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THE IRISH OPEN


June 25, 2013


Padraig Harrington


KILDARE, IRELAND

Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツ I played eight holes today and I really like the golf course the way the golf course is set up.ツ The course is very playable out there and scoring should be better than it was the last time.ツ I think it really is a course you'll see a lot of players coming off with a smile on their face.ツ It's quite a joy to play it.ツ It's in great condition.
Greens are super.ツ I know some of the European players have said it's the best they have seen this year, so generally it's going to be a very popular week.ツ Put a new hotel on site which takes a lot of stress off players when we get to stay on site, so it looks like it's going to be a really good week.
STEVE TODD:ツ Your form and chances this week?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツ Certainly all part of my game have been good at times this year.ツ I need to putt them all together in one week or one time for four days.ツ If I do that, obviously I have a great chance of winning.
You know, they don't all quite fall into place and try to give myself some chance of winning on Sunday, but that's the main thing is to be in contention with nine holes to go.ツ You never really know when you can get that feeling with nine holes to go, a bit of pressure, it really can keep the focus in and that's where you want to be.
It can happen this week, that's for sure.ツ I'm certainly focused on this week and there's going like a bad round as I did on Sunday to motivate you for the next week.

Q.ツ You've won an Irish Open, you contended very seriously at Killarney and you had a good run at it last year.ツ This is a big event for you; what would it mean this week to win?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツ There's no doubt winning my first Irish Open was an incredible big deal for me. ツAt the time it was the biggest tournament I won in golf.ツ I always said it was my fifth major.
Having won in Dubai, certainly it makes life a lot easier when it comes to the Irish Open and I'm not as stressed about this event.ツ I don't feel like‑‑ it would be very disappointing on my career if I never got an Irish Open on my C.V.ツ Having done it, certainly I'm not anxious to win again but winning an Irish Open would be very sweet, there's no doubt about it.
I think it certainly calls for a nice celebration on Sunday night if I did win.ツ I think it would be one of those‑‑ the win in 2007 was quite pivotal in moving me forward in my career and I think at this moment, I'm looking for that upswing again.
These things do have‑‑ momentum is very important and it does go in ebbs and flows, so I'm looking for that kick start, and a win this week could be that again.ツ It is tough to win your National Open; there is a lot of‑‑ all the Irish guys who play this event with similar feelings to a major tournament, a lot of pressure and stress, and there will be another 135 non‑Irish people here who will be treating it as a regular event and be under a lot less pressure than the home guys.
It's tougher for a home guy to win his National Open.ツ Obviously myself and Shane, we are the only ones to have done it‑‑ John O'Leary won itin '82; yeah, it is tough to win it, no doubt about it.
But there's a bunch of us there and there's a lot of good players at the moment and it will be possible.

Q.ツ You've been sort of an official ambassador to The Irish Open, and without a sponsor, it feels healthy at the moment; do you feel a part of that?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツ I've worked behind the scenes to try to find a sponsor and I've got one up my sleeve at the moment that hopefully might follow through next year, very good potential, so that's something to look forward to to see if we can get that over the line.
But yeah, The Irish Open, it's probably the best‑‑ I think, personally, it's probably the best sponsorship on the Tour.ツ You're getting a tournament that gets massive coverage around the world.ツ You're getting a tournament that is getting a huge gallery that turns up.ツ You're getting a championship that's being played with great heritage for a number of years.ツ You're guaranteed four of the current Major winners in golf.
So essentially this is probably one of the cheapest marketing/advertising spends there could be in golf, especially with a number of supporting sponsors that are in it.
So the fact that the spectators turn up, the fans turn up, has guaranteed the event over the last couple of years, and I think you will see in the next couple years that somebody will recognise that; that you're getting these great crowds turning out, you're getting great atmosphere and you're getting a great event and massive coverage around the world, Golf Channel in the States and whatnot.
So yeah, I think we have survived a few bad years and the future looks bright.ツ But, I'm sure we do need a sponsor, a title sponsor to come on, there's no doubt about it, but obviously times are easier to find that going forward.
Like I said, it has to be the most value for money you can get when it comes to marketing dollars.ツ I know every marketing budget has to be compared to what they are getting‑‑ this, that and the other, but this has to be really good advertising when you look at the event, who wouldn't want to bring their corporate sign here; who wouldn't want their name going up around the world on a beautiful, scenic‑looking event like this is going to be.ツ There's going to be a great feel about this tournament this week, especially if the weather forecast is obviously pretty good.
So I think the event itself will sell itself very nicely by the end of the week, but yeah, going forward, we do need a title sponsor, no doubt about it.ツ As I said, I continually work to keep my eye out there, and I have a good‑‑ I have one good one going at the moment, and you never know, we might see it get across the line for next year.

