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February 12, 2010

Padraig Harrington


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Padraig thanks for joining us after opening your first two rounds at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. 69, yesterday and today at Pebble Beach 67; 5-under par with a birdie on the 18the hole; 8-under par for the event. A very good start for you on a nice day for you.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You know, it was a great day tos score. When I actually finished, I actually had to total up the score. I wasn't sure what it was, so that's always a good sign.
It shows I was enjoying the day and very much in the moment, and, you know, not getting too much into the results. All those cliches that you're meant to do when you're playing golf.

Q. Was your 67 today as good as your 69 at Spyglass?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Well, both days -- you know, I chanced at Spyglass early on and missed a lot of putts, and then didn't play great coming home and chipped in at the last and things like that. So the 69 a Spyglass was a little bit of a steal at the end of the day.
So I walked off the golf course in a different sense -- you know, today I was still a little bit erratic, but I felt like I got the most out of it with 67. But yesterday with the finish I had, it was a bit of a -- with the chip-in on the last and I could have taken bogey, I definitely walked off the golf course feeling like I got one over the course that day.

Q. I know you've got a lot of friends up in the San Francisco area, and probably a few in the crowd. Give you are more comfort level today?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, I've a good few friends down here who've obviously traveled from San Fran. Yeah, so it's nice around here. Every tournament, whenever I play in California, they all come out, whether it's up there in L.A., Chevron, or, you know, San Diego, always have a big bunch of guys. It's nice. I enjoy it out here.
To be honest, I wish I was a little bit more prepared at this time of the year, because these golf courses are kind of like playing golf at home, so it be would be right up my street in terms of giving me a competitive advantage.
If I could pick a golf course, I probably would pick the likes Pebble or Torrey Pines or those sorts of courses at this time of the year because it's like playing golf at home.

Q. With the Open coming up in June, how much advantage can you think it could be to play here this year?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You know, I think the more you play any golf course the better you know it. The tactics will be substantially different when it comes to the U.S. Open. But even it's possible that the whether could be -- the actual ground conditions won't be the same, but you could get some cool weather in the middle of the summer. You're never quite sure.
But definitely I like the fact that it's about getting some sightlines. And, you know, I always tend to miss a little bit right or this hole plays a little bit shorter or this putt breaks this way or it's not as slow it's looks.
All those sort of things are what you learn when you play a golf course over and over in a competitive situation. You do learn things when play a practice round on a golf course, but you never learn anything near as much as when you play a golf course competitively.

Q. You'll be at the new course tomorrow. Did you get a practice round in?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I did. I got a practice round in. I was very diligent and did my work. I played at Monterey, and it was really nice. I like the idea that you've got a number of good strong holes, a couple par-5s and par-4s.
If you can pick out six or eight holes that you play to par, you don't (indiscernible) the par-3s, then you can take your chances on the other holes. It's kind of a two halves up there. There's a few tough holes and a few pleasant holes.

Q. One of the guys that's sort of hovering near the lead is Duval. I'm curious if you have any insight as to what happened with him, what's going on with him now? He's one the great enigmas.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Well, you know, I think it's very clear from David that it's happened before in his career. He's had the ups and downs before.
A huge amount of David's golf is about his own focus and, you know, his will to get out there and do it. I think when he won the Open Championship, he succeeded in a goal -- a lifetime goal, and it wasn't all he (indiscernible) it to be. Probably didn't at the time have other goals.
He moved toward -- in his life towards what he wanted, which is a normal family life. It's only now. I asked him about it myself. It's only now that he's got a couple kids. I think they could be 13 and 14 now. Like he's telling them, Hey, I used to be a good golfer, and he's out there trying to prove it now.
Motivation is a massive part of our game. You know, you've often seen guys' careers come back at different stages. A lot of it comes down to you're out here for 20 years. You know, get up every morning like at 5:00 in the morning, get out there and get in the gym, do your work, do your warm up, get out on the golf course and still have a little bit of adrenaline.
Nobody plays good golf without butterflies. You've got to have that a little bit of excitement about what's going ahead. Eventually burnout is when you don't have that. When it's not maybe the -- when it's not sort of the highest priority in your life.
I think what you're seeing with David is he's keen again, he's interested again. There's no doubt his golf is always gonna be there once he's mentally really, really is out there wanting it.

Q. (Question regarding when the conversation with David Duval took place.)
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I think about year, 15 months. Could have been two seasons ago. Casually asked him, and he said, Yeah. I just want to go out there and play some golf because he likes playing golf. I don't think he liked playing golf after he won the Open.
And I don't mean that -- you know, I mean, he (indiscernible) after he won the Open and found that maybe tit wasn't everything he had wanted. And he wanted that stability. I am going on a bit here, but he did want that stability in his life.
Now that he has that stability, you know, he's back enjoying -- you know, looking forward to playing golf and enjoying it.

Q. Do these first two rounds motivate you and make you hungry for the win?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You know, I'm that sort of individual. I am somebody who is -- I'm always afraid that it's gonna go away. I'm that sort of guy. It took me about eight years on tour before I actually really felt like, you know, coming out the following season, you know, I was scared -- for the first eight years I was completely scared it wouldn't be there.
Now at least I have a little bit of experience to realize that I have some idea of what I'm doing. Yeah, I'm reasonably motivated and focused. You know, in some ways I have to actually try and calm down and not overdo it. You know, that's my nature, is probably trying to keep the balance.
And the day I don't have it, I'll be retiring very quickly. I'll be on a slippery slope. Because you look at -- most successful years last 20 years. You know, you go back at Faldos, Seves, you look at your Lyles, you know, 20 years is what they could do in this game.
After that, you know, they might still play and win the odd tournament, but 20 years is a along time to be six, seven days a week focused on doing something.

