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September 22, 2010

Padraig Harrington


STEVE TODD: Pテ。draig, many thanks for joining us here at the Vivendi Cup. You just had a chance to go out on the Marly Course, if you can just start with your thoughts on the competition this week.
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, it's a fun competition, and certainly I suppose if I was here under any other circumstances and not The Ryder Cup next week, it really would be a fun week. I've got my brother with me. It's the first time I've played with one of my brothers in this sort of format. So he's excited to be here and thrilled to be here. So it's kind of a nice week. Obviously there's a slight different edge to it, as well. You're getting ready for next week.
The golf course itself, it's an interesting course. There's obviously -- you have to be incredibly aggressive. You know, there's going to be a lot of birdies made. The greens are difficult so you're going to throw in a few bogeys at times.
Even though it's stroke play, it could become good preparation for next week in terms of you kind of, certainly, so far, you kind of play every hole very aggressively, hit drivers, and just keep going after it and trying to make as many birdies as you can, which is not a bad idea for match play, either.
STEVE TODD: Peter was in earlier on and he was talking about the course being quite short and a lot of emphasis on his wedge play this week perhaps. What are you hoping to take away from this week in terms of moving forward to next week? Obviously your aim is to win the tournament but what parts of your game are you looking to take away.
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON: I'll be working on more the mental side of my game; you know, try and make sure my routines are solid, that I'm committing to my shots and things like that.
The actual physical parts are fine, it's just getting and making sure I'm nicely settled into my routines and committed to your shots. You can never get that on the practise grounds. You always have to be in competition to see where your game is at.
I like the idea of getting out there and having one shot at it each time and there's enough -- even the course has good scoring on it, because there's enough shots on it that at times, there's plenty of par 5s with water on it and things like that. So you are asked to hit some good golf shots, and you're asked to commit and go after it; as I said, you've got to make birdies, so it's not like you can play safe out there.
I'm really looking at the mental side of my game and making sure that I'm going to be sharp going into next week.

Q. Trying to hone your game in that way, mentally, the fact that you're going into team golf next week where you have got the distraction of the second person, does it help having Fergal with you this week to let you have the distractions but still concentrate?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON: You know, yeah, I suppose I had not thought about the fact that it is a team element this week. I always like the Pro-Am format, because over the years, you know, I concentrate on my partner if things are not going well with me or stay with myself. You can move your focus around to keep you on a nice high, let's say, a nice buzz on the golf course in terms of if your partner holes a putt, it feels like you've made birdie and keeps you going.
Yeah, I could see how this format could have a reflection on next week that, you know, you're quite happy next week if your partner makes all of the birdies, you have no problem with that. And you've got to figure a way out -- I know through my Ryder Cups at times, you have to figure out how to get the best out of your playing partner, and that means keeping him going the way he is. I know I played with Monty when he was on top form, and my whole idea was, you know, just keep him where he is. But then sometimes you could be playing with a rookie and you want to try to calm him down. Another guy, he might be playing his best golf and you want to get him up for it. So there's all those sort of things in it in a team format and you do have to read your playing partner and you do have to react in the right way, because I've certainly seen it in my years of playing as an amateur in team events. Each partner has a huge effect on how the other guy plays.
Years ago, as an amateur, you'd have the guy coming in, and he might be saying, I play great, and the other guy didn't play so well. Generally the other guy didn't play so well because you did something, you didn't make him comfortable or there was something in your game that affected his game. A huge amount of that partnership is the trust between the players and knowing that one player is there for the other guy.
At times, you know, if you can come in at the right time in a fourball or a foursomes and hole that putt, you know, say if your partner misses the green in foursomes and you chip it stone dead, you walk away with a par, why you are foursomes partner thinks he's playing good golf; whereas if you chipped it to ten feet you missed, he thinks he's made the mistake and he loses confidence.
So a massive amount in team golf, foursomes and fourball, you can really have a huge effect on your playing partner depending what you say and what you do at different times. A bit of practise at that this week is no harm.

