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February 24, 2009

Padraig Harrington


RODDY WILLIAMS: Padraig, thanks very much for coming and joining us. First, can you give us a few initial thoughts on the week ahead and whether you've had a chance to see much of the course and your thoughts on that, please.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Well, I played 27 holes at this stage, so I've seen some of the golf course. It is a difficult golf course to fully remember. I think it's a golf course you need to play and play and play competitively before you understand all the pin positions, if you ever can understand the pin positions.
There's a lot of pins that can be out there, and it seems to be impossible to cover all angles. There's going to be a number of times during the tournament that players are going to hit shots, obviously before the guy can even read the newspaper, there's going to be a number of shots during the week where you're going to be presented with a challenge, and you're not going to be quite sure where to miss, if there is a miss, whether you should hit it short left of the pin or whether you should be aggressive up and around the pin, that it's open around the pin.
It's just one of those golf courses that because of the undulations in the greens, you'll never fully -- you'll always put doubt in your mind in the approach shots because you just can't hit it middle of the green every time. Middle of the green sometimes are worse than missing the green.
It's one of those courses you're just going to have to put up with and keep firing at the flags, which is good for match play. It is actually a match play golf course. You really can't judge that much until you play competitively.
RODDY WILLIAMS: We'll take some questions.

Q. Have you ever played a course where it could be penal to be in the middle of the green?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Oh, yeah, there's plenty of golf courses where hitting the green -- Torrey Pines, one of the best golf courses we play on the TOUR, I hit it up on the 4th green this year and had to chip it, the one with the little bank in it -- there's plenty of greens -- if you hit it on the left side then you can't hit the ball close.
Here there's a lot more of them, but it's something that we're familiar with. But as somebody described it to me the other day, usually you're presented with one or two greens like that on the golf course, whereas here there's a number of them.

Q. Given that you're coming off three of your favorite courses on the U.S. Tour, do you think your form will pick up now that you're here?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You know, it's match play. I think my form has picked up. I'm very happy with -- I reckon I'm two weeks behind where I should be, but I'm very happy with where I am and where I'm going, that sort of thing.
But Match Play is a difficult event. You can go out there and play great and lose and you can go out there and play average and win. It's one of those weeks -- you can never judge your form based on a week like this.
As I said, if it was a stroke-play event, I'd probably be a lot more comfortable, because as I said, I am -- I suppose I'm looking to show some form, and it would be easier to do that in a stroke-play event because I know I have 72 holes to do it.
Here you've got to be good from the start, and you've got to sustain it for -- how many rounds do we play? Seven rounds this week if you win it? It's a long week to sustain it, as well.
It is difficult to show form or to use to judge form anyway, for a player to know how he's playing.

Q. You said you didn't need to see Bob Torrance, that it was Bob Rotella that you needed to see. Have you seen him this week?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I've been working with Bob Rotella. Yeah, as much as I even knew that I needed to work more on my mindset, actually working with him even certainly helped -- even though I knew, as I said, I know what Bob is going to say to me, but when he's there I do it better. Yeah, it has been a distinct step up there.

Q. Just a word about Pat Perez. He said he was a guy in form. He heard about the draw and he says he's quite tired, playing six in a row. What do you know about him?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Pat has got the mindset like me that he likes to keep himself down and build himself back up (laughter).
Pat I believe is a very good ball-striker, hits the ball quite a long way, which should suit this golf course. I've built him up quite nicely in my head, too. That's the nature.
I don't think anybody can go out there -- I've tried this over the years. It doesn't matter who you play in the Top 64. They can all play. I think this is one of those courses that you don't know could be taken in any way, shape, or form.
If somebody goes out there -- if Pat Perez plays good golf tomorrow, he's going to be very, very difficult to beat. I've got to go out there and believe that I've got to play my game and bring -- and still, you don't know if that's going to be good enough. You have to accept, go out there and play, and see what happens. But certainly I think in my mind Pat is a tough competitor to go against tomorrow.

Q. When you talk about the slope in the greens, does it help that the speed seems to be quite slow?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I think it's the only reality to have the speed at a slower pace, because it gives more pin positions. You need more pin positions.
It gives pins where -- there are greens out there that if you're 20 feet inside of it, if the green was fast, it's possible your ball would roll down the other side, which would probably mean you can't get within ten feet of the hole.
So with the slower pace you can putt on the greens to the pins in certain places. I don't think they could do anything but slow the greens down here.
It doesn't help putting uphill because it can be very slow putting uphill, but I think that's the design of the greens, so you've got to keep the greens a certain pace to deal with it.

Q. There were a lot of 64s, 65s last year down the street. What would you guess would be a typical --
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I couldn't tell you. I really, really couldn't tell you. I have no idea. I know that somebody -- I'll bet you, it doesn't matter how tough the golf course is, somebody is going to shoot 64 or 65 if the weather is as good as this.
I think the design of the golf course has been set up to really, really test the players, but somebody is going to play well and hit it down the fairway and hit it long and hit it close.
One thing you will see, you're going to see an awful lot of shots hit close. Once you hit a good shot, it does gather to the pin. An average shot could move away from the pin. You'll see quite a lot of people hitting it to three and four feet this week, much more so than you'll see people hitting it to 15 feet, because as I said, the ball will spin towards the hole if you hit a good shot.

Q. How has your anticipation of Augusta changed this year, or has it changed?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: It hasn't changed. In what sense anticipation of Augusta?

Q. Looking forward to another major, having won --
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I'm always looking forward to another major. If anything has changed, I'm interested to see what this one is going to be like with the other focus.
My actual preparation and what I'm thinking about is the same. The only thing that will change is the fact that maybe I'll need to manage myself and certainly maybe even talk a certain game going into it to manage myself mentally, so I don't get carried away with thinking -- carried away with putting myself under more pressure to go out and try to win Augusta, as if -- I'd settle for playing -- how do I put it? You can't turn up at any event and put yourself under that pressure that you must go win it or anything like that.
So I'll be trying in many ways to deflect that tension or pressure away from me and just go out there and try and play my normal game of golf, knowing that my normal game of golf is good enough to win normal tournaments. But the key is that I don't focus too much on the results and instead spend more time focusing on what I'm doing.
That's the only area that I suppose -- it's not a question of changing, it's the only area that is new, and I have to be aware of and work on.
RODDY WILLIAMS: Padraig, good luck this week. Thanks a lot more coming in.

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