Q. You're one of the cooperative guys and comfortable guys out here. Is that an attitude you worked on, or do you actually enjoy the interaction?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I grew up with a number of Irish journalists right from the age 14 years of age being interviewed. Amateur golf is covered extremely well in Ireland, so from a very early age I built up, you know, I'd say even more than a working relationship.
Like when I had won tournaments, I invited the Irish journal sits out to the celebration and things, so they would be friends at home. I think the reason -- I do talk about the odd time I think a lot of times players who come on late, they're worried about talking to the media and what's gonna happen.
As I said, from 14 years of age I've always been comfortable in these guys' company. I think that from that, I've never thought twice about it. It's been very familiar. So I would suggest that the Irish journalists have done a very good job of building a relationship. But, you know, that's the way forward.
You know, if I was gonna give any advise, I would say, you know, collectively the journalists have to build relationships with the younger guys going forward so they understand you guys are doing a job and we're doing a job.
I think it's often the case that a young player coming out on tour, wherever he's getting the advice, he's getting the advice, Oh, don't talk to the press.
If you guys maybe started building relationships maybe as an amateur and maybe in college golf, you know, all of a sudden they're a lot more relaxed and they know how -- what to say and how to handle themselves, let's say.
So it's pure experience. That's all I'm saying. At the age 14, every day from the age of 14 -- you've got to bear in mind as well, like I remember getting these -- when I was out on tour for a few years, every day I finish a round of golf I have to do an interview. The Irish papers are gonna cover how I had done every day. So I did an interview every day since I turned pro.
Whereas a similar guy could be the same age as me in the U.K., and when he leads his first tournament might be the first time he ever does an interview. So it's pure -- over the years I've done lots and lots and lots of interviews. Ireland is a small country.

Q. (No microphone.)
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: No, Carl wasn't around. It was Colin Smith and guys like that. Carl has taken over the mantel, and he's always there to entertain.

Q. There's always the fear that if you're gonna get one bad whether day here, Pebble plays the toughest in the weather. Any thoughts on that coming in this morning?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Thankfully, I didn't get too worried about it, even though if I was sitting down and analyzing it, that's exactly the thought, that you don't want your bad day in Pebble because there's no shelter at Pebble.
On the other courses, I think especially Spyglass, you got a number of holes in the trees. Monterey, not quite sure what it's gonna play like in bad conditions. But I would suggest that you have enough -- I would definitely suggest Pebble is the one you don't to be on on a bad day. Thankfully I got through mine now, so if it's a bad day tomorrow I won't be too worried.

Q. You mentioned last week that you're much more in competitive shape than you were a year ago. You also mentioned there was one part of your swing that you worked on, something you had done in the off-season. What exactly was that?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I think it's been two things, but the main one that I changed is I actually, at the top of my backswing, I tended to finish my backswing my arching my back a bit. So I tried to take that out of my backswing. You know, it's definitely improved my performance. It's not quite there at the moment because in many ways it's a shorter, tighter coil rather than a more longer swing, we'll say.
That's probably one of the more significant things I've taken out. The other has to do with my hip turn and my takeaway.

Q. Last year you talked about working on your swing when you were here. But you sort of played golf swing for a portion of last year. When did you sort of hit the turning point to get away from that?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I only hit the turning point -- I couldn't leave it alone last year. Just absolutely had me enthralled. I was fascinated with trying to get to the bottom of it. It certainly led to a very -- well, poor performances all the way up till August.
It was only in August that I kind of eventually agreed that I could wait another four months of the winter to finish off what I was doing. The minute I put it away, I was very happy that my game actually turned around very quickly.
That was probably the most pleasing thing about last year. When I did put my mind in the right place, it did turnaround. At the moment, I'm not in the right place. I'm getting there. This is early season, you know, but as along is as I get through maybe this rung or the next rung, I certainly will be finished then and ready to play golf with a clearer mind, let's say.
I would like to have been ready right now. As I said, looked good last week when I was at home, and then when he get out and play competitively, the difference between being on a golf course in a practice round is significant.
It wasn't so hot last week in L.A.

Q. Match play is gonna be announced here in a few minutes. Won't have Phil, and most likely won't have Tiger. What are your thoughts on what it will be like without those two?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, you know, I think it will take away quite a lot from Monday and Tuesday, you know, the hype before the tournament. But I think when any tournament starts it evolves itself and will create its own stories. There's always stories during the week of a golf event.
The guy who wins the tournament will probably be the guy that was playing the best golf that week in the world. I think he will be a worthy winner, and that all the matches will create a story that if guys aren't there -- I won't say they'll be forgotten about, but, you know, there will be new things to talk about once the games get going.
I think before the games get going, yeah, we're gonna talk about who's missing.

Q. You were in Australia, weren't you?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I played Australia, yeah. Big event for the Aussies. Steve Stricker won, and look where he is. Could be potentially world No. 1.

Q. (No microphone.)
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: He beat me, yes, he did. I probably didn't know his game fully. He's probably your guy -- he was on a comeback, too. You know, he was coming back at that stage, and he went away again and came back. He's probably the guy to talk to about understanding the highs and lows of this game.
He's in some form at the moment. World No. 2 and not putting a foot wrong, is he?

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