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May 9, 2013

Padraig Harrington


Q.  Well played, 68.  What pleased you the most today about that opening round?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON:  Obviously, holed lots of putts, so that was pleasing.  Yeah, I think that's about it.  I hit plenty of fairways and holed lots of putts, that's a pretty decent combination around this course.

Q.  We spoke earlier in the week about the mechanics of the belly putter.  You said you were really happy with that, but you said the feel was a little off last week.  How much more comfortable did you feel with it today?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON:  Yeah, well, I had it adjusted so it sat better.  Yeah, if it went like today every day, it would be fine.  There is no doubt about it.  I'm getting there.  I'm getting there.

Q.  Remind viewers why the switch, and will you stick with it?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON:  Well, I'll only stick with it if I'm holing putts.  As I said, I've been working on my putt and I haven't been putting very well, and mechanically, I've been working away.  And I had a look at my stroke, and I had it analyzed.  And I was kind of bored, so I picked up a belly putter and tried that.  I was surprised, as much as I don't like the feel of the belly putter, I was surprised that the stroke was actually better.  So it just means that it's easier to have a good putting stroke, so, okay, I don't have to feel so‑‑ it's just a question of feeling it, using it, practicing and getting to trust it like I have with my own putter for a long period of time, and it should mean an improvement.

Q.  You had elation and frustration in back‑to‑back holes.  You had a little bit of a roller coaster run out there?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON:  Yeah, I obviously started very nicely, eagling the second and thought things were good.  Then the wind switched‑‑ I hit a bad shot on the next hole, but the wind switched.  I thought it was down off the left, but I was fearing losing it right and I pulled it, and then it went left on the wind, which was the shot was certainly a bogey shot, but a double bogey was a little bit painful.  But thankfully I hit it a stone on the next hole which got me back on the birdie track.
It's kind of important on a windy day to be under par.  If you're 1 or 2 over par, you're wondering where you're getting your birdies to get back into it.  Whereas, if you're 1- or 2‑under, you feel like you have something in the bank and it generally leads to you maybe getting to 3- or 4‑under.

Q.  As you mature, is it easier or harder to have patience?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON:  That's a polite way of saying you're getting old.  I don't necessarily see very many guys' personalities changing out here, so I think if you've got patience when you're younger, you'll have patience when you're older, and it kind of sticks with guys.  Guys find it hard to change who they are.

Q.  You know what that is, that's wisdom with age right there.  Tell me about the belly putter, 25 putts in this opening round.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON:  25 putts, but there were some good putts in it too.  No point‑‑ numbers aren't always the important thing.  It's holing the right putt at the right time.  Yeah, I've putted well with it today.  I holed a few shortish ones early on that were important, and that gives you a little bit more confidence when you're standing over a 20‑footer and you're not necessarily worried about the three‑footer coming back.

Q.  Did you make some adjustments with it following the first week?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON:  Yeah, it didn't sit perfect.  I kind of knew it going into it, and I kind of stuck with it.  Yeah, I should have changed it.  My old putter the grip is a fraction open on it, and this putter was built square, and it was just too square for me.

Q.  Does that go down as a fine day's work?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON:  Oh, absolutely.  Going out there you see the low scoring in the morning, and obviously the wind got up straightaway for us, so we weren't feeling very good going out.  We were feeling a little hard done by it.  And always when you're playing in the wind the biggest key is to get yourself‑‑ if you can get yourself under par, you feel comfortable and you generally move more under par.  If you're 1‑over par or even level par, you're wondering whether you're going to make a score.  Then you put yourself under a little pressure, and all of a sudden you're shooting 3 and 4 over.
That's what tends to happen on a windy afternoon; guys kind of split.  They either do okay and the wind doesn't affect them so much, or else they get a little caught up by the wind and you see a good few three 4‑overs and a good few 3‑unders.

Q.  How were you feeling on the 6th tee after was an extraordinary start to your round?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON:  I wasn't feeling too bad.  I had hit some nice shots up to that stage.  I kind of got a little bit unlucky with the wind.  I hit a bad tee shot, but got unlucky with the wind.  It switched on 3, and it was a bad double bogey.  Nice to make a birdie.  I played 5 well, so that wasn't so bad.
You know, I really didn't think it was so erratic, because I had hit the ball nicely, and the scoring was erratic, but I hit the ball reasonably consistently for those five holes.  So I was in a decent place, but it was very important to get that birdie on 9 to get me under par.  That was a big birdie.

Q.  Belly putter worked for you nicely today.  Kept the momentum going?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON:  Yeah, I holed putts at the right time.  I holed some par putts, holed some birdie putts and holed some short putts as well.  So all the way through, if I'm putting like that every day, sure, wouldn't life be great?  At least for me.

Q.  You're probably sick of talking about it, but it does raise eyebrows you going to the belly putter.  Clearly today it worked very nice?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON:  I can't understand why it would raise eyebrows.

Q.  Just in as much as you've made comments in the past about the rulings and urging the R&A to outlaw it, I guess.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON:  Yeah, but that's part of the rules.  I said if I hit it in the middle of a bush and I was getting relief from a rabbit's hole, that's fair enough.  I don't deserve it, but if I can hit that shot or a cart path or whatever it is, you get relief.  And the belly putter is within the rules and certainly I've never suggested anything else.
I believe it's very similar to that boxed grooves rule in that it's for the betterment of the game that we get rid of it.  It's not necessarily for the betterment of some players, and it's not great for some individuals, but it's for the good of the game, and I still stand for that.  Three‑and‑a‑half years is a long time, and there are 15 majors between now and then.  If I putt better with the belly putter, just like the boxed grooves, I'll be right on the edge of the rules and within the rules and when it changes, we'll have to find a new way of doing it.

Q.  Final thought, it gives you a nice platform now heading into the rest of the tournament?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON:  Yeah, absolutely.  As I said, it's a tough day to go out there in the wind when the guys have got it very easy this morning.  In nice, calm weather, those pin positions were very easy, lots of balls out there.  Obviously, in the windy weather we weren't feeling very good about it in the afternoon.  Thankfully, I've got scored on, and hopefully we'll go forward in the morning.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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