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August 27, 2008

Padraig Harrington


STEWART MOORE: We'd like to welcome the current British Open and PGA Championship winner Padraig Harrington to the interview room here at the Deutsche Bank Championship. You're coming in this week 23rd in FedExCup points. I know a disappointing week for you last week at the Barclays, but it seems like you put in a lot of practice at Ridgewood Country Club on the range over the weekend. You played here this morning at TPC Boston, a hole-in-one on the par-3, 16th. You said you played 16, so maybe you just called it a day after the hole-in-one. How is your game?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: The game is very similar to last week. You know, it was fine last week. I made a few mental errors at times, and it caught up to me. It wasn't far away from being good, but a couple of times I looked forward to get down around the greens and that's hard to do and you can't do that in a tournament. I just hope I don't make those same mental errors this week, but there's nothing I've got to find in my golf swing or anything like that. But I did put some work in the last couple of days on my short game. I worked hard on my bunker play and things like that.
But just the standard stuff; when you have the time you've got to put the practice in. I've had nearly five days off now, so might as well put it to use.

Q. How does this course look for you, shape up for you?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I like the golf course. You know, I missed the cut here last year, so that's not a good sign. But I like the course, I like the way it plays. It should suit my game. So no issues with that.
But as I said, last year I was tired coming into this event. This year I'm a lot better than I was last year, but I'm probably not 100 percent, or at least I'm not 100 percent sure what I'm going to be like on Friday. Hopefully I'll be ready to play, but I'll have to wait and see on that.

Q. Is the family here with you still?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: No, they've gone home. I've been out. I've been in the States now, this is my fifth week, so it's a long run at this stage.

Q. And you've got three more, or four more, right?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Well, I've got another couple and then I go home for a week and then come back for the Ryder Cup and hopefully TOUR Championship, as well.
Yeah, it's a long break to be here. That's why the family traveled for the whole month. But my son is back in school, so it's time for them to go home, I think.
Yeah, I'm happy enough, as I said, but it is a long run, as I said. It's a long way to be away from your own house sort of thing.

Q. I think you addressed this last week, but do you feel like there's too much volatility now in the points system?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: No, I actually -- I dropped from 4th to 23rd, and I think that's a fair reflection. You know, in the playoffs you kind of should be knocked out if you don't make the cut in the first round. I think that's a reasonable reflection. I think like most players, that this is a new system that needs time to bed itself in, and I think you'll probably find that next year there wouldn't be such an emphasis on making the cut. I think there might be a higher emphasis on finishing well in tournaments.
But I do like to see the volatility in moving. I think that the player who turns up at the first event and has a chance of winning it should move up a lot in the rankings, and that's what they're trying to get. I just, like most players, feel like the guy who struggles to make the cut and just makes the cut and doesn't play so well really shouldn't be as rewarded as they are.
I think that's what I would change. But I'd actually change -- I'd actually make it more volatile, if anything. I'd make a guy who's in the 40s, if he turns up the first week and if he finishes 5th in the event, I'd probably move him up into the top 20.

Q. Has it been difficult for you to get settled mentally after everything that's happened this summer from the Open to the PGA Championship?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, it's always difficult. I'm a player who plays with an awful lot of intensity when I do play, and I do notice the difference when I'm not 100 percent fresh and mentally strong. I notice that.
I do get -- it takes a lot out of me in any given week, and I do put a lot in. You know, I get quite an adrenaline rush out of winning tournaments or doing well in tournaments, so there is a little bit of a lull afterwards.
You know, I have come to realize this situation, and I worked my way through it. But years ago I probably would have been frustrated about it, but now I've come to realize this is the natural reaction of winning, and while you try and counter it, you don't try and fight it. You've got to go with it.

Q. You're on the Ryder Cup team, but are you obviously an interested observer?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: It's great to watch when you're on the team (laughter).

Q. Are you real interested to see what happens the next few days?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Oh, yeah. I think every week since I've qualified I've had a look at that table to see who's well ahead trying to make it into the table, and I've had my opinions all the way through. These things change as players, as things move on. I will be looking -- I'll be like everybody else on Sunday morning here, trying to find out who's picked on the team.

Q. How big a change did Darren Clarke's win throw into the puzzle?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Well, I can't see how you couldn't pick him. That would be my attitude. He's won twice this year. More importantly, his form has been very good in recent weeks, and he's played five Ryder Cups or so. He's had four winning teams, he's a natural partner for Lee Westwood. But it does come down to one person picking.
It would seem -- I think if you had everybody picking, I think it would be a lock, but obviously Nick could see different reasons. But if I was picking it, yeah, I'd be picking Darren. I can only see positive reasons for doing that.

