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THE IRISH OPEN


June 28, 2012


Padraig Harrington


PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND

PAUL SYMES:ツ Pテ。draig, 5‑under par, great start to a very big week for you.
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツ Yeah, very happy with the score.ツ Certainly would have taken it going out.ツ Keeps me well in position.ツ Yeah, obviously I'm disappointed.ツ Takes the shine off the round.ツ 3‑putting the last hole.ツ Professional golfers are very fickle that way.
Crowds are unbelievable.ツ I said outside, all of the interviews, now at this stage, 7.50, the weather was only fit for being in bed and there was a huge crowd out there at that stage and they were queuing to get in.ツ They weren't being let in I think when we were coming to the golf course.
It was starts willing, I suppose, really.ツ It was akin to what you would see on a Sunday afternoon at an Irish Open, and it was there Thursday morning when it was raining.
It will be interesting to see how it goes for the rest of the week but so far it's unbelievable.

Q.ツ What do you think it says about Portrush's chances for an Open Championship?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツ I think the golf course and the venue and the people and everything about it, it would be a great venue for The Open Championship.
Obviously I suppose there's more to it than just that.ツ I don't think in any shape or form this golf course fails on its tee‑to‑green ability.ツ I think, you know, can they move the people around the golf course, and obviously they can have a look at that this week.ツ But there are a number of tight spots to fit a lot of people through.
But, you know, if it was an Open Championship, they can do a little bit more in terms of, yeah, developing more room on the left‑hand side of 18 for people to walk off.ツ I have no idea of the logistics that go on behind the scenes.

Q.ツ What would be the drawbacks you would see ‑‑
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツ Really I'm not the person capable of commenting on the drawbacks.ツ I'm really only capable of commenting on the venue and the golf course, and it's awesome, it really is awesome.ツ It's a joy to play this golf course.ツ It really is a super golf course.ツ It's got a lot of testing golf shots on it but it also gives you something; when you hit a good shot, it gives you something.ツ It rewards you out here.ツ You feel like, hey, if I hit a good shot here, I'm going to be able to make a birdie.

Q.ツ (Regarding length of the course).
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツ I certainly do not see this golf course in any shape or form playing longer than it would have played when I played it 17 years ago.ツ It's not a longer golf course.ツ So they have lengthened it‑‑ probably the only tee box, 17 I can see a difference in the tee shot.
But like I'm sure if they were thinking of having an Open, they would lengthen it again.ツ As I say, they certainly haven't‑‑ I think it's playing similar to what I would have seen when I played back in '95 in those sort of years in terms of length.ツ I wouldn't think it's playing‑‑ if anything, maybe a few holes probably a little bit‑‑ probably if anything a little shorter.ツ The likes of 4 was a very big hole back then.ツ It's not now.ツ Yeah, probably it's a little shorter than it was in '95 but not massively.

Q.ツ Would you see a par‑70 for an Open?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツ I couldn't see it being anything but a par‑70; I assume.ツ But pure logistics.ツ Par 70.ツ It doesn't make any differences.ツ The guy who shoots the lowest number of shots on whatever golf course is set up, whether it's 2‑over par, 10‑under par or 18‑under par, as long as it's a fair golf course; I think that's what Dermot alluded to at Augusta, when they lengthened Augusta, it was to allow them set it up fairly.ツ Because whatever shorter‑‑ the pin positions are very tight.ツ In some ways, the golf course could be called tricky at that stage; where a longer golf course, they can go with much more fairer, much more open pin positions because it's a bigger golf course.
You know, I prefer playing the most difficult golf course made easy for the pros rather than an easy golf course made tricky for us.ツ I don't like seeing tricky golf courses.ツ That's why I think today, they set the golf course up pretty easy with the weather forecast, which why does anybody believe an Irish weather forecast?ツ Everybody looks at the forecast; I never look at a forecast.ツ Just baffles me.
They set the golf course up easy.ツ Obviously the referees have to do that.ツ But you didn't feel it was in any way tricked up.ツ You felt like you could‑‑ you had a chance on every hole out there.

