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August 27, 2010

Padraig Harrington


PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You know I should be better than 5-under par myself. But it's neither here nor there if it stays within a few of the lead, that's fine. A few shots even three shots better it doesn't make a whole lot of difference as a guy's winning a tournament on Friday. Playing well on Saturday and Sunday, I'm in position to do that as long as nobody runs away with it, you know, I look forward to a strong weekend.

Q. How has this golf course set up for you? It's kind of a traditional golf course.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I like traditional golf courses. I like the courses, Northeast to the U.S. It tends to play well in these conditions. I didn't make the cut here the last time, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect this time. But these sort of golf courses do suit my game. I'd like to play in this type of golf all the time.

Q. How is this course set up as opposed to something that's a little more modern that's improvised more, emphasizes power more than this one does?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You make due on golf courses every week. Poa annua greens, sloping greens. So around the greens I've seen these shots all my life. So I would be familiar with. But it doesn't suit me any better. Probably does suit me a little better than newer golf courses. I can adapt to the new golf course, too. So I'm prepared to play this type of golf course, but we don't always have that option.

Q. You've been pretty good at compartmentalizing things over the years and putting things in little boxes. What box is the Ryder Cup in right now, in a big box or off in a corner?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: It's difficult. You can lead to an event like this and I know that it's only three spots available. And there's plenty of good players out there. You don't want to believe that it comes down to one particular week as in you don't necessarily want to think that three guys, somebody doing well here has an advantage over somebody not doing well here. It should go on the whole year. But you know that you don't want to mess up either this week.
Certainly didn't want to after missing the cut in the PGA. The last thing I wanted was to come here and miss the cutoff or play poorly here and then say, well, maybe I'm out of form. Hopefully now after we got finishes in the summer, the PGA, saying oh well, that's just a blip like all the majors were this year. It's kind of a little bit like that. You don't want it to be like that.
I believe that Monte should make a decision based on the full year and who is going to play consistently and who we can relay to play well. When it comes around to him saying that in the last tournament of the year, couple days before the team is going to be picked, it's nice to be showing a bit of form. It won't do me any harm. It's no burden to carry it, let's say.

Q. If you were 12-under, you would be hoping that this week counted for everything, right?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yes, you would indeed. We know it's not, so that hasn't really crossed my mind. But that's neither here nor there. I'm sure they're going to try. Barclays would love to have it as a counting event. But the Ryder Cup selection is obviously a very big deal and they want to make sure that they can announce it and make those decisions at a European TOUR event and it's not reliant on a U.S. Tour event.

Q. When did you last talk to your captain?

Q. Early in the week?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I talked to him early in the week, yeah.

Q. The discussion, just keep grinding, keep going?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You know, it was along the lines of he seen my form, just keep it up. It was keep going sort of thing. It wasn't a question of -- he certainly didn't sit there and say you gotta pull something out of the hat and he certainly didn't sit there and say I don't have you in the thinking or you're guaranteed or anything like that. It was a question of keep playing the golf, keep it going type thing so that -- I think this is what you said to all the guys. I think he wanted us to make it easy on them.

Q. I'm not sure you guys have done that yet?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: At the end of the day, Peter Hansen played lovely golf last week. He got himself on the team and deserves to be on the team. So unfortunately anybody who doesn't qualify automatically doesn't deserve the right to be there and has to look for the good fortune of a captain's pick. And as I said to start with, there's a number of players who could be picked. And if anybody's left out or picked, it's not going to make a massive difference to the team, as in no player could say they have more than a marginal benefit to the team over any other player.
So it's not easy for the captain, essentially. At the end of the day somebody's going to get left out here. And somebody's going to get picked. If you switched them, the team wouldn't be -- it wouldn't change the betting, let's say?

Q. If you don't get one of the picks, do you regret --
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: No, I think I'll regret not doing the slightly different schedules. I focused on the World Rankings and ultimately to make it into the top 4 of the World Rankings you have to win some heavy points in some weeks. You just can't do it by trotting in there top 10s aren't enough. You've got to get the wins or close to it. Our focus on that, at the end of the day I set my schedule with the expectation of playing good golf and expecting to qualify.
You know, that hasn't happened. And next time around I'm going to have to be a lot more weary and in some ways, I prioritize playing well in the Ryder Cup in many ways ahead of prioritizing the points table and definitely going forward I think I have to prioritize making sure that I qualify -- you set your schedule at the start of the year it is important to do this. You've got to set your schedule like you're going to play like a champion. Go out there and win the tournaments and not have to worry about any of these things.
You can't go out there with schedules thinking -- but as it turned out that was a mistake on my behalf. If I still could have played some more, considering how close I am on the money, I definitely should have played some more counting events in that area and I wouldn't have this worry at the moment.
And unfortunately that's a mistake I made setting out my schedule. I set it out with the idea I'm going to have a bumpy year and this isn't going to be an issue.

Q. Have you ever been a pick before?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: No, I missed it in '97 by -- I was 11 and a half thousand yards out of the team as it turned out.