Q. Padraig, if seems like if that's the case, that only leaves one spot open for either Casey or Poulter. Is one of them going to be justifiably hard done by, or is it their own fault for not making the team?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: It's hard to say you couldn't mention Monty in there. The guy has played seven or eight Ryder Cups, has never lost a singles match, and he's purely due a consideration. If Monty plays golf this week, he'd be a lot under pressure to play it, but if he plays good golf, surely he couldn't be overlooked. Now, essentially you've got four players playing for those two spots. It's going to be tough. Two guys are going to be unhappy. That's the way it is. That's the problem with it.
I said it myself, two months ago I wasn't on the team, and I said I didn't want to be in the situation to give -- I didn't want to be in a situation where it came down to that there was other options. It never is clear-cut when it comes to two guys being picked out of four. And unfortunately, Darren throwing his name in the hat last week so strongly has really put the captain with a tough decision.
Two months ago you would have picked Monty. It could all change this week. Paul Casey has had a very good solid two months, so you've got to think -- then again, two months ago Ian Poulter finishes second in the Open and you think he's going to play his way into the team.
As I said, any of the four guys can compete. The fact that none -- that they haven't actually played their way in, at the end of the day, if they don't get picked, they can't complain, if you know what I mean. You make the team or else you get a pick, but if you get overlooked, well, that's just the nature there's other good players out there. That's the situation I didn't want to be left in. I didn't want to be left in a situation where I was competing with other people that had a case for being picked, and all four people have a case for being picked.

Q. Do you think Colin has to play well this week to justify it, or even if he has a mediocre week --
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I think he's considered no matter what. My personal opinion is that he's never lost a singles match, and until he does, maybe he should be given a chance. That would be a way of looking at it.
I think if I was a betting man I probably wouldn't be betting on him being picked at this moment. You know, I would think -- not that you allow gambling over here, but I'm sure the bookies at home are putting the picks as Darren and Casey as the favorites. Has anybody looked? I'm sure that's what the case is.
As I say, we've seen in other years where guys have been -- like Nick might have other ideas in his head, who should partner who. But Darren being a natural partner for Lee, you've just got to take it as a positive.
Darren also carries the stature into the Ryder Cup, which is very important. When you tee it up on the first tee and you're playing your opposition, you want them standing there and feeling that they're coming up against somebody who has a bit of stature in the game, and certainly Darren has that. And Monty has that, too.
There's a certain element there. If you -- you're picking two guys -- I don't know if they're going to be picked, but the two guys with a lot of experience, they understand themselves. We're in a good position that we can feel this. We've got a problem in who we pick. But I suppose, so does Paul Azinger.

Q. Where is the Jug right now?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: That's why I've been late. I've just been doing photographs for the European Tour for the last hour with it, so it's somewhere driving around here at the moment with the Wannamaker Trophy, as well. That's what was delaying me.

Q. The LPGA Tour, this is kind of off topic, but the LPGA Tour has instituted a policy whereby its players must learn English. Are you familiar?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Well, this kind of probably sets the point out; somebody was reading the paper and brought it to my attention, as in when they read it, they were so amazed by this that they actually had to bring it to my attention. It is an amazing statement. The person that brought it to my attention did ask, does that mean if you're mute you can't play golf on the LPGA Tour (laughter).

Q. If you know how to sign in English you'd be okay (laughter).
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Well, do you have to pass an exam? Surely if you can say hello, that's English. Is that good enough? Who draws the line about how many words you've got to know in English?
Obviously some people are natural talkers and some people aren't. What if you have a person who genuinely struggles with learning new language, they have a learning disability? That's tough to ask somebody with a learning disability who might have found golf as the saving grace in their life, to ask them to learn a different language or else you can't play. There's people out there who don't naturally pick up second languages. They could make an effort, but it would be difficult.
I'm just saying that there's a lot of different issues to that. It's a big step to actually put it out there.

Q. I guess these are all points that they're going to have to consider as they go along, but do you understand the reason why -- understanding golf and the dynamics of the game as you do, do you understand why they did it as far as being able to promote the game and interface with Pro-Am partners and give speeches at trophy presentations?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I've seen people who speak plenty of English who can't give a speech at a trophy presentation (laughter), so that definitely solves that problem.
I've heard people who could speak English and I don't want to listen to them, too (laughter).
I can see they're trying to be -- they're trying to sort out something that's an issue. They've taken big -- how would I put it? You know, it's quite a step to do what they've done.
Obviously they might have tried to encourage people to learn English, and that would -- but there's a vast amount of naturalized citizens of the U.S. that speak Spanish, a vast amount of them. So maybe they should consider speaking English and Spanish, one or the other. There's a lot of places you go in the U.S. where you've got to speak Spanish.
It's a big step, as I said, to force that in somebody. You know, maybe next we'll be sitting for exams to go out and play on the golf course.

Q. Are there many players on the European Tour who don't speak English? You have membership from all over the world.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I do not know anybody on the European Tour who you can't converse with, and I don't speak their languages. But I always feel -- I'm always very disappointed in myself, but it's out of laziness that I haven't learned other languages because it is convenient, they'll always understand a little bit of English so you don't have to learn to speak Spanish or German. It's nice to learn a few words and that, but yeah, it's something that's lacking on my behalf and all of us guys whose first language is English that we don't learn the natural languages or the home languages of some of the other countries. But it's easy for us not to, because as I say, they will all certainly get by and understand a little bit.
I really don't know anybody who has an issue. But most Europeans, see, they've got English TV and things that they pick up pretty quickly.

