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May 7, 2009

Padraig Harrington


Q. Given where you are this season, how are you feeling about where your game is right now?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Obviously I haven't performed as well as I would have liked to, but things like that often happen, especially after success. You tend to change things and try and move forward, which is certainly my nature. I never like standing still. So I'm working away at things. I have to accept that when you do take a step back sometimes when you're working on things.
You know, I've got to clear my own head now, and I know I have a few more weeks to work on it and then I really have to get serious about getting ready for the U.S. Open.

Q. It's an interesting thing. Is that the way you've always kind of gone about your profession, that when you succeed you work even harder?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Absolutely. You can always look at my career, and every time I get to a new level, I actually step back and start improving again, or trying to improve. So yeah. If you look through my record, it's always been like this.

Q. Why is that about you?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Because I want to get better. I'm happy to -- well, certainly the road I've taken to get better involved a little bit of pain. I'm happy to go down that road.
I think the day I try and stay still is the day I'm retired.

Q. You mentioned U.S. Open. You finished eighth at Bethpage. What do you remember about Bethpage?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I remember a double bogey at the last hole. I was in fourth place (laughter).

Q. Okay, other than that do you remember a lot about the golf course?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, I can remember most of the holes, yeah. It was a good, stout test. I liked it. I remember I shot the low score on the Friday in the bad weather. Yeah, I remember the greens were incredibly quick. I liked the course. I liked the test. I liked the noise.

Q. Did you like the noise?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, I really liked the New York crowd. It was great, a great atmosphere at that event.

Q. What are your thoughts about playing -- you know the atmosphere there. It's a place guys can go and sleep in their car and sign up and play. What does that mean to you?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I like the idea of Bethpage as it would be more so when these guys are playing it. I'd love to play it when it was a bit more rugged and not as manicured as when we get there. It will be in perfect condition with rough, and it will be very well-defined.
I get the impression that Bethpage -- certainly how I imagine it is a bit more like an old parkland golf course but it's a bit more rough, a bit more rugged like a links course. If you hit it in the wrong direction the ball just doesn't stop until it finds some trouble type of thing, whereas when we play it, it becomes more target golf. But I would believe that that golf course, I'm sure it would be great fun to play in the summer where the ball is running wild, let's say, just like the golf courses I would have grown up on.

Q. Unless you get the same kind of weather.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, but with no rough and a bit -- you nearly need a golf course like that to be a little bit ragged in order to get the full enjoyment out of it.

Q. It is an old style golf course.

Q. At Bay Hill you were doing something with your swing on the range. You had head covers and two drivers out. What were you trying to do?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: That's just purely to get a bit more extension in my follow-through. That's all that was about. An extra bit of weight kind of drags me through and makes sure that my right side continues. Sometimes I get a bit lazy.

Q. Is that anything to do with your swing improvement?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: It's all part of it. It's some of it, yeah. No doubt I can get very lazy and not swing through, which seems quite bizarre. That's all it was, yeah, to help with the stabilizing the left side and be swinging through, getting my right side through.

Q. You didn't get any heckling from the New York crowd?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: They're mostly Irish.

Q. How was it Saturday in the last group with Tiger?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, it was phenomenal, and back then with it being a relatively new experience for me playing with Tiger, last group -- I think it was the last group, wasn't it?

Q. Last group Saturday, yeah.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: So it would have been new. The thing was to get used to the 50, 60 photographers down the fairway taking pictures. You know, things like that, you just get used to it. I played with Tiger again in Japan a couple years ago, Dunlop Phoenix, and obviously you'd have a few more photographers.
We had a running competition between -- there was two of us and two caddies, not Tiger. It was actually Ian Poulter and his caddie, on who could guess the highest number of photographers by the end of the day. I think 220 was -- yeah, somebody appeared out on the 17th hole and had a bib with 220 on it, and we couldn't quite see it. I think my caddie nearly crossed the ropes to get him to move his arms so we could see what number.
Things like that, when you first play in this situation there is a lot of distraction, but as I said, you've got to -- when you get experience with it, you find something out there that keeps you occupied and makes you see the brighter side of things.

Q. Did you hear anything that week of Bethpage that you have never heard on a golf course?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I don't know, I think I was playing with Monty the day he was heckled -- I was playing with him the day he was heckled in the practice round.

Q. I missed that one. Was that anything out of the ordinary?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Oh, it was a fantastic thing they said.

Q. It wasn't --

Q. That was a practice day? It was a backup on a par-3.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: No, I think it was 12 when you have about a 40-yard walk back, and he walks the 40 yards past and wouldn't turn around, wouldn't turn around, and eventually the guy said Mr. Montgomerie, and he did turn around.

Q. Did they say anything to you that weekend?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: No, as I said, it's a great Irish crowd. There's a lot of Irish people there.
I'm the sort of guy, as well, that somebody comes up with something original, I'll laugh.

Q. You laughed that day in the practice round?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Oh, yeah. It wasn't me, though (laughter). I like the idea of it. Some weeks it's great to have a big crowd like that.

Q. Justin and Goose said the one thing they heard over and over again that they never hear anywhere else so much is "How do you like our course?"
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I think people -- yeah, there was a definite feeling of people owning the golf course, all the crowd, rather than it being in any way exclusive. It's our course, and they were very proud of it. It was in great shape, a great test that week. They got behind it. It was a great event.

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