Q. This is a unique position for you, in that instance there, too.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I was a rookie then. I knew at the end of the day I wasn't getting picked. This is the first time I'll go into it -- and I've had situations where I've been out of the team coming towards the end and made a move into it. I think one of the years I made, I finished runner up in the last two events to get in. And one of the years I was well out of the year and 2008 when I won the two majors, to come strong at the end. So another year I was out. I went and finished second in the French Open, pushed myself into it.
I just didn't have any of those big -- I didn't have any of the really big finishes this year. And that's hurt me in terms of points. The Irish Open I guess has been the biggest one runner up there. You need to win a few of those, the World Rankings with the guys playing well, it's been tough like -- it's a testament to a good European side that there's a lot of strength there. And there's a lot of good players that in other years that we're not talking about now, that other years would have been in the hunt for these picks like Carson and Henrik Stenson, two quality players you don't hear their names being thrown around obviously because there's other names being talked about. But usually the picks have been reserved for the likes of that, quality players who might be slightly out of form.
Instead, this year you seem to have quality players who are in nice form, it's an odd situation to say that they're good enough but they haven't made it on merit.

Q. Does this afternoon feel like [Inaudible]?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I never liked those days. Yes. Yeah, you know definitely will. Sitting there, you know, it was the best thing I could do is keep playing well here and focus on this tournament. But I will be interested. And I have to find out the timing and everything. I don't know if we get to see the picks. Do you guys know what time?

Q. I imagine it will on the Golf Channel, like 7:00.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I'm thinking 6:00, 6:30. That is in European time, so 1:30 here. So if I play really well I can have a late enough tee off so I can see it before -- maybe that might be a good thing, actually. Maybe I should just ignore it and just keep playing.

Q. What was the toughest hole you played over the last two days here?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I'm sure there's a hole -- you know, there's a lot of good strong holes here. There's four or five tee shots that you've got to hit. And they could be awkward tee shots. I'm thinking you gotta hit a good tee shot on 11. Good tee shot on 12. Gotta hit a good tee shot on 6.
You know, anywhere you don't hit a good tee shot you put yourself under pressure. 18 is another one you want to put a good tee shot. So there's several par 4s that are long enough that if you miss the fairway, you are struggling to reach in to.

Q. In terms of this tournament being up in the air after next year, would you be okay with going back to Westchester?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I won at Westchester. I would be happy with Westchester. I personally believe this is nothing to do with this golf course. This is a very good golf course and it would be a great -- I believe the Barclays belongs in -- and Liberty, I stayed in New York last year. Stayed in the city, traveled out by the ferry. Such a unique way to play an event. Such a unique event. How often do we get to stay in New York City.
For me when Barclays is -- it's a big bank. It's got the brokerage, all that stuff. It should be as close to the city as it can be. So that's my own personal feeling is that Liberty was a great venue.

Q. There's been some detractors with Westchester and Liberty. Do you think the players' opinion of the facility is going to weigh into that in a future decision?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I think Liberty are keen to adapt and do anything that's needed to make sure that the players are comfortable. Westchester, like Ridgewood here, is a traditional golf course. To be honest, they shouldn't change for professional golfers. If they were good enough for the last few years they're good enough going forward. Liberty is a good course and is willing to -- which it needs to do -- it needs to evolve as all golf courses evolve over time. But Liberty as a new course needs to do it a bit quicker. Westchester is what it is. It's a traditional golf course. Tricky holes on it. I certainly liked it. A few good finishes there. I'll be more than happy to be back there.

Q. Do you draw any parallels coming into this year's playoffs as opposed to last year, four top 10s in the playoffs?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, it's pretty similar for me. At the end of the day, I'm in a position that I want to win one of the first three and then win the last one to win it. That's straightforward. It's a very simple concept, this playoff thing. You have to win one of the first three and then win the last one then win 12 plus million dollars in the FedExCup. That's how it's done. The top 10s are nice they keep you going, but you really need a win. It's all about trying to win one of these first three events and that will put you in position then you're in a great chance going into East Lake.

Q. I'm working on an extension for the TOUR championship. Could you give us your opinion on what it's like to finish on a par 3 and specifically what it is like to finish on East Lake's par 3, 18?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: It's not about finishing with a par 3, it's about finishing where you have to hit sometimes a 3-wood, probably regularly like a hybrid club, certainly a 3-iron type shot. So you're finishing a hole that you're asked to hit a real golf shot. It's no, hit one down there and you've got a wedge in your hand to hit to the middle of the green or an 8 or 9-iron. A lot of players can make par doing that. You've gotta hit a quality shot at 18 at East Lake. That's what is good about that hole.
There's a bit of pressure there. If you stand at the tee and you're tied or even one behind, you've got a great chance to win the tournament. You hit it close, the other guy is going to be under pressure to make par. There's a hole there can be a 2-shot on. For me it's definitely a good tough finishing hole and it's relevant as a par 3. It's a long iron that has to be hit.

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