Q.ツ Can you give us a sense, multinational company?
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツ It's very, very early.ツ You know, in general, I meet people around who obviously are involved in golf and I often say, you know, if you're looking for something, the best value has got to be The Irish Open.
Like when you're getting coverage in Golf Channel in the States, you're getting Asia, you're getting South Africa, Europe, the U.K., there's massive coverage around the world.ツ It looks really nice on TV.ツ You've got some of the best players in the world playing and you're guaranteed those players; virtually guaranteed them, anyway.ツ You're guaranteed me, anyway.ツ If I put myself in that category.
It is a big event that for an advertising sponsor, it could be good value for money.

Q.ツ (Inaudible.)
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツ I putted very well in the first couple of rounds, which is nice, too, and I'm happy about that, but I didn't‑‑ as the two 66s would have led you to believe.
As it turned out on the weekend, I played similar enough and didn't putt as well, especially on Sunday, I struggled on the greens.ツ I think I needed the putter 37 times on Sunday, which, you don't want to be living on your putter.ツ You know, it's nice to putt well and it's nice to know you have it there, but it's the old story, you know, straight pars ‑‑ inaudible ‑‑ and I felt a little bit like that on Friday evening.
When you're playing well, you come in feeling like you should have shot 70 and you shot 68, and when you feel badly you come in feeling like you should have shot 70 and you shoot 72.ツ Certainly those 66s were a couple of shots lower.ツ Like I birdied three of my last four holes to shoot 66, holing three big putts on 15, 16, 17.
Another day, I would have parred those three holes and shot 1‑under par and be thinking, wow, I'm on the cut line here, I should be careful the next day.ツ The next day, hit it out of bounds in that round, as well.ツ The second 66, I have no idea how I shot that 66, I forgot.
But I just know I wasn't like‑‑ yeah, I wasn't 100 per cent.ツ I had a strange week last week.ツ I never hit the ball into a good position off the tee‑‑ bar the last tee shot of the week, like I would have been better off, like I hit fairways at times but I just didn't get it to, wow, that was in A1 position.ツ And they were tough pin positions.ツ I just wasn't in position all the time.ツ They were tough pin positions if you were out and struggling.
Certainly Sunday, the way I read the greens, I felt like I was tired, but who knows, I'm not 100 per cent sure.

Q.ツ Looking at how you putted coming up to the U.S. Open, you seemed to be developing a new confidence in this belly putter of yours; is it something that you can‑‑
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツ Well, the putting break down, Sunday, I struggled to read the greens.ツ The greens were very yellow, really yellow and it was really, really difficult to pick up.ツ I struggled with the greens and I struggled to find the intermediate targets and those intermediate targets, I just lost my perception and was getting all distracted by it.ツ It was still a tough day.
There's no doubt that happens all the time and you work through it, but if not, I would have said it was happening two out of three every week weeks last year, and it's happened to me two or three times this year.ツ So it's not something, I'm not as worried about it as I was last year.ツ I was really struggling before.
Before I started wearing the glasses and