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September 24, 2009

Padraig Harrington


CHRIS REIMER: Our next guest here in the media center is Padraig Harrington, one off the lead today after the first round of the TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola. If you could, some opening comments about your opening round.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: It's not often I'm referred to as the guest, so I'm very pleased about that. Obviously I would have taken 67 going out. I got a good start, felt like I played well and continued on playing well. But the golf course is tough. It's hard to get the ball very close, and you know, if you're going to make some birdies, you've got to hole some 15, 20-footers out there.
I obviously did that early on, and then later on they dried up a bit and I made a bit of a mess of 15, but I was happy to hole two nice putts on 16 and 18. So all in all, I'm in a reasonable position going forward.

Q. This is a year-long competition, and you've had some extraordinary years. How do you rate this year for you?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Well, it actually sums it up that it's not really a year-long competition. I obviously didn't perform for the first seven months of the year. My focus was elsewhere. And since the FedExCup has started, I've been keen to salvage something out of this year.
So the FedExCup is possibly going to give me that salvation in terms of if I win this week, I'll have a great 2009. So that's what it's all about. We concentrate on the four majors up until August. When that date comes, the PGA is finished, the big focus is the FedExCup. And it's working well. I think there's a good hype amongst the players. There's a lot of people interested and keen outside of the spectators. So I think it's kind of ideal, and hopefully it will go all the way down to the wire on Sunday afternoon.

Q. Is there an easy answer for the turnaround you've had the last month or so?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: In my head it's pretty easy, yeah. You know, I went from trying to focus on the technical move that I was trying to sort out but couldn't get to the bottom of it and couldn't figure out what it was, I got some closure on that just before the Open Championship. And you know, got back into focusing on the right things after that.
So basically I had some clarity. You know, it's not necessarily that I'm hitting the ball any better or doing anything different, but the clarity that it gave me, that I understood where my bad shots are coming from, that was good for me, and it made it a lot easier to go out there and play since then.

Q. Sean just said it's the hardest greens you've played all year long, firmest greens. Do you agree with that?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, they can't get much firmer, I'm sure. Well, I suppose they could get a little bit firmer. Yeah, I would put them right up there, as firm as -- you know, it's a great advertisement for SubAir. Any tournament, any regular tournament golf course, if you've got SubAir, you can really put us under pressure as players. They've gone easy on the pin positions in general today. Most pins were four, five, six, seven off the edge of the greens at times, and they can do that with firm greens. It's more of a quality test.
So yeah, I would put them there as equal firmness with anywhere else, yeah.

Q. You had a lot of people pulling for you today. I followed you for a while, and a lot of times people were calling your name. How does that do for you in America?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I get great sport over here. I always enjoy coming over here, but my sports -- obviously there's a lot of Irish people out there. I think there's 40 million Irish people in the States, so there's a lot of that. But I get great support in general, I think, from people that don't even consider themselves Irish. So I do appreciate it, and it's nice that I can play some good golf and give something back.

Q. Sean O'Hair is probably Irish, I would guess.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You've got to think it's in there somewhere all right. Maybe he's a cousin. (Laughter.)

Q. You mentioned the course of your year this season. Would this kind of send you back across the pond with a little spring in your step and the feeling that you didn't just kind of mark time, or whatever the proper phrase would be, at the early part of the year, like you've salvaged something?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You know, the early part of the year was very productive for me. I don't have a regret about the work that I did in that part of the year. I probably got to the bottom of something that has been bugging me for a few years, but I also learnt a few other truths during that period, too. Yeah, it was a bit of a sacrifice, but it was well worth it. I certainly won't be walking away from 2009 whatever happens not feeling like that was a year that I improved. I hope it's the year that I made the biggest strides, to be honest.
Okay, the results aren't there, and as I said, the FedExCup could give me that result that I'm craving a bit at the moment. If that doesn't happen this week, I'll be motivated to get home and win the Race to Dubai.
The great thing about the FedExCup, about the TOUR at the moment, we have great sections in the year. You start off the year, you're thinking of the Masters, then you're thinking of the U.S. Open, then you're thinking of The Open, then you're thinking of the PGA, and then you're thinking of the FedExCup, and when that's finished then it's the Race to Dubai. It keeps you motivated, keeps you going. Without the FedExCup, without the Race to Dubai, the year would tail off once the PGA was finished.

