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September 2, 2009

Padraig Harrington


MARK WILLIAMS: Padraig Harrington, thanks for joining us at the Deutsche Bank Championship in the interview room. You jumped from 62nd to 14th last week on the FedExCup with a T2 at the Barclays and coming off three consecutive Top 10s. Tell us what you're looking forward to at the Deutsche Bank Championship this week and what's in store for us.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Looking forward to making the cut for once. Obviously the last two years I don't think I've made the cut here.
I like the golf course. I have no problem with that. It's in great condition. So hopefully a bit of form coming into it will carry through to the week. It is interesting that my FedExCup this year has improved so much with one event. Whereas maybe last year the system didn't work for me, this year it seems to be working for me.
MARK WILLIAMS: You've got to be happy after some serious swing reconstruction with your results the last three weeks.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, you know, I wouldn't say I've reconstructed my swing. I was attempting to reconstruct my swing. I've got to a stage that I have an understanding with what I was trying to do, and while I haven't achieved what I wanted, the fact that my mind is clear on what needs to be done has given me clarity on the golf course.

Q. Does the 65 that you shot in the second round last year carry over in terms of any kind of confidence that you could use?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Did I shoot 65 and miss the cut last year?

Q. You did.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: What did I shoot in the first round? Gosh. No, you don't really look at it like that. I actually wasn't aware that I shot 65. Thanks for the reminder. (Laughter.)
You know what, I think, as I said, the golf course itself is a good, solid golf course. Going through it in my head as I was traveling up here, there's nothing on it that -- there's nothing out there that -- everything about it I like, so there's no reason why I wouldn't play well on the course.
Just hopefully have a better mindset this year. Obviously there would have been a little fatigue last year. Hopefully this year I'm in a good position, and I'm keen for results at the moment obviously, and this would be a good week to have a win.

Q. I wanted to ask you, too, about your turnaround. I was looking at the stats the last three weeks --

Q. I know. You've played very well the last three weeks on par-4s. I think you're a collective 10-under. Before that you had struggled on the par-4s. Any particular reason?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: No. That's just the stats coming up with an answer when you've got the information. No, I don't believe in those things at all. I'm trying as hard on every single shot. No, in general over the years I would tend to perform better on a golf course with tough par-4s. That would tend to be where my strength is.
But no, I think the figures are showing up something and you're using them to come up with a conclusion. You can hit a bad shot on any hole, you can hit a good shot on any hole. So I wouldn't particularly pick on any instance there, no.

Q. Player of the Year, defending Player of the Year, how do you view this year's race?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Well, obviously I've been focused for the main part of the year on something else. I'm running out of time in terms of this year, and maybe that's a little bit why I played better the last couple of weeks. I've only got three more weeks to do anything this year.
So there is a little bit of urgency in my game at the moment, and certainly that's helped me play a bit better of late. But my focus at the start of the year and through the main part of the year was firmly on trying to figure something out.
I'm glad I did it. I have figured it out. Not that I have put it into my swing or have it automatic in my swing or anything like that, but I've certainly got to the bottom of the problem, and sometimes it takes a lot of pain to do that.
I'm comfortable with that and realize that results -- as much as it would be nice to go and defend something like that, results are not always the most important thing in the short-term.

Q. But for a couple of singular holes at Bridgestone and also at the PGA, you were right there, so the results actually could have been different. Do you ever consider that as you weigh your overall impressions?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I consider it the Sunday evening after the event or even a couple of days after the event. It's never nice when you mess up and you have a potential chance of winning.
But I totally understand that these things happen in the game, and some days you'll get the breaks and some days you won't get the breaks, and some days you'll look like a fool out there, and some days you'll look like a hero. You've got to accept that over the course of time it evens out.
Yes, the last couple of weeks I could have done -- so many things could have gone in my favor that would have made a difference, but I certainly don't -- I believe I'm a lucky golfer, I certainly don't believe I'm an unlucky golfer or anything like that. I believe I can make things, as well, at the right time.
The last couple of weeks are just put into the memory bank as, well, they're the ones where it didn't work, and just waiting for the ones where it does come off. It's kind of one of those things; you just put it into, it will all work out eventually.

Q. I probably didn't express it clearly, but what I meant was do you factor that in as you consider the level at which you're playing, that but for a couple of those things --
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: No, that is what I do. I look at this as an overall process over time in that the whole key would be to be in contention. If you're in contention with nine holes to go -- I'd be far happier in the overall context, not happier on the Sunday evening after the PGA, I shot an appalling score in the last round, 78, I'd be far happier to shoot 78 and finish where I did than to shoot 66 in the last round and finish in the same position. In other words, I'd rather be there and learning from that sort of experience rather than being out of contention and going out in the last round nice and relaxed and shooting 66 and finishing -- I think I finished 10th, so say finish 9th, and people say, you had a great week. Shooting 78, people say, oh, that's not so hot, what went wrong. But I'd rather have the experience of being in contention and have the chance of winning because I know some days it will go right for me and I will win.
I think what you're saying is -- I agree with you, that it's all about being in contention over and over and over, and the great thing for me the last three weeks is I genuinely was in contention. I felt it in all three tournaments. I had that adrenaline and the nerves, and that's exactly where I want to be because I know that's the position you are when you're going to win tournaments.

