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August 14, 2009

Padraig Harrington


KELLY ELBIN: Defending PGA champion Padraig Harrington in with a 1 over par 73 in the second round of the 91st PGA Championship. Padraig is 3-under par, 4 strokes back of Tiger Woods. A bit of a struggle down the stretch today with 38 coming in. Just thoughts on the play.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: It was tough. (Laughter) Yeah, I suppose it was a bit of a struggle. Yeah, I kind of -- obviously we knew today was going to be a difficult day. The wind was strong. It was swirling, swirling amongst the trees gusting. The greens are firming up. You have to have your wits about you. I hit maybe a curly shot on 7. And 11, again I hit a very curly second shot. It's kind of a nothing shot. I don't know, sometimes I lose my focus a bit in those situations.
And I need to be mindful of that. But anyway, caused the bogey going into 2, things weren't looking great after 13 and it was nice to make a couple of birdies. A little bit disappointed obviously for that. And 15 not to drop, it was probably my best putt of the day. And then again on 18 I was trying to push for a few birdies coming home on the 16 and 17. And a little bit disappointed on 18 again. I hit what looked like a nice chip and it looked like it would be pretty much down. It ran into a very awkward spot and I missed a 3-footer down the hill.

Q. The second shot at 15 Tiger called one of the best shots he's ever seen from the bunker. Can you run us through the --
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: He said it. He did say to me actually he would have paid to have seen it. Did he tell you that? So I asked him for 50 bucks. (Laughter).
It was one of those situations, when I was going down there I was expecting to lay up. When I got there, it wasn't even -- the lie wasn't even fantastic. But after the upslope I felt I could get it airborne and keep it going in the wind.
You know, the main thing is I kind of -- I've been thinking to myself, you know, weighing up the risk against the reward, anywhere you lay up there, there was no easy place to make birdie. But obviously if I hit the shot as I did, I have a handy birdie, nearly made eagle. I was thinking if I missed a shot I might end up anyway in a pretty similar spot to where if I laid it up.
So it was one of those ones that maybe because I was a couple over par I felt let's have a go with it, or 1 over par.

Q. 3-wood, 301 something like that?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: 301 yards. It was my 3-wood up the upslope.

Q. As difficult as it was today, can you see this golf course playing more difficult in the next two days; and is there a number that you'd have in mind in terms of winning this tournament?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I would think the golf course will get tougher on the weekend. That's the tradition with the PGA, that they hold off on their toughest pin positions until the weekend. They let the greens get a little firmer. I would think that I would expect to see over the next few days -- I don't know what the weather forecast is like, but I would expect to see a tougher golf course on the next two days.
More and more tucked pin positions and with the greens getting a little bit firmer, all in all probably playing well into Tiger's hands. But we'll have to put up with that. The softer the golf course probably gives the rest of the field a chance. The firmer the course, probably somebody with a 4-shot lead, especially Tiger, he can pick and choose his shots now for the next two days. And I think that's why he's very comfortable in that position of leading from the front.

Q. Quite apart from the putt on 18, are you disappointed not to be playing with Tiger again tomorrow?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: It's irrelevant. It's not bad to have a day off. Hopefully I'll see him again on Sunday. (Laughter) You know, I'm disappointed missing the putt on 18. I'm disappointed not to be a shot better. I'm disappointed not to be a couple shots better. I kind of figured that any of us, the shot in itself won't make too much difference. I've got to play well on the weekend. Whether I'm 3-under par or 4-under par, I've got to play very well on the weekend to overhaul Tiger and my attitude will be the same, as I said, regardless on that putt. I've got to take my chances. I've got to be a bit more trusting on the weekend and not in any way cautious.

Q. You about half answered this about a second ago. By my math I think Tiger was the only guy who started the day in the top 16 on the board who broke par?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: There you go, I didn't know that. That's not a bad thing for me anyway.

Q. Feel better?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I feel a little bit better, yeah. (Laughter)

Q. Did you see anything there that would suggest that there will be any burps or hiccups or anything like that from him?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: His game looked solid again today. His game is solid. I think he's good in that position because of the fact the reason he's a good front runner he can pick and choose his shots and he's not been pushed into shots, he doesn't have to hit and he's very good at that and waits his chances. And he hits enough close and then he holds enough putts, and all that sort of stuff adds up to he'll probably break par twice on the weekend so the rest of us are going to have to play really well.

