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THE IRISH OPEN


June 30, 2012


Padraig Harrington


PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND

SCOTT CROCKETT:ツ Thank, as always, for joining us.ツ Two shots behind at the start, two shots behind at the end.ツ Just sum up the day and the round and your position overall.
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツ I felt like not too much went well for me early on in the round.ツ Especially a poor bogey on 13.ツ 8‑under par, you're kind of trying to get to the clubhouse maybe at 8‑under par, so making a birdie at 14 was a big bonus.ツ It gave me momentum going into the last couple of holes where I felt, hey, I can turn this around and maybe get it to 10 or 11‑under.
So that was very important at that stage.ツ But as I said, I was happy for the first 13 holes, I played solid golf and hit the ball well.ツ My bogeys didn't really come off bad play so much‑‑ I was in good form in terms of my game.ツ I just wasn't really holing the putts on the greens, even though I was hitting good putts.
SCOTT CROCKETT:ツ They were testing conditions throughout.ツ Do you feel everything right across the board held up?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツ Well, we got a big shot the first couple of holes.ツ The first hole, I hit a nice approach shot and came up 45 yards short of the flag.ツ That's a long way out to carry on the wind.
Second hole, same thing, hit a very nice approach shot in there and to come up 25 yards short, you're kind of wondering what's happening.
So we didn't get settled into the round very well early on.ツ I suppose we got going a bit more in the middle, on 7, I hit a tee shot that was virtually unplayable.ツ But there wasn't much going for me early on, so 72 under the circumstances, I've got to be pleased.
SCOTT CROCKETT:ツ You've talked earlier this week about there would be nothing would be as special as winningyour first Irish Open, but this one would be up there, wouldn't it.
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツ I wouldn't say there's no way it could be as special, but with the size of the galleries; the atmosphere out here; the fact that it's so unique being in Northern Ireland after 40 years; the fact that it's on a class golf course like Royal Portrush, yeah, I think it would be a big deal winning tomorrow.

Q.ツ You spoke yesterday about probably being able to feed off the crowd.ツ I suppose the par at the last was a prime example of that?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツ Yeah, I think there was good support all the way through.ツ But I certainly felt a big lift when I birdied 14.ツ There was a definite change in the atmosphere.ツ The weather had picked up a little bit and I don't know, there might have been a change in the atmosphere but expectations went up and I was delivering those expectations.
It's nice when you have the support and it's nice when you actually deliver on it.ツ As I said yesterday, it can be tough if you're battling away and find it difficult, you can feel like you're letting people down.ツ So as I say, the last five holes were very nice.ツ Got clapped on every green, and had nice chances for birdies, as well.ツ That's a good way to have it.

Q.ツ Without demeaning the guys in front of you, you've been there and done that, going into the final day, you're in the second to last pairing, huge crowds as you said, difficult course; do you have an advantage and what will you be looking to do?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツ I hope so.ツ I'm not exactly sure of the relevant form of the guys in front of me.ツ I really don't know what their track records are, I'm not that familiar.ツ I'll be doing my thing and hoping, yeah, that‑‑ hopefully I can keep my name up on that leaderboard and that brings a bit of pressure to bear.
But as I said, I'm not 100 per cent sure how they are going to feel.ツ It's not as easy as‑‑ well, I don't have a great experience with them, all of the guys up there.ツ I'm happy to be playing with Mark Foster.ツ I know him quite well.ツ That's a good pairing for me tomorrow and I would think definitely somebody, obviously the leader, first and second, but I'll definitely be keeping an eye on Mark Foster.ツ He's got a good a chance as anybody tomorrow.ツ So it's nice to be paired up with him. ツI think that's a good match up for me.

Q.ツ Just touching on how you said that you can feel as if you're letting the home crowd down if you don't perform well for them, bearing in mind the numbers that have responded to you and the way that they havebraved this weather ‑‑
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツ They have braved the weather‑‑
Q.‑‑ do you think ‑‑ do they deserve a home winner; is that how you feel?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツ I wish it was as easy as that.

Q.ツ I just wondered, if it makes you even more determined, the fact ‑‑
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツ I would be very determined, anyway.ツ You've got to use the home crowd in your favour.ツ You've got to let them carry you when you need to be carried and don't get carried away by them.ツ Obviously don't allow yourself to be let down in any way in terms of, if you feel like you're letting them down, you have to fight that urge.ツ It has to be managed, but definitely can be a big positive.
In a perfect world, you would say that there's a home winner, but this ain't no exhibition, I can guarantee you that.ツ There's nobody going out there tomorrow thinking, oh, we'll let the Irish guy win.ツ It doesn't work like that.

Q.ツ Can you just tell us about the conditions on the 14th when you birdied that, what was it like, how close?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツ Obviously it was tough early on, but we always knew that the weather was turning in our favour but by the time we got to 12, 13, 14, even 11, it was pretty‑‑ it was decent out there.ツ It was still cold.
So I had 201 yards uphill putt, four yards up, so 205 yard shot in off the right and I hit a 3‑iron very nicely, dead straight at the flag with a little bit of cut.ツ And it just fell down to the left at the end.ツ You can hit a lot of nice 3‑irons in a given day, and the amount of them that finish pin‑high are very rare, let's say, to actually hit a 3‑iron to eight feet or so.ツ It was a big bonus for it to not come up 15 feet short or 15 feet long, and at the particular time, I had not holed a putt for a while, so it was nice to roll it in.