Q. What was it like when you won the Dunlop Phoenix a couple years ago?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You know, the starter of the Dunlop Phoenix went to the same school I went to in Dublin, so speaking Japanese with an Irish accent, now that's funny.
You know, you can travel the world -- I have traveled the world playing and never have an issue. As I say, you do try and go to each country and learn "hello," "thank you," 'please,' in the local language, and that carries you a long way if you make that little bit of an effort. If that doesn't work, just point. "I'll have that."

Q. It seems like a lot of you guys get along very well with Cabrera.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Well, Cabrera understands more English than he can speak. You can talk to him, and I think Cabrera would have more problem with the way I speak and the speed I speak rather than the actual language that I speak. He knows from facial expressions and that what's going on; it's just he's not as comfortable to talk back and speak. You know, it's easier for him to do it in Spanish. It's not that he doesn't know what's happening. He has much more understanding of English than I do of Spanish.

Q. I'd like to ask two questions --
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I learn my Spanish from Dora the Explorer on TV, and Diego. That's who my son watches on TV.

Q. What would it seem like for someone who's won the last two majors, might not be able to qualify for the TOUR Championship --
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I think that's fair enough. I think that's the way the system should work. As I said, I think it's a fair reflection that I dropped about 20 spots by missing the cut. I think it should be very volatile. That's what a playoff system should be like; you've got to go produce. I think the system, as I answered earlier, needs to be tweaked a little bit. If I was tweaking it, I'd make it even more volatile, but I would give more points for winning and finishing at the high end and in the top ten and less points for just making the cut.
You know, but I would definitely have it that a guy who's around 40th and finishes top ten moves up into 20th, 25th, something like that, gives him a chance at winning it.

Q. If it is volatile like that, might they need to package it to present it as the one who won the playoffs instead of presenting it as being the season-long champion? Because it doesn't seem like the season means much until August or whatever --
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, I think to be honest, it is the playoffs, and that's certainly how I see it. I see it as a four-tournament deal that you get a little bit of a handicap starting off, and that's the way it works for me. Yeah, it's not the old system. And maybe that needs to be clarified over time.
But I think the FedExCup is working. It's got more players out here playing, more players interested at this time of the year. It's creating a bit of a buzz. It's like if players aren't exactly happy with the system at the moment, no press is bad press, is it? It's all good. Something like that, isn't it? People are talking about it. That's the main thing.

Q. Bad press is better than no press at all?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, people are talking about it. That's the main thing. We're interested. Players care, which is nice to see. They're interested in how it works. Yes, it will get better. It might take another couple of years, but it's got players out here playing.
I know I probably wouldn't be playing these three events if not for the FedExCup. I'd definitely need to have a few weeks off and I would take those weeks, only it's the FedExCup. There's something here to play for.

Q. Any thoughts on Poulter being here instead of trying to make his way onto the team at Gleneagles?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I think most people -- because this tournament, because the team is going to be picked before we've even played the third round here, I think most people would think, well, there's two sides to it. He could play his way in by going to Scotland. Top 5 would certainly -- just like I said, maybe a good performance by Monty might get him picked, but a good performance by him might not get him picked.
He doesn't have the ability to do that here because the tournament won't finish in time, and it also shows -- you know what, I certainly was going to go home if I wasn't in the team. I was thinking about it two months ago. It shows a want by going there. So yeah, I think, yeah, I would have. I would have gone.

Q. Nick Dougherty commented yesterday that he thought Faldo must have told him he's on the team. Do you buy that?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: No. No, there's no way. There's no way. Why would he do it? There's no point in doing it. There's no need to do it. What if Monty wins next week or this week? Nick is not going to pick that team. He might have ideas, he might have favorites, he might have everything, but nothing is guaranteed until the two names come out on that Sunday evening. I don't see why he would -- there's no reason why he would do that. So that's just pure making things up.

Q. In '99 when the Ryder Cup was at Brookline there was a little bit of dissension on the U.S. Team about the money that the individuals were going to get. Is there any discussion about the lack of payments or any money situation in the European team as far as playing goes?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: No, definitely. I haven't heard a thing about it from anybody on any side of the water since '99. No, no issue at all. Yeah, it's definitely not -- I think it's slightly different for the European players, as in the European players own half the Ryder Cup. The U.S. Tour don't own any of the Ryder Cup over here. So the money earned, it goes to the European Tour every second time. It effectively goes into our events and prize money and helps support events that don't have sponsors.
So there is a different relationship between our section of the Ryder Cup and the U.S. section of it. So in some ways the European Tour is being paid for the Ryder Cup maybe if the players aren't.
But players individually, you know, certainly it means a lot to a European player to play in it. No, it never comes up, financial package or anything like that. No interest in it.
STEWART MOORE: Thanks, Padraig.

End of FastScripts

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