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June 19, 2011

Padraig Harrington


Q. What are your thoughts? Do you think you let him get away with the way the course was playing this week?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: No, I don't think anybody was thinking of letting him get away with -- it's not like anybody is close. I wasn't close. Definitely the course was certainly set up for scoring with the greens being soft, and ultimately that leads to good scoring. This won't be a U.S. Open that people go away thinking, well, maybe it should have been. There's only one winner and nobody is going to second-guess that.

Q. Do you think that Rory will take some relief to get it done? Being a young guy with so much hype, he's been in contention at a few majors now, that if he gets this one it'll be easier to move on? How would you view that?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I think I'd have to agree with what you said. He's a player with tremendous potential, and winning fulfills that potential and makes it easier to keep going. So yeah, I would agree with you.

Q. We've seen a few guys who had that potential and haven't won majors. And the longer it goes, the harder it seems to get. I was wondering if it's good for him to go ahead and get this and move on.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I think Rory has set himself apart now in potential. Other guys have been in contention and failed to win majors. Rory has been lapping the field. So it is important for him to get a major, get across the line. But even if something happened today, he's still very young, and I think everybody else in the field would be delighted if they could lead by so many strokes after 63 holes or 62 holes into it or something like that.
Yeah, when he wins, it will make it easier going forward, yes.

Q. This will be the fifth major in which a member of the European Tour has won. What does it say about the emergence of that Tour and what it's doing mostly on American soil?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yeah, you know, it's a very strong time, but it goes in ebbs and flows, doesn't it? We were strong in the '80s, and we're obviously strong at the moment. I'm sure if you picked out who was going to win the majors two years ago, you might in essence guess who the five were going to win, so that says a lot about the European Tour. There's a number of players in Europe who are maybe not the best players -- well, they could be the best players. Actually, yeah, they'd be right in that category of whenever you list out maybe five players who haven't won a major, you'd certainly -- well, maybe ten players who haven't won a major, you'd maybe be naming seven Europeans in there. So there's a lot of potential behind the guys who are winning, and it's great for the European Tour. But it does go in ebbs and flows. It was like that in the '80s, and then the U.S. dominance, and then certainly Europe is strong at the moment.

Q. As someone who's won a major before, your advice for a first-time winner on how you handled things going forward?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You know what, I think he's well placed. I think he's in a slightly different situation to me. He's 22 years of age, and this is indeed his destiny. So I think he's well prepared for it.
You know what, I think he's got very good balance in his life, so I don't think this is going to be too earth shattering for him.

Q. What's in the water in Ireland and Northern Ireland?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Ireland is a great country for competitive golf. A lot of other European countries are sending their amateurs to our big tournaments now because they realize that we consistently produce competitors. All the competition is right from the age of 18 all the way up, there's a strong competitive golf system in place, and there's always -- I grew up playing Rory, Graeme. We've produced a lot of good European pros, as well, and Ryder Cup players. We're a tiny country, tiny number of players, but there's just a lot of competition.

Q. How amazing is this performance?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: It's not amazing that he's going to win a major, but it's amazing how comfortable that he's lapping the field, and it's not like he's holing putts out there. Sometimes you see a guy run away with a tournament and they're draining putts from all angles and everything is going their way. From what I've seen, he's been very comfortable and it's been well within him. Actually I've only seen him really miss a few putts. It's really been a very easy-going lapping of the field.
I think this is what makes a difference: There might be people capable of winning a major, but there's not too many people capable of dominating and running away from the field in a major.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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