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September 22, 2009

Padraig Harrington


CHRIS REIMER: We want to welcome Padraig Harrington to the media center here at THE TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola. Obviously a fantastic year last year, but you missed this one, so obviously it's good to be here. Some opening comments.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I'm happy to be here. Obviously could turn around a year, really, this week. Last couple of weeks have been good. I've been pushing for a win, and obviously this would be a big week to get that win. We turned what was less than an average year up until, say, August into a great year.

Q. You went home to Ireland. Could you tell us how that turnaround went for you?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, I got home on Wednesday, flew back yesterday, had three hours circling. I went to Nashville yesterday evening like everybody else who was flying into Atlanta.
Yeah, it was a bit of a rush. I didn't get back on the Irish time zone, didn't try and get back really on the Irish time zone. I picked up a little bit of a head cold in the process. These things, I don't think it's going to affect me during the week. These are the things you've got to do.

Q. Do you have any special way that you deal with jet lag, or you just don't acclimate to the time zone unless you're going to be there for a certain period of time?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Well, I like the jet lag coming this side, going west it's obviously very nice. I'm not an early morning person, so it's nice to wake up in the morning and be ready to go. It's nice to fall asleep at night very easily, very quickly. So I like it traveling to the States.
Going home, it's easy if you've got some work to do. It's very difficult if you've got a week off. If you've got work, you just have to be up and about and doing things. If you've got a week off, you get a bit lazy, and it can drag on a little bit.

Q. Have you had a chance to look at the greens today?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: No. No, I've arrived in and walked from the car park to the clubhouse, and that's as much as I've seen. I assume, I don't know, is there something with the greens that we should be --

Q. From the rain.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, I'm sure the fairways and the greens are going to be wet, soft. I believe the forecast is reasonably good for the rest of the week. I imagine on Sunday they'll look just perfect out there.
The great thing is, and maybe we take them for granted, but the players don't worry so much because we know that the green keepers will do their job and have everything perfect by the tournament start. They'll have it ready to go, and by the end of the week it'll look and be great.
We've seen this happen so many times on TOUR where a golf course gets flooded out in the practice rounds or even in the tournament rounds, and the staff come out and do an unbelievable job and get everything looking like it never happened. We take them for granted because of that. So I don't think -- you've got 30 players here this week, and none of us are concerned about the condition of the golf course or the weather. We know it's going to be great.

Q. Padraig, the points restructuring came out last November. When did it dawn on you that the Top 5 was important to get into, and are you the least bit disappointed to be No. 6? I mean, that's still obviously a very advantageous position this week.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I think I was aware of the Top 5 having an automatic chance right from November. I think it was highly touted from then. And once the tournament started at the Barclays, again, the whole emphasis was to get into that Top 5. I don't regret being No. 6, because I did what I could. It wasn't like -- I don't feel like I left too many shots behind me or anything like that.
It's not totally in my control. It isn't in my control. I'm the first player that -- obviously the first five, they win the out right FedExCup. If you win, I have to rely on another player not finishing second behind Tiger, so it's not going to be quite the same thing.
But if I'm coming down the stretch and I'm playing against Tiger, it's not like I'm not going to be trying to win the tournament. If the FedExCup wasn't on the line, I'd still be trying to win the tournament. It shouldn't make any difference to my performance or my play, but yes, if I was clear and winning the tournament comfortably, let's say, I would spend a lot of time looking at the leaderboard more than where Tiger was because obviously it affects whether I win the FedExCup.
I'm in as good as position as I can be. I played good golf in the three weeks. As I said, I don't feel like I left anything behind. So six is as good as I could have done, and I'll be happy to see if I can get that win this week, see what happens from there.
CHRIS REIMER: On that note, you're the only player to have Top 10 finishes in all three playoff events this year, so obviously you had some good form in the Playoffs.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, I didn't realize that. You know, I'm pushing for a win. Top 10s are nice, but they don't really cut it. (Laughter.)

Q. After missing the event last year, how much pressure did you put on yourself to get back into the field this year?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Different circumstances. You know, last year I was coming off the back of two major wins, and my season was done at that stage. I had peaked, and as much as I was trying, physically trying, there just was nothing in the tank.
This year it was the opposite. I performed poorly up until -- well, up until August, and I hadn't got any wins in the bank. I hadn't done anything really coming into the FedExCup. So I was very motivated for it, and I think that makes a big difference. The motivation was -- if I can play well in the FedExCup and finish the season off, particularly if I got a win, I'd be able to look back at this year as being a very positive year. And if I win this tournament, say, and win the FedExCup, when we look back in time, we say 2009 was a great year. You weren't going to say that two months ago; it was looking pretty miserable at this stage of the year. It was possible it was going to be one of those years you just have to write off. But the FedExCup has given me the opportunity to change that around. We're still going; it's still in the balance. As I said, if I can get that win, it would turn the year into a very successful one.

