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August 9, 2009

Padraig Harrington


SCOTT CROCKETT: Padraig, many thanks for coming in and joining us. We appreciate you doing that. I know it wasn't the result that you had hoped for, but just give us your thoughts on today. It was a remarkable day for those of us watching. What was it like to be involved in it?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, it was a great match, a great battle as I said it would be yesterday. I was thoroughly enjoying it all the way through, really was enjoying it, really got into it through the end of the front nine all the way through the back nine was particularly -- yeah, right in there in the zone, which was very nice. It really was a good match at that stage.
SCOTT CROCKETT: It was a remarkable start, but you did very well to hang in there and get then back in front.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, I did nothing wrong, but I prefer in my own play -- I'd obviously prefer if he didn't start as well, but I'd prefer the other player to play well and me to play badly at the start if you're going to make up the shots. You can't argue with starting with four or five pars on that golf course. It's not a bad start, especially when you're leading the tournament. I started with ten of them, so that wasn't too bad.
So most of the way -- I started off quite positive. After six holes, I started getting quite aggressive and playing the shots, and from 6 through to -- really 6 all the way through to 16 I hit a lot of the shots. I went after pins, I hit the ball well. I was well in the zone and felt it was buzzing along.
SCOTT CROCKETT: So give us your take on what happened at 16.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You know, the tee shot, if you're going to go for the green in two you've got to hit it right down the right-hand side. I wasn't unhappy to have missed the fairway right. It's not the end of the world. I rushed my second shot chipping it out and didn't hit a good shot and obviously left myself in trouble. I hit a pretty decent third shot. Again, I had an awkward fourth shot. I had to go after it and probably rushed that a bit, as well. That was the end of that.

Q. You said rushed twice. Did they actually talk to you on the 16th tee about picking up the pace?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: No, they put us on the clock. It wasn't pick up the pace, it was on the clock. It's an awkward situation. There are rules and the players make the rules and we've got to apply them. Obviously it was a difficult situation, and you don't want to get out of position. If you're put on the clock, you always want to be nicely in position so you're not having to think too much. I got out of position with my tee shot, my second shot and my third shot, and that's a very awkward situation. If you're in position, you've got 50 seconds or 40 seconds or something to hit the shot. You couldn't take that long to hit a shot. It's only when you get out of position that all of a sudden you start thinking about it. I got out of position and just got myself out of the zone.

Q. As much as everything on 16 didn't go your way, how much was it the fact that he hit such a stellar third shot --
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: He hit a great third shot, yeah. That didn't affect me at all. I was one shot ahead. I was in good position at that stage. The shot that cost me was my second shot. I'm one shot ahead and I've got an opportunity to knock it down there, not the toughest shot in the world to leave myself lob wedge, and he's in trouble. Well, not in trouble, but he's got a difficult third shot. And I knocked it out of position, he's got to be feeling good at that stage. It was a superb golf shot. It was a phenomenal shot. I struggled to hit that green with a lob wedge, so it was pretty impressive. He's hitting an 8 iron or something like that in there. It was a great shot. Yeah, it was a great shot, but I was having my own troubles at that stage.

Q. I meant about your fourth shot, your choice to hit the flop.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Well, there was no other choice off a downslope. If I could have played a pitch and run I would have gladly, but there was no choice. You've got to swing out and hit it. I certainly wasn't going to back off and not try to get it up-and-down. I could have chipped it sideways and made sure of making 6. But no, I was -- my chance to win that tournament, I knew I was going to make par there and go after it. But that's my nature in those situations. I just hit the shot poorly, which is unfortunate.

Q. How shocking was it to see that shot come out that way, that fourth shot, the way it did?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: It wasn't shocking, it was disappointing. It was a tough shot. You know, it's on a downslope. You've got to swing at it on a downslope. You've got to hit it. I just got it a little bit -- too much on the club face and didn't get under it enough, and it came out too strong. Unfortunately it came out spinning and strong. I would have been better off with no grooves in the wedge. That would have helped me. Next year I'll be okay. (Laughter).

