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January 18, 2012

Padraig Harrington


Q.ツ We have a defending champion who was in a snowboarding accident.ツ Are you surprised at some of the things golfers do?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツ You know, you wouldn't function as a person or as a golfer if you didn't live your life.ツ While any accident is unfortunate and people may look at snowboarding or something like that as, why take the risk.ツ But if you sit at home in or in your hotel room or in your house looking at four walls, you wouldn't be a very good golfer.ツ You have to get out there and live your life and have things outside of golf, or else the golf won't be very good.
Obviously I don't ski because I didn't grow up skiing.ツ If I grew up skiing, I would see no reason not to keep going, but I'm not going to take up or learn a sport that's inherently dangerous to my own sport.ツ But still, you can't stop doing the things you love doing in that sense, and if you did, it would be detrimental to your form on the golf course.

Q.ツ Could you speak about the format?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツ I like the format this year.ツ Yeah, it really does make golf very unique.ツ There's no other sport in the world I could think of that amateur players can get in and mix with professional players on a championship golf course in championship conditions.ツ It's not like you can go out and being with a football team in Wembley, not in a match, anyway.
It's neat that we can do that and it certainly makes these tournaments stand out, and it's a great reward for the Amateurs who come in here to qualify and play with the professionals.ツ We are used to playing with amateur golfers and it doesn't have‑‑ it certainly for me doesn't have any detrimental effect and maybe has a beneficial effect.
I play in a couple of Pro‑Ams every year, like at the Dunhill or AT&T, and I find it quite relaxing when there's something else to occupy my mind, be it the amateur's game of golf; it sort of lightens it a bit.ツ When you're out there on your own, you can think a little bit too much.ツ But for the amateurs, it certainly helps you have another outlet to talk to somebody and relax on the golf course.

Q.ツ You've had success in this format.
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツ I've won the Dunhill a couple of times, yes.ツ I look forward to Friday.ツ It's certainly not going to be‑‑ there's no negative in it for me.ツ If the guy plays great, I'm delighted for him.ツ If he plays badly, you know, I kind of have a look at it and try to figure out why.

Q.ツ You're obviously not where you want to be in the world.ツ How much do you look at the stats to try to find out ways to improve?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツ You know, my stats, last year, it was a strange year for me.ツ Obviously I certainly had a peak year in 2007.ツ I had another peak in 2008.ツ It's impossible to always have peak years.ツ You have to have years below average and certainly 2009 was probably average; 2010, slightly below and last year was well below my average.ツ But it's not like you can have above average now.
You know, individual stats‑‑ I don't know, like last year, while I had terrible results and I had a terrible year, you can look in 2008, I think every Sunday on the Tour in the states where they keep the stats, I improved my position. ツI think in 2011 every Sunday, I actually went backwards every Sunday.ツ It's not for a lack of trying.ツ You can pull out all of these stats, and do they really tell the truth.ツ I know last year I had a neck injury that plagued me for the last ten years and I was probably losing six weeks a year to that.ツ Last year towards the end, I certainly felt something in my mental game that helped me, and I got to the bottom of my backswing which had been annoying me for five years.
So around the golf, it was actually a very positive year.ツ Obviously unfortunately‑‑ well, not unfortunately‑‑ but the reality is we are judged by our results.ツ I certainly when I watch people playing sports, I judge by results as well, and I have to accept that results last year were poor, and tend to want it to be black and white, but it isn't always that way.

Q.ツ In layman's terms, can you tell us what you got to the bottom of in your backswing?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツ In my backswing‑‑ you know, going back to 2006, probably my tee shot‑‑ starting around 2006, my tee shot on the 72nd hole at‑‑ 2002 followed by my tee shot on the 72nd hole of Carnoustie in 2007, you know, obviously mental error caused every bad shot.ツ So I wasn't quite sure physically what was happening, and it's taken me a long time to figure out what was actually breaking down.
Ultimately, it doesn't mean I had sorted it out or anything like, that but I had a lot more peace in the fact that I know the physical chain reaction to when I lose my concentration, which essentially for me is I leave the club behind me.ツ I drop it on the plane and leave it behind me.ツ I know why I do it.ツ I know how to stop it, but that doesn't mean I can stop it when it happens.ツ It just gives a little bit of peace when you know your bad shot and what's happening.

Q.ツ It's virtually impossible I would assume to recreate a links golf course on this sort of terrain, but how close do they get here and how does it compare, for example, to Carton House?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツ Well, I think this golf course certainly looks like a links.ツ It certainly plays on a lot of shots like a links golf course.ツ I think‑‑ and that's why I said it would be interesting to see, at the moment, the fairways are receiving quite a bit of water and the greens are receiving quite a bit of water.
How much they allow that Sunday to dry up will be interesting, because obviously if it was a links golf course, like when we played in Hoylake at the last Open, there was only dust on the fairways with how much it dried up.ツ But they are not going to do that here, but they certainly have the potential to have this playing exactly like any links in the world.
It's as close as you're going to get in terms of, there's certainly‑‑ like my caddie said to me today, "You will never see, I guarantee you, you won't see players walking up to any golf ball this week and walking by one thinking they are the next ball; they will always check the first ball."ツ You can have two of the exact same and they will be 40 yards apart, depending if one hits a soft patch.
It really does play like a links golf course.ツ You'll see guys hitting bunkers that are 50 yards away and you'll see guys carry bunkers 250 yards away.ツ It will play like a links and as close as can be, but if they wanted it could be exactly like a links, there would be no golf course really next week.ツ They would have to really let it go.

Q.ツ (Inaudible).
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツ Well, as good a job as you've ever seen‑‑ especially the ocean as it is on this course.ツ I would suggest what we play in the States, they are not worried about the following week in the States.ツ But when we play, like the PGA, they have let it go get hard and firm and dried it out, and I'm sure after we leave the golf course, there's a huge recovery after the PGA Championship there, it's dried out so much.
It would be foolish to do that this week, there would be no need to do it.ツ As regards to comparing it to Carton House, I've never seen Carton House in the summer.ツ I've only really played it in May for the Irish Open, and it obviously is too soft at that stage.ツ But here, it's in great condition, it plays really well.ツ But if it was a true links, it's meant to be tricky and lots of bad lies and things like that, which you can't find a bad lie out here.ツ It's pristine.
You can't find a bad lie out here, it's pristine.

Q.ツ Do you expect to winanother major?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツ That's a big, strong word.ツ I do, yeah.ツ I'm realistic to understand that when you look at other careers, the Majorswon by any European player, it took them 20, 25 years to win six.ツ I'm not foolish to believe that because I won one in 2007 and two in 2008 I should win three in 2009, or even another one.ツ They don't come around that easy.ツ Even in my era, the greatest player since I've been a pro, Tiger Woods, has not won one a year, and he had more at one stage.
So there have been plenty of years he has not won any.ツ At the end of the day, people have this idea that just because you play well and you win one, you should be doing that every year.ツ That's the hardest thing.ツ It definitely puts a big burden on anybody who wins a major.ツ It really does.ツ There's a lot of expectation that goes with it and it's harder going forward at times.
But certainly it would be naテッve to believe that they are going to come around easy all the time and just going to pick one up like that every year.ツ It just doesn't work like that.ツ Golf doesn't work like that.
For me, where I didn't have a great year last year, or a poor year last year, it doesn't worry me in the greater scheme of things, because I know you just can't win them every year.ツ You have to sit there and be patient and wait for your turn and like 2007 and 2008, they all come at once.
THE MODERATOR:ツ Thank you and good luck for the week.

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