was -- you know, it was more distracting -- initially distracting to the golf game, but I would say more distracting to my practice and training. It was tough to, you know -- you know, you were always -- you weren't physically ready to get into the gym and things like that.

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