Q. We're doing a feature on the 1st hole and the 18th hole here. If you can just explain your strategy on those holes.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: The 1st hole, obviously it's the first hole of the day, as well, and you want to get off to a steady start. I generally have in the past, anyway, I've hit 3-wood off the tee plenty of times to get me to the base of the hill, leaves a reasonably flat shot up to the green. Could be anything from a 7-iron to a 9-iron, I think. It's a reasonable green. They've tightened up the pin positions, but it's one that you can play it a little bit safe and leave yourself a 15-footer and start nicely. It's nice to make a birdie, but definitely it's a hole that if you play reasonably conservatively, you should be making your par to start off.
18 is a very difficult par-3. It plays long. It generally plays into the wind. It can be awkward with the clubbing. You'll see players who will hit good shots and go long and hit good shots and come up short with the way the wind gusts.
Very tricky green, as well, a lot of break on the green. Any time you're making your 3 there, you're a happy man to finish the tournament. It is a difficult hole, but it may take a 2 on Sunday. It has given up birdies in the past. So it's a good, solid finishing hole. My recollection is it's actually quite an exciting hole. There's been quite a few guys in the bleachers, it's been all sorts of things over the years. I'd like to have that putt in the last to win. It would be a hybrid for me, sort of a 3 or 4 hybrid in there, and I'd settle for anything inside 15 feet and give it a go.

Q. Can you talk about the whole course? Do you like the golf course?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: The golf course is very strong, good, solid strong golf course, no weak holes. Probably the most awkward hole or most exciting hole is the par-3, 6th. Is it the 6th or 7th, the par-3, the island green? And the two par-4s before that are solid par-4s. There's a lot of solid par-4s where you've got to hit the fairway off the tee in order to hit the green with your second shot.
It actually plays quite long. We play a lot of long courses during the year, especially the last couple years that haven't played long. This one in my recollection does play quite long. 4 and 5 are good par-4s, and then you come through the back nine, 10 is a very tough par-4 because you're hitting across the green with your second shot. And 16 is probably another awkward par-4, as well. So there's a lot of good, tough strong holes on the golf course.
I kind of put it in that category, it's a strong, tough test. There's nothing out there -- it's not a tricky golf course. It doesn't give up very much. Maybe the par-5, 15th, is probably the only hole on the golf course that gives something up. It's probably one of the trickier holes on the course. But it's solid; it's all there in front of you, and it's certainly not tricked up.

Q. What's the most pressure you've had on a putt, a single putt, in your career if you can recall?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Wow. I've had two putts to win majors, so that's definitely the most pressure-filled putts. Yeah, definitely. I think the putt to make double bogey on the last, the 72nd hole at the Open, that was pretty pressure-filled.
I'm trying to go through it, but probably the hardest thing is to hole a putt on the last green when you feel bad. Sometimes that happens. You might have missed a couple on the previous few holes, and then you're standing over one on the last hole to win and you've got to hole it; that's tough.
Where would be the worst? You know, I would say the putt to win the Open in 2007, but I reacted so well to it, it couldn't have been the most pressure-filled. I got right into the zone.
The putt to win the PGA, again, I felt good over it.
I'd have to think a little longer and harder about it. It would be interesting; money doesn't have a real play on the players, as well. One of the main reasons is it obviously goes into a bank account and we don't see it, so it's not like it's real. But I do believe with the money that's on the line this week that it would have an effect on the 18th hole. That there will be -- it will be interesting to see. There's no need to think about it, but it would be quite possible that if you had a putt you could be caught in thinking about the money. $11 and a half million -- $1.3 million for winning this week, so $11.3 it could be for me on the last. That's a lot of money.
I could stand here and tell you, no, it won't affect me, I won't think about it at all, but I'd be telling you lies. (Laughter.)
CHRIS REIMER: I've got to ask you, Stewart Cink is going to be here in ten minutes. Do you think he'll have anything to say about the locker room up there?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: He can't find his trophy. He put his Open trophy down and I hid it on him. It's in my locker.
CHRIS REIMER: Thanks, Padraig. Good luck.

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