Q. You are one of the senior players on the side, if not the senior player, but perhaps the form has not been there; how would you figure if a younger player in better started to play that on you?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON: I'd be delighted, as in if it got me to win a match, my pairing to win a match, I'll do anything; as in, I'll be very happy if somebody needed to feel like he wanted to be the captain and that's fine. I'll be very happy to let him be it if that makes him play better golf. I don't need that at times.
So I'll be very happy in that situation. I will let him, if necessary, take control, and, you know, some guys like to be the guy who decides to give a 2-footer an out. Some guy likes to be the guy to decide, you know, whether to get involved in a ruling or not, or just, you know, all those sort of things.
There's two formats. You can either have a captain in each group and a player who does, usually a rookie or whatever, that does -- the captain, usually the senior player normally gets the best out of him or else you have an equal partnership. It has to be like that. You have to have clear lines. You can't have two captains, let's say. So either it's very equal and everything is discussed, or else you have one guy who has control of, let's say, that's given or when you're going to change your tactics and be a bit more aggressive or something like that.
But yeah, I would have no problem, as long as it gets me points, I have no issue. As I said, I never minded if whoever has the glory, that's fine with me, as long as the team wins.

Q. First time you've played with competition with Fergal. What's the history of the competition between your two brothers?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON: We're brothers. That means a lot of competition. I would have grown up playing all of my golf with Fergal. As a kid he's 18 months older than me; so we would have played a lot as a junior.
The last time I would have played, usually I get a couple of games in during the winter. Usually we go somewhere different, we tend to go to a new venue or something like that. My brother would be the keenest golfer in the family, and so if there's a new golf course or something like that.
You know, he's a terrible -- we'll go play golf during the winter and he'll want to play off the back tees. I'm going, no, I want to play off the forward tees. He's a real diehard golfer.
So he loves his golf and loves coming out and playing. This is fantastic, but loves playing any of the big name golf courses, and as I said, wants to play it off the back tees and wants to play stroke play and all the sort of stuff that I suppose when I am playing social golf, it's not so much fun.

Q. Did he beat you when you were younger?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON: At times he would have beat me as a kid, yeah, but obviously I passed him out at one stage.

Q. Does he remind you of the times he beat you?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON: He doesn't remind me too often though, no. I think I'd have a few on him, so there's no point in going down that road. He's not going to win that battle.

Q. Can you imagine playing The Ryder Cup with your brother?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON: Gee whiz, that is amazing that the two Molinaris are. It's phenomenal. The way they have gone about it on the team, everything about them, yeah, it's -- I know both of them through -- not so much through the golf but they work with the same physio and that, so I know them that way. But I have no idea how their relationship together on the golf course. Obviously they won the World Cup, so they must be able to play golf. I know one of my brothers says he refuses to ever play golf in front of me because he can't play when I'm around. He's always thinking I'm looking at his golf swing or something like that. (Laughter).
It's interesting, obviously they don't have an issue like that. They are obviously two brothers, but they play the game totally different. They look, different physiques, everything about them is different but the surnames, really.

Q. Is that Taig?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON: Taig can't play whatsoever in front of me. I have his number. (Laughter).

Q. How old is he?

Q. How many shots do you give your brother you're playing with this week?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON: I give my brother, and my brother, he's going to hate me for saying this, he's a 13 handicapper. I normally give six shots on a handicap during a match, I said, I couldn't give him 19 shots; I gave him 30. The match finished on the second hole. (Laughter) brought him off the back tees of Carton House just before the Irish Open, and when you've lost four balls off the second tee, the head goes down. (Laughter).

Q. Do you find the build up to The Ryder Cup just a little too long?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON: You know what, in other years, yes. You know, in the years that I've qualified through the system, like there's no doubt I got frustrated the last one, I was tired coming into it during the Monday. This is very much akin to some of the U.S. players, maybe Tiger a few years ago, we are not used to the structure of The Ryder Cup, being told to play practise rounds, turn up on the Monday, go do this interview, do this dinner, do all of these things and at the set times. Yeah, I was tired the last time around; do I have to do this.
This year, I've got a pick and I'm there, when do you want me, what do you need me to do. It's such a different position now that I don't find the build up in any way long. I can't wait to get there. It's definitely a totally different feeling when you've got a pick than when you've got in there on the system itself.
I like the fact that, you know, it could be exactly the boost, a bit more pressure and adrenaline during the week that I need.
STEVE TODD: Thank you.

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