Q. How difficult was it to have the kind of success you did and then say, oh, I think I'd like to make some changes. Did you have any doubts this year as you were doing that?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: No more so than any other time. I've had plenty of times in my career where I've made changes, significant changes, far more significant than the ones that I made this year.
I think what happened this year is as I was making the change, I obviously was higher profile, so it stood out a bit more. And secondly, during the change, my short game was poor, which normally I've done these changes in the past and my short game has hidden them. This year it didn't hide them, and I was a bit more in the spotlight. Actually what was going on, that's part of my mindset. I was even thinking to myself there the other day that -- it often comes when you've had a few results, thinking I can't wait -- which is a bad thought, this, can't wait for the winter so that I can really start working on my swing again, really get into it.
So it's kind of a -- I'm a little bit like that. I go in fads where I'm interested in playing and maybe other times where I'm interested in changing things and trying to improve things. So I have to be a little bit disciplined at the moment not to get drawn back into what I would have been doing for the first eight months of the year and wholeheartedly changing something.

Q. I just want to get back to the Player of the Year race. Some people look at Tiger's year and say it's kind of a done deal. Do you view it like that?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I haven't looked at it at all. I'm sure the FedExCup is going to have a big effect. If any of the guys who have won one of the majors wins the FedExCup, surely they'd be Player of the Year. So it can't be a done deal at this stage. It's still open. The FedExCup has got to have a big impact on it. I think you'll have to wait and see. Too early to call.

Q. How do you like playing in New England?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: It's super up here. Obviously being Irish coming to Boston is not a bad thing. I had a great week in New York last week, and obviously I probably expect even more support up here. So it is fantastic for me.
As I said, hopefully this week I'll deliver a bit better than I did the last couple years.

Q. When the tournament first came here, there was a lot of criticism from the players. Over the years there have been a lot of changes here at this course. There's been a lot of changes since the inauguration.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: How long ago was the inauguration?

Q. 2003.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I've only been coming here a couple of years.

Q. Well, there have been a lot, and even this past year they've made some changes in the course, too. What's your opinion of those?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: All golf courses develop. St. Andrews used to be played the other way around. Every course changes over time. That's how a golf course becomes great; it develops. Little bits are changed. Developing is a better word for it. Bunkers get moved or greens get leveled a little bit, something is softened out, something is made tougher, holes are lengthened. I don't think there's a golf course out there that hasn't developed over time, so it's only natural.
I was saying coming in here, somebody was saying, well, the course is in great condition. Every year I turn up it's in great condition; we expect that. When a golf course does a good job, it's harder to keep improving because the expectation is there, and then obviously we have an expectation this week of a very strong layout in superb condition.
I'll be interested to see the changes. I don't know what they are. I hadn't realized there was changes.
But as I said, when I went over the golf course in my head coming over here, I went through the holes, and there wasn't anywhere that jumped out at me that I didn't like. There was nothing out there that I thought, well, that's not good or that's not fair. So I assume the changes are for the better. But I was quite happy with what was there before.

Q. I was in Dublin when you won the Open a few years ago --

Q. I'm glad I slid that in.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: My first or my second?

Q. Well, pick one, four years ago. What I wanted to know, this is my first time on this side, so to speak, and from a teaching standpoint, which is what I have been, do you have any words of wisdom for the golfer that decides that he's going to change horses in the middle of the round --
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Don't change horses in the middle of the round. Stick with it.

Q. And lastly, what do you think the hardest thing is for the average golfer to understand with regards to swing dynamics, if you were to pick one?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: From my experience of the average golfer, they need to find and establish a way of understanding their own game and their own swing. Generally they'll have to relate it to a sport they played as a kid themselves.
So when I'm teaching somebody in a pro-am, I try and get them -- I try and find out what sports they played as a kid and look to the motion that they used to play that sport to create that sort of feeling so that they have the ability to teach themselves going forward, rather than, as most amateurs will do, they'll listen to somebody else telling them something and they'll interpret it, as we all -- they'll interpret their own swing so differently from what it actually is. So I try and encourage them to use something that they understood and did naturally as a kid, and it could be just as simple as maybe skimming a stone on water or something like that, a natural motion, and then get that feeling into their golf swing so hopefully they'll be able to teach themselves when things don't go so well in the future.
MARK WILLIAMS: Padraig, we appreciate your time. Thanks for coming in, and all the best this week.

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