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October 16, 2009

Padraig Harrington


Q. Running through things in chronological order last night here the players meeting, the word was that Padraig left the room very happy, true?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I went into the room very happy. Yeah, why wouldn't I? It was a good idea. Obviously I had an opinion that some of the guys wanted to hear and I think they did hear it, too. They are a committee and they came up with some good counter points and we thrashed around a few things. I think going forward, they will keep the maybe the global aspect as well as the core aspect they are concentrating on.

Q. So with that happiness built up in your heart, did you carry that on to the golf course today; a 62.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, it was a strange day. I played the tough holes really well today, which gave me an opportunity to shoot any score out there really. When there's a number of wedge holes that you kind of hope to make the birdies, or are expected to make the birdies on, I actually made it on some of the longer holes. At times -- I was 3-under after five and feeling frustrated but it was nice to get the run of birdies at the end; made my score, made the day. If I came off the course shooting 6-, 7-under par, I would have been frustrated considering the opportunities I had.

Q. When you teed off, the breeze was up and Molinari was 15-under par, did you think you could get that close to him?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I don't watch leaderboards but I did happen to catch that. To be honest, I'm going out there, you know, first goal is make the cut. I'm 3-under par, I know that I've got to move forward.
Once I got that in the bag early on, I've made a few birdies early on, I'm trying to push on and I'm thinking, just try and get myself on the bottom of that leaderboard and get myself up there and hoping to get to, I suppose a 9-, 10-under par. I created a lot of chances. Really, really struggled on my short putting. I struggled to read the greens and that needs to be better for the next couple of days. Then I holed -- I hit a few good long shots and I holed one or two nice putts as well.

Q. Did the swing feel good?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: It's felt the exact same as it's felt for a number of weeks now. I've changed a few things and I'm working with it and I make a few mistakes here and there with it, but those mistakes didn't cost me anything today. You know, and as I said, hit plenty of good shots on other holes, as well. Yesterday, the odd mistake did catch up with me. Today it didn't. I got the breaks today, and as I said, if I holed some of those putts, it really could have been the magic number.
I think it's my lowest score on Tour.

Q. Your joint-lowest.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I had 62 at one stage in Brazil, I remember that, and Trophee Lancóme, as well. Pity I didn't give it a better run but it's nice to be in a position and see what happens on the weekend.

Q. Not the best 62?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Out of the 62 I shot -- where was the Vivendi, Saint-Nom-la-Bretèche? I shot 62 there hitting about six greens. I chipped in three or four times, from bushes, from everywhere. That was -- and got a Rolex for it.

Q. What putter?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I went with my old putter again today but --

Q. Grip a bit further down?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I didn't have to. It just naturally was that way. But I was very distracted on the greens. The closer I got to the hole, the worse I was. I was fine from about some of the times, 15, 20 away, but I struggled and mis-hit a lot of putts again. Just did not feel comfortable at all, which is a shame but hopefully I'll be better on the weekend.

Q. You don't do those sort of scores normally.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: No, but this is a golf course, you've got to go and do it, and it is difficult going out there, 3-under par, and you know that 15 is leading. I only knew that 15 was leading. I thought there was 14, 13, 12. I had not watched the leaderboard.
So it does put a bit of pressure on you. As I said I was 3-under after five, missed a short one at two, hit a bad pitch at 4 and I'm not happy. I'm thinking, God, I've got to do better, which in the case -- you know, I suppose I didn't stay patient but luckily I got away with making those four birdies in a row on the back nine.

Q. You saw 15-under, where?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I don't know where I saw it. I don't look at leaderboards but somewhere it caught my eye. You know what, I saw 14-under when I was on the putting green through nine holes. That's what I saw.

Q. Is it difficult to adjust to this sort of scoring, the 20-unders?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I would say, if that is an issue in my game. I have gone from being a player who would shoot 62s when I first came out on Tour and shoot a lot of low numbers and won plenty of tournaments in the 20s to a guy who is starting to like the 6- and 8-under par tournaments, the tougher events. So I would say it would be a little bit of an issue that I have to play the low-scoring courses.
But I don't see too many of them to be honest but it's nice to shoot a good score and it's nice to be well under par.

Q. I was interested to hear what you were saying there about the putting, especially the short putts, Rory was one of many to say he was tearing his hair out and lost confidence in his stroke.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I changed putter, which put me off, and then I haven't got the confidence back, and then I was practising my putting yesterday, and was pointed out something that I was not doing that I normally do. And of course, that just distracted the hell out of me all day, now that I know. I was better off in my ignorance. So that's hopefully going to be a little better.

Q. Which old putter have you gone back to, the old, old putter?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: No, the new -- the putter I've used the last three months. Because I didn't want to change my old, old putter. It's a quarter of an inch longer.

Q. The 17th at St. Andrews, teeing off on the other side --
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I went and had a look at it. Exactly what they should do. It's the first thing when I stood there on the proposed tee, I actually can't tell you what language I used but it was intimidating and that's what 17 is meant to be. We are down to hitting 3-wood, 8-iron in there now off the back tee, and it's going to be a substantial hole. It's going to be intimidating. If you go and look at the old Opens, the fairway is like -- the fairway at the moment goes at an angle like this, whereas the fairway used to be like that as in it got quite a bit wider. So anything left within the rough, or anything hit well stayed in the fairway.
I don't know, that would be my thinking, make it a bigger hole but give it a little bit more room down that angle so that a guy hitting a pretty straight shot is still going to find the fairway. A guy hooking it is obviously going to find rubbish early and struggle like they used to years ago.

Q. So you would open it up on the left?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I would open it up but if you open it up -- it's like that, if you open it up this way, that means anybody hitting down the straight line is fine but anybody hooking it, it's going to catch the rough early and be in a lot of trouble.
You know, it's all blended in and I think the new tee will be exactly what they need. That hole -- there's a lot of holes at St. Andrews now with the equipment that give you opportunities. You know, the whole reputation is built on the intimidation of the 17th hole and you don't want to see a situation where guys are coming -- some are probably down to hitting not even 3-wood off the tee. Off the back tee, assuming it's not into the wind, it's going to be a great hole.

Q. What's the longest club, ideally, you'd like to be hitting into that green? Let's put it into the wind --
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Sand wedge. (Laughter).

Q. What's the longest club that green would be designed to receive in the modern game?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: It was designed to receive a 1-iron. That's what they used to hit to chase it up. That's what it's meant to be. I don't think -- you know, I think 20 years ago, it was a four and a half. It was very much let's hit it to the front edge of the green and try to 2-putt it. Now I think it's -- yeah, like any links hole, it's designed any club in the bag can be played into it.

Q. But in terms of landing the ball on the green?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: It depends on the wind and the firmness and things like that. You know, anything, 5-iron, you're starting to worry about pitching it on the green and going through the green, that's for sure.

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