Q.ツ You said that you were not sure about the track records of the leaderboard, but everybody will be fighting their old demons.ツ What demons will you be fighting?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツ I haven't won in a while, either.ツ A win is a big deal for me tomorrow as much as it is a big deal for those guys.ツ So, yeah, you know, just because I've won some big events in the past, you know, I would say having played and been in contention the last couple of weeks is better for my game than having two years since I won, something like that.
So yes, I have experience of winning, and I will draw on that tomorrow.ツ But as I said, it's a big deal for me, as well, to go out there and win, so it's not going to be career‑changing in any shape or form for me, but, in terms of momentum at the moment, a win is very important for me.

Q.ツ You won a couple of Irish PGA Championships I know in this sort of weather at this time of year.ツ How important would it be win, lose or draw tomorrow going to Lytham with the way you've played these three days?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツ It's always important to, one, play well; two, get used to links golf; three, be able to battle it out in tough conditions.ツ All of those things are going to count when it comes to The Open.
The likelihood, you don't expect to get as cold or as tough of weather maybe at Lytham.ツ Lytham is actually quite a big golf course.ツ It's definitely‑‑ I've played it recently and it's a bigger course.ツ It's a different sort of golf course.
Here, it's definitely narrower here, and you don't want to get the ball going wide at all.ツ Whereas at Lytham, you probably would be better off hitting it wide than hitting a dozen fairways, because the bunkers are very penal on the edge of the fairways, you're better off in the crowd.ツ It really is a different test.ツ This is a very good test, but in general the wider you go from the fairways, the worse trouble you're going to find here.ツ It's a different test.
The key here is, I'm playing links golf here, I'm playing links golf at The Scottish Open.ツ In terms of clubbing and how the ball feels or how the club feels going through the turf and chip‑and‑runs, all that sort of stuff, you've got to play a lot of links golf in order to get familiar with that again, because you know, the sort of golf we play, especially anywhere, all the way throughout Europe, it's hit it in the air and it's much more predictable.ツ It's substantially different links golf.ツ Let's say you're hitting‑‑ certainly this week, we've hit 8‑irons 190‑something yards and then you're hitting 8‑iron 120 yards.ツ So it can change very quickly.

Q.ツ The pros and cons of a hometown crowd, can you express it in percentage terms, the benefits?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツ The benefits‑‑ the downside of a hometown crowd, actually there is no downside in the sense of, if you're not playing well, it doesn't matter.ツ You feel disappointed; you feel like you've let people down.ツ But, hey, you're not winning the tournament.
The upside is you're getting carried along and you are winning the tournament.
So even though you can have a downside, it's not really‑‑ it's like somebody, as we were discussing yesterday, chasing.ツ Well, if he doesn't play well, it doesn't matter.ツ It's not a big deal.ツ Where if somebody out in front, you can get some momentum and certainly‑‑ I would say it's only a positive in terms of trying to win a tournament, having the home crowd, no doubt about it.
So would I give it a percentage?ツ I don't know.ツ It's certainly 20 per cent, 25 per cent help on your performance.ツ It's significant.

Q.ツ As you went 2‑over through 7, how much did you begin to feel at that point, the playing six out of seven weeks, does it become a factor at that point?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツ I didn't realise I had played six out of seven, Karl.

Q.ツ Well, there you go.ツ How much does fatigue become a factor at that point?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツ There was no fatigue.ツ As I said yesterday, I have a very good monitoring system, a number of different monitoring systems to tell where my body is at.ツ None of them are showing up anything at the moment.ツ They are all saying good to go.
I will enjoy a week off next week.ツ There's no doubt about that.ツ But, you know, there was no fatigue today.ツ I was battling away.ツ It was just a tough day.ツ And to prove that there was no fatigue, I got a few bad breaks, and didn't bother me at all.ツ I was fine with that.ツ I was in a good place all day.
So, yeah, that's‑‑ if you were tired and things go against you is when you start to feel bad about it.ツ But at no stage today did I get down at myself.ツ I just said, it's a tough day and you have to keep going.

Q.ツ I think they said on television, you'll be tired tonight?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツ I do believe that after I finish yapping away here for a while, I will have a come down period where I will be tired tonight.ツ So you won't see me over beating golf balls on the range.ツ I may hit a few putts.ツ Haven't quite decided that yet.
Yeah, I definitely would see myself, I'll have a very nice sleep tonight, there's no doubt about it.ツ Yeah, I won't be tired tomorrow, though.ツ The fatigue won't be an issue tomorrow, not with the adrenaline, as well.ツ You can easily get through it.
SCOTT CROCKETT:ツ We look forward to seeing you challenge in that round of golf tomorrow.ツ Thanks very much.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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