Q.ツ (Are there any shots that will prepare you for The Open)?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツ I know these will prepare me for The Open so I don't need to think about The Open.ツ You kind of just have to get your head around, well, what's it like hitting off a tight lie or how far does the ball go.ツ By doing that over 72 holes, you'll come across enough shots that will give that you feeling that it's not a question of saying, well, if I practise this particular shot, I'll be ready for The Open.ツ It's a whole feeling of‑‑ it's just getting yourself mentally in tune with links golf.

Q.ツ Good pairing?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツ We had good fun today.ツ Simon and Graeme and myself, we enjoyed ourselves.ツ I think I got it going on the first tee, when Graeme hit a beautiful 3‑wood off the first tee and I just looked, it was the perfect shot he hit off the tee, a little fade.ツ I just said, your two playing partners are very jealous because we still have 18 holes to go in the miserable rainy; the biggest problem with starting on 10 is you spend the whole time warming up in the right‑to‑left wind and all of a sudden you're in a left‑to‑right wind and you're not quite sure whether you've developed a nice push‑fade off that wind.
So when Graeme hit his tee shot I was certainly looking at it going, gosh, I wish I had that one already.ツ So from there, we were very relaxed.ツ But it is Thursday.

Q.ツ (Inaudible.)
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツ In not in terms of‑‑ no, nobody is getting‑‑ it's been very relaxed.ツ And sometimes.

Q.ツ Were the crowds‑‑
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツ Not in terms of‑‑ no, nobody is getting‑‑ the crowds on the greens, we are enjoying that but they are not getting involved anymore than that.
A few times actually when we are out in the ropes, a couple of‑‑ it's been very relaxed.ツ And sometimes you can be on the fairway and hear the crowds out here.ツ It quite tight in places.
So there was a good atmosphere, and I can't remember, I know I said a few things out there that at least I thought were funny anyway.

Q.ツ Was there any particular part of your game that you were particularly pleased with today.
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツ I hit the driver solid.ツ I hit it right middle of the clubface a lot of times today and really hit a lot of good drives on important holes.ツ The likes of 17 and 2 and 9, I hit really, good, solid tee shots that I was very happy about that.ツ There was a lot of good, important tee shots.
I hit a lot of good shots into the middle of the green.ツ I really wasn't in trouble at all in terms of I had a very stress‑free round up until 4.ツ They pushed the tee box up on 4 and both myself and Simon, just not quite sure how tight that out‑of‑bounds is on the right.ツ I never settled over that tee shot at all and I hit a bad tee shot.ツ I'm out of position there, and 8, probably didn't know the hole well enough on 8.ツ So besides that, there was a lot of‑‑ I had a stress‑free round.ツ If I 2‑putted the last, I'd be telling you that, you know, I would have 2‑putted the four par 5s at that stage for four birdies, hit it stone dead on 3 for a birdie.
So chipped in on another one.ツ That's six of my birdies‑‑ or five of my birdies.ツ The other birdie, I think I holed a nice putt.ツ So I basically holed one putt today in terms of‑‑ so when you do that and you can shoot 5‑under par, it means you weren't under much stress.

Q.ツ The chip, you couldn't see the ball‑‑
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツ It wasn't lying too bad.ツ It was a horrific lie, it was really Doug in there deep (laughter) and had to know what I was doing.
Under my feet it was awkward in terms of my stance and stuff like that but the ball was neutral.ツ It wasn't a particularly heavy lie and it was exactly what you‑‑ I was well able to predict how it was going to come out.ツ I didn't have to pull my lob‑wedge and hack it or anything like that.ツ It wasn't a hit‑and‑hope, let's say.ツ It played the way it looked like it would come out.

Q.ツ Coming into recent form‑‑
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツ I do that work, anyway.ツ I always have.ツ You know, it's not a question of like when I finished at the U.S. Open, I obviously finished fourth, had a chance of winning.ツ I made a significant change the following week.

Q.ツ What change?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツ I completely changed my takeaway.ツ So it's going to catch up with me.ツ Caught up with me at the end of last week and might catch up again with me this week.ツ That's just who I am.
I'll always be tinkering and changing and things like that.ツ But I'm happy with how I'm hitting the ball.ツ I have been for a while.ツ I just haven't putted as well, you know, maybe as I would have years gone by.ツ But, hey, I'm in good stead, solid.ツ I'm definitely hitting it better off the tee.ツ So I put a few different shots into my game that I feel really good about.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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