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August 23, 2012

Padraig Harrington


LAURA HILL:  We'd like to welcome Padraig Harrington to the interview room.  Padraig currently ranked 62nd in the FedExCup standings.  Super strong start with a 64 today, including a 29 on the back nine.  Maybe just some overall thoughts on your round and getting off to such a good start today.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON:  Yeah, obviously particularly happy to shoot 64 around Bethpage.
I think the biggest difficulty‑‑ maybe not the difficulty but the most interesting thing was it's very hard to go out and play this course without thinking you're playing a U.S. Open.¬† Certainly early on in my round I was making pars and very happy.¬† Troy Matteson I was playing with made a birdie and an eagle early on, and it definitely helped me cross that divide between thinking I'm at a U.S. Open and level par is going to be the winning total this week, whereas this is much more of a sprint.¬† It's the FedEx Playoffs.¬† You're going to need to be 12‑under par at the end of the week, or who knows, but it ain't going to be level par.
So changing that mindset certainly helped with my playing partners and certainly helped with Troy.  Obviously I got a nice run on the back nine.  I hit a couple of shots close on 11, 12 and 13, which gave me great momentum, and I putted nicely all the way through my round.  I think I only missed one fairway, one green sort of thing, so I gave myself lots of chances.
But probably I've been playing well for quite a while, but this is the best I've putted, the best I've struck my putts, the best I've rolled the ball for a long period of time.

Q.¬† We had some players in here yesterday, and a lot of them had the same mindset, that the course was very hard, that a 1‑under, 2‑under could win the tournament, something like that.¬† Did you have that same type of mindset, or did you expect‑‑
PADRAIG HARRINGTON:¬† No.¬† I knew the golf course was tough, there's no doubt.¬† It's a big golf course.¬† But you know as it gets into the tournament the golf courses never play quite as tough as the players will tell you it is on a Wednesday.¬† We tend to like to‑‑ we like to overplay it a bit before the tournament starts.
But the fact‑‑ you know level par going into the U.S. Open, the rough isn't as heavy here, so you've got to think it's going to be‑‑ and the pressure isn't the same, so you've got to think it's going to be more under par, more players are going to challenge.¬† And at a major there's a lot of players once they get up there they're going to come back, whereas at a FedEx Playoff they're prepared to keep moving forward.
As much as walking onto the golf course I definitely‑‑ my mindset was level par, I was trying to get away from that and trying to think 12‑under par.

Q.¬† If you win this week everything will be sort of resolved for the Ryder Cup‑‑
PADRAIG HARRINGTON:  How do you make that out?

Q.  Is that not true?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON:  This week doesn't count.

Q.¬† Are you relying on a pick for‑‑
PADRAIG HARRINGTON:¬† I can't make‑‑ there's no possible way I can make it in on the rankings.¬† This doesn't count in terms of rankings.¬† If I won this week there would be enough points that I would have automatically got in, but it doesn't count for points.

Q.  Then how would you characterize your relationship with José María?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON:  You know, I don't know where I sit.  Or maybe I do.  (Laughter.)
I kind of feel it's not something‑‑ I'm not really going to get into and discuss because I'm either going to do one of two things:¬† I'm either going to look like I'm pleading or I'm going to look like I'm incriminating myself, one or the other.¬† As I keep saying to people, you over here have this thing called the Fifth.¬† I'm going to plead the Fifth.¬† I'm not going to build myself up or I'm not going to tear myself down.¬† At the end of the day, it's up to him.

Q.  At the risk of getting a pleading the Fifth for a third time, do you really in your heart believe that an incident that occurred nine years ago would keep you off the Ryder Cup team?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON:  You really have done your homework.  (Laughter.)
You know, I was very supportive of Jos√© when he got the captaincy.¬† I truly believe that he's interested in winning the Ryder Cup.¬† And I know in my own situation, I'd be putting ‑‑ I do believe Jos√© would do this.¬† From the character that he is, I believe he would put winning way above anything that's personal.
The Ryder Cup means so much to Europe, particularly to José as a European player.  Nobody, bar Seve, would understand in his mind what it means to Europe.
Winning is what's important to him.¬† I can't see that being‑‑ I think he'd pick‑‑ to get a winning team, I can't see personal coming into it to get a winning team, no.¬† Why am I talking about it?¬† There you go.
It's just a tough subject obviously.¬† As I said, any time you ever see anybody else in similar situations, half the people come out and say, he's trying too hard to get a pick, and the other half are saying, he's not trying hard enough.¬† It's a no‑win situation.¬† At the end of the day, it comes down to what happens.
As regards my golf, I'm happy I'm playing well.¬† That's all I can do.¬† I've played well all year solid, and I'm happy that I seem to have something going and my putting going that's bringing me back to where I've been.¬† I'm happy.¬† What more can I ask for?¬† I might be happier but‑‑ don't say things like that.

Q.  Could you imagine a situation where you won and you weren't picked?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON:  You know, I know we're getting a lot of questions on this, and I shot 64 today and I hit some nice shots.  We're talking about the wrong stuff.
But I'm Irish, and being brought up in Ireland, we have a lot of‑‑ we pay a lot of attention to bookmakers and their odds, and I'm sure if I went and had a look at the odds, I would be a longshot to make the team.

Q.  Why is that?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON:¬† I don't want to know what I am, but anybody who‑‑ there's no point in asking me the question.¬† There's more people out there who pay more attention to stuff than I do.¬† I don't really know what's going on.
As I said, I'm in a terrible place.¬† As I said, I definitely‑‑ the last time around, I got the benefit of the doubt.¬† Myself and Paul Casey, Monty could have picked either of us, and he went with me.
See, every time I talk about this, I'm playing it down.
Look, it's a tough situation I'm in.¬† I didn't play enough‑‑ not playing in the bigger events outside of those four majors hurt my cause.¬† Not doing anything‑‑ playing solid but‑‑ that's the way it is.¬† Look, at the end of the day, we'll see how we get on this week.¬† I'm going to keep playing well and see what happens.¬† I'd dearly love to play in the Ryder Cup.¬† I've played four out of six Ryder Cups.¬† See, I'm starting to plead now.
LAURA HILL:  Want me to say 'next question'?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON:  Next question, please.

Q.  Would you say it's a motivating factor for you right now?  You are playing pretty well.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON:  You know, there's a lot going on.  This is the FedExCup, and that's serious motivation.  I would be a liar to tell you that I'm not thinking about the Ryder Cup.  I thought about it too much at the PGA for sure, PGA Championship.  I think I've had a little bit of clarity since the PGA and certainly I've had a better ability to do my own thing this week.  Obviously I'm sitting in here after shooting 64 around Bethpage leading the tournament, and we're spending 90 percent talking about it.  It's hard to get away from the Ryder Cup, there's no doubt about it.
Guys in the U.S., you can't understand‑‑ overestimate how big a deal it is in Europe, the Ryder Cup.¬† It's very important.
Let's talk about that another time.  It's just a big, big deal.

Q.  Obviously you've won at Westchester, played well at Liberty National.  Is there something about playing here in the New York area that you enjoy?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON:¬† Obviously there's huge support here from Irish Americans that live here.¬† I think I get generous support from American people anyway.¬† The New York crowds seem to get on well with me.¬† So yeah, I get a lot of support here, and I really enjoy playing in New York.¬† You've got to remember, this is not far off the closest place I can play to nearly home.¬† It's only a five‑hour flight home.¬† It's pretty close, as close as you're going to get for me.
LAURA HILL:  Padraig, thanks for your time.

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