Q. While rules are rules, do you think you could have been cut a little slack given the circumstances?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I don't know, it's all rules. We set the rules. It's up to us. Maybe they'll bring it up and do something. But how much is out of position? If we were two holes out of position, you know, surely we should be on the clock. It's difficult in that situation. You know, you're in the last group on a windy day, it's going to be tough to be on -- in the last group on a windy day, it is going to be tough to be within the time frame. But it would be unfair -- if you're asking a player two or three groups ahead of the lead to play within a certain time frame, it's unfair to give the leaders any leeway. That's the way.
As I said, the key is you've got to react right when it happens, and I got slightly out of position, and out of position is a difficult position to be on the clock. In position, bundles of time to hit it, so it's not like it's an issue. But definitely I just got caught by being out of position with my tee shot, my second shot and my third shot.

Q. With all the talk about your swing changes, do you feel good about the way it held up this week, and especially today, battling Tiger?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You know, to be honest, you wouldn't see my swing changes in there as of yet. It wasn't my swing holding up, it was me holding up. I would say that whereas I found what I'm looking for would be a few more, I don't know, might be a little bit better, but it'll be a few more months until it's worked in. I'm very positive about where my swing is going, but I do take comfort from the fact that I performed and did my thing today for most of the day and I learned from that on 16 and won't let it happen again.

Q. Arnold Palmer nicknamed the 16th hole the monster, but lately it hasn't been much of one. If it's not the last round of the tournament is it that daunting anymore?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: It's a tough hole, I have to say. You get a swirling wind in there and you've got to be very committed to the third shot. Yeah, this week it played downwind a lot of times so it wasn't a big hole. But no, it's -- I took 6 and 8 the last two days, so I certainly think it's a bit of a monster.

Q. You mentioned the second shot on 16. What club was that, and did you just hit it too far or did you pull it?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I was chipping out with a 5-iron. I was trying to hit that down to about 80 yards, 90 yards short. When I went to hit it, I just pulled it a little bit. I kind of drew it a little bit rather than anything else. I had about a five-yard gap to go right of the bunker. It needed to be executed properly, let's say, the second shot, and it wasn't.

Q. They made a discussion on television that you guys were put on the clock on 16. Were you rushed at all?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, as I said, when you're out of position, it's difficult to be on the clock. I was out of position on the tee shot, second shot and third shot. You've got to be pretty straightforward when you're in position, but as I said, I was in trouble every time, and it just puts a little bit of added doubt into the equation, and certainly knocked me out of my comfort zone.

Q. How quick will you get this out of your system, the 16th hole?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I think it's pretty much out of my system now. You know, I'll probably be a better player because of it. So that's a good thing. You learn from these things.
You know, the overall -- yeah, I don't see it being an issue. I've got the PGA next week, bigger things -- well, other things ahead of me. So at the end of the day, when I start hitting shots tomorrow, today will be forgotten about. I'll certainly not be too happy going to bed tonight, I'll be thinking about it. But when I get up and start working tomorrow, it will be all in the back of my mind.

Q. Irrespective of how it ended, Tiger was 5-under, could have been 8-under on the front nine. You, however -- most people buckle, you didn't. You actually got back and then got the lead. Do you take some positive out of the fact that you sort of stared him down to that level?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You know, as we've known, I've done it a couple of times before. It wasn't a question of me managing myself out there today. I did do that nicely. But as I said yesterday, you know, I'd be in the same sort of situation whether I was coming up against anybody. I've got to work hard to play my game, and yeah, I did it nicely today. Tiger did play particularly well, that's for sure. As I said, I said to him afterwards, "We'll do battle many times again."

Q. Apart from the ultimate result, how would you sum up your week generally and the way you played, and how are you feeling about the PGA?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, I was happy with the week overall, yes. Obviously a disappointing finish to the week. Yeah, you know, I'll go do my stuff for the PGA now next week and see what happens with that. Overall most things were pretty positive I would say coming out of this week. I certainly did a lot of things that you need to do right when you want to play good tournaments, and I did a lot of that this week. My short game was sharp. Probably definitely see a bit of a weakness in my wedge play. That needs a bit of improvement. And the long game was sufficient anyway.

Q. Does something like today take a lot out of you physically?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, there's no doubt that it's not the greatest preparation in the world to have an adrenaline-filled week of holding the lead all week and doing all the interviews and all that. That's not the best preparation for next week. But I'll probably just take it a little bit easier for the three practice days. Instead of getting out there, I certainly won't be playing 54 holes over the next three days. I'll probably just take it easy and rest up, working on the principle that if I'm to win next week I've got to be fresh on Sunday.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Padraig, many thanks. Good luck next week.

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