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March 19, 2010

Padraig Harrington


DOUG MILNE: Padraig, thanks for joining us for a few minutes here after a successful round two at the Transitions Championship, 6-under 65 today.
Just a few comments on the round and your feelings as you head into the weekend.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: My low score of the year, so I'm happy with that.
Yeah, I felt quite good. When I got it in position, I hit a lot of really nice iron shots. I got a few breaks, as well, during the round, which you generally always do when you shoot 65.
I made a fortunate birdie on my 14th hole, the fifth hole. I had to play like a chip-and-run and chipped it up to ten feet and I holed a couple of putts at the last couple of holes, one at the last about 12 feet up the green. I thought it was coming up short but just made it to the hole. So it's been, as always, when you shoot 65, you do get the odd break out there. So I'm happy with the return.

Q. A little more comfortable as you make your way around, third-trip-around-type thing ?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, I'm definitely getting more comfortable with the golf course. But I also realize that, you know, obviously there will be two new pin positions Saturday and Sunday, and probably tougher pins on Sunday, in particular, and I won't be that familiar with it.
So I will to take kind of the attitude I've been taking for the first to days, which is fire away at them and not worry about it until I get up there. It has not cost me too badly so far. So I'll kind of stick with that for two more days.

Q. With the change in the routine this week, with what you did Wednesday, are you surprised that you are --
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You know, if I thought going to the White House was going to detrimentally affect my performance, one or the other would have to be given up, either the tournament or the White House. (Laughter).
You know, I felt that it certainly may put a little bit more risk into the performance, but I didn't think it would detrimentally affect it, and it hasn't, obviously. I would like to have known the golf course more.
I think if I had played this course a few times, you know, played the tournament last year or the year before, obviously I think it would be reasonable to take a day off on Wednesday and still compete in the tournament without any adverse affects.
I don't think there was a physical adverse affect, but I still didn't know the golf course as well as I would have liked to. Still getting to know it.

Q. Given the speed of the greens, to what extent is this a good warmup for Augusta?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I think the golf course is a really good, solid golf course. I think, you know, the slope of the greens is a good guide to what you're going to see at Augusta in the greens, that sort of slope. Even though the greens are running pretty quick in terms of what they would be on the Stimpmeter, for whatever reason, I'm not too sure.
They are not -- I know this may sound strange, but maybe because of the look, they are not running any faster than they look, so they are actually -- I've left one or two putts short, rather than anything else out there. So that could be just the color of the greens or maybe the sand that's there, but certainly they haven't played maybe as fast as -- I'm going to get caught up -- I'm going to get caught out in it the next two days for saying that, but they haven't played as fast as they look, let's say.
But I do expect them to get faster on the weekend, and with some tougher pin positions, I would say, as well, on Sunday. It's only going to go one way from here, and that's tougher.

Q. Do you feel as though you're in scoring/winning mode, and how long have you been there, if so; and if you're not, why not?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I'm capable of winning in the form I'm in. Am I in my best form? No. Am I getting there? Yes. I'm kind of in the form that I was in at the end of last year. I'm out there -- I'm right in the midst of it. I'm not far away from -- I'm happy that I've got another weekend of golf here and another tournament before Augusta, let's say.
I do feel like I could go with more golf. I'm pretty much in the midst of playing golf at the moment and not too worried about my technique.

Q. Do you almost need to win first to answer that question --
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: No, you have to compete first. That's all you've got to do. Winning and competing are pretty much the same thing.
You know, you put yourself out there and you put yourself at the line; that tests where your game is at. You know, some weeks, the results happen and you get a win, and some weeks they won't. I've played tournaments where I've played great coming down the stretch and not won and I've played tournaments where I've played average and won. So it's not always the result.
Mind you, I haven't won in a while, so a result would be nice, but it's more about putting yourself in competition right up there and testing yourself. You learn a lot more when you're in that sort of position. I had a good week last week where, you know, I tested my game and I'll go and have another day tomorrow where I'll be thinking about it a little bit more than maybe I should, and worried a little bit more, and that's the sort of pressure you want in a buildup for a major tournament, yeah.
But I've got to say, guys, I won't be thinking about the Masters tomorrow. I'll be thinking about Transitions. That's my focus for the next two days.

Q. Ours, too. But I did have a question about the Masters, if you don't mind, since the round is over for the day. If you were on the Competitions Committee at Augusta National, who do you put with Tiger?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: What draw ---- he didn't win a major last year, did he? Just do their normal draw. I don't think they should take any -- just do whatever they normally do. Is he paired up? I don't know. Did Tiger win a major last year?

Q. No.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: So that doesn't mean -- major winners get an automatic draw.

Q. The defending champion gets the U.S. Amateur Champion, usually and after that we can't figure?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I wouldn't do anything --

Q. You wouldn't do anything differently?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You know, you'd like to say treat it as a normal week. (Laughter) I don't think it's going to happen. But I think that certainly in terms of outwardly, I think that's how it will happen then. You know, it will be a normal draw.
I don't think, you know, you've got to remember, of all of the places, if you're going to get -- if there is an issue being drawn with Tiger Woods in his first tournament back, if you're going to choose a golf course for it to happen, Augusta is the place. It is as ordered as can be there.
So I for one would be quite comfortable if I got drawn with Tiger the first two rounds at the Masters. I do not see it being any different than being drawn with him the first two rounds last year.
I do believe, though, if it was first two rounds at Bay Hill, that would be slightly different. But then again, you wouldn't mind being there to watch it all. (Laughter).
DOUG MILNE: Lastly, if you wouldn't mind just running us through --
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Oh, my golf, all right. (Laughter) What do you want to know?
DOUG MILNE: Just your birdies.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I hit it in the bunker off 11, laid up and hit a 9-iron to a foot from 130 yards.
16, I hit 3-wood, 6-iron to three feet.
1, I hit it in the bunker off the tee again, laid up and hit lob-wedge to a foot.
3, poor tee shot but I hit a 4-iron to about six feet.
5, par 5, yeah, I hit it in the bunker off the tee again, par 5. Laid it up under a tree, chipped it under the tree to about ten feet and holed the putt.
Next one, I hit it right off the tee and got caught up in the trees. Missed about a 12-footer for par.
7, I hit a 3-wood, 9-iron to about eight feet.
9, I hit a 3-wood, 6-iron to about 12 feet.

Q. To which side of the fairway did you lay-up on 1?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: On 1? There are two fairways on 1?

Q. To which side?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I just tried to hit the fairway when I'm laying up. I don't have that ability to pick outsides. I'm always impressed with guys that can. I always aim at pin and hope that it goes there. (Laughter).
It was pretty good. It was up the middle somewhere. Maybe a little left of center. But I can tell you I was aiming at the middle.
DOUG MILNE: Thanks for your time. We appreciate it.

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