Q. You always talk about working for 63 holes to get to the back nine with a chance. How much more difficult does that get with Tiger when you're chasing him?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: With nine holes to go -- that really has to be my focus for the next 27 holes, if I can get within a shouting distance with nine holes to go. You just don't know. Anybody can do anything over nine holes.
So that would be the goal. If I was four shots is too many, but if I was a couple of shots, I'd certainly take that with nine holes to go. It's not that I'd expect to overhaul him, but I certainly would have -- anybody in that position would have a chance at doing it, especially on this golf course. There's a lot of -- it's a good course. There's some tough holes and there's some birdie holes. So there's opportunities for a player to catch up.

Q. You've had a fairly eventful last seven or eight days. A lot of highs and a couple of lows in there. Just wondering how you're feeling mentally and physically after that. And secondly, what have you learned about yourself over these last few days?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I definitely haven't learned anything about myself over the last couple of weeks I hadn't already learned over the last 20 years of my career. So, no, nothing new. It has been tiring. It's difficult to lead a tournament like last week from the very first day. Fair play to Tiger. He does that a lot of weeks. But it's a tough thing to do. Certainly I wasn't familiar with it.
And being in contention is a help this week because there is a certain amount of adrenalin and a certain amount of excitement in it and that keeps you going.
I think if I was a little bit out of the pace here I would suffer a lot more in terms of fatigue. But as I said, I think I can manage to keep it going for another 36 holes.

Q. You told us last week about that wonderful statistic from your wise Irish golfing friend about playing the first two rounds with Tiger and the statistics thereof. How much did you consider that and how did you do for two days?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I wish I was in a little bit more of a high today. Yesterday I was right into it. And today at times I wasn't quite -- I wasn't anywhere near as good today.
So we'll only see that now in the next two days. As I said, it would be nice if you couldn't get drawn into the excitement of it all, but you end up obviously where you are. So I'll see. I'll see how I get on. I'll have to wait another 36 holes to find that out.

Q. Obviously everyone knows Tiger, when he leads after 36 holes, is perfect. Do you approach the weekend thinking at some point that streak has to be broken?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Not really sure what the streak is.

Q. That he's perfect in majors when he leads after 36 holes.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I would go along the lines of it's got to break at some stage. Might as well tell myself that. (Laughter) In fairness to Tiger, that's never going to last forever. Maybe he'll be 60 when it's broken, but it's never going to last forever. Maybe I'll be the guy who does it. I suppose that's the way to look at it.
At the end of the day I can't control what Tiger's going to do for the next 36 holes. But I have control over myself. So that's what I've got to focus on. Play my golf, be a bit more trusting. And if Tiger plays the golf he's capable of on the weekend, he'll be a winner. But if I play my golf, hopefully it will push him a little and we'll see what happens.

Q. What was the biggest difference between round one, round two? You started off saying it was hard. Was it the wind? Was it the greens? Anything about your game?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: There was a number of differences. I think the wind is the one that would stand out. It contributed again to firming up the greens and it was very difficult to putt on the greens.
As I said, maybe with my own game I was definitely a lot more -- I was a lot more into it yesterday for some reason at times today I did struggle with my focus. Yesterday I was better at that. And definitely the key for the weekend is to get back to maybe the mind-set I had yesterday.

Q. You're a great player in your own right. But playing with Tiger for three straight days, what do you learn in view of what you've had on the line?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You know what, I didn't watch him really at all in Akron. And I did pay a lot more attention the last two days. Yeah, you look at people's games.
And to be honest I would be really looking at my own game. I can see a number of areas where I can improve. And I feel like I am getting better and will get better. And that's what I've got to focus on.
It's not insurmountable for me to get better. And that's the key thing. And if I keep getting better, as I said it pushes Tiger along. If he gets better, well I suppose that's what it's all about. But I definitely feel like there's weaknesses in my game that can be improved.
And if I keep concentrating on those, as I said, it puts it up to Tiger more and more. And that's got to be the key thing.
KELLY ELBIN: Padraig Harrington in at 3-under par. Thank you very much.

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