Q. Stewart Cink was on XM Radio talking about the little practical joke you -- that's okay. You don't have to explain that one. I did ask him if he had a good score I that was the best thing or the most interesting thing that's happened to him to date with the Claret Jug, and he said, no, there was a funny story about going through the Manchester Airport going back home.
I just wondered with your major championships if you have one particularly funny, amusing, memorable, amazing thing that happened to you with one of the trophies?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I had many amazing things happen. It was a fantastic two years having the Open trophy and one year with the PGA trophy. It's amazing how the trophy itself can light up a room when people see it. It is a photo magnet, I can tell you. (Laughter.)
I don't know if Stewart has learnt this, but after a while he will learn to stay as far away from that trophy when people are around. I think when I brought it home for the first time, I do a charity day at home, I stood for three hours with flash photography in my eyes. I never felt as bad -- and I made the mistake of standing beside the sound system with the band playing in the back, so my ears were gone, my eyes were gone. I didn't realize I had a problem with flash photography, but after three hours of photographs, it's not good for the eyes.
But probably -- I could keep talking forever on those stories.

Q. I was curious to know where your confidence level is now considering your great stretch of play compared to say like a year ago. Are you there? Are you pretty close to the confidence that you had --
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I don't think I've ever played golf with confidence. I'd love to see the day I did. Actually I'm dangerous -- I know at Cog Hill, I was explaining this to Bob Rotella, and I still don't know the answer to this, I birdied the first hole in the final round, and I hit a beautiful 6-iron into the second hole, and the wind gusted and it came up short in the bunker, and I walked off the tee, and I said, never mind, I'm going to get this up-and-down, it's okay. I felt good about it, felt very comfortable, and of course I over played the bunker shot four feet short, missed the putt.
Next hole, 7-iron, similar shot, coming out of the rough, spun a bit, a bit low, comes out of the bunker, no problem, I'll get it up-and-down. I said, that's the end of that. In the future every time I hit a bad shot, I'm going to walk up to it saying, how am I going to get this up-and-down? I'm never going to get this up-and-down. The confidence just doesn't work for me. (Laughter.)

Q. What was Bob's reaction to that?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: That's me. I've been like that for years. You know, you put me in a big open field, I don't know how to hit the fairway. You put out of bounds down both sides and I'll put it down the middle. I just struggle when I get a bit complacent. I did the same thing at Boston on the 12th tee. I stood there, this is a pretty easy shot, just hammer it down the right with a draw, and I obviously hit it in the woods. If it was a tough drive, I wouldn't have done that. I'm just a strange fish. I work better with fear than I do with confidence.

Q. The name of Rotella's first book was "Golf is a Game of Confidence" -- one of his first books.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: One of his first books, yes. "Golf is Not a Game of Perfect" was his first book. He probably had a book before that, but his first mainstream one let's say.

Q. As a guy who latches onto fear rather than confidence, how many times have you read the "Golf is a Game of Confidence" book?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Well, if you count -- every year. I read all the books starting out the year, and I summarize them and continue to read them. You could say I've certainly read golf is not a game of perfect in summarized format -- it must be 200 times.

Q. Wow.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Summarized format is only a couple of pages, though. When I was really disciplined I used to read it every week, three or four times every week, I think. It's only a page when you summarize it. You can get it down there pretty quick.
Well, I've lost that discipline now and got lazy.
CHRIS REIMER: Good luck the rest of the week, buddy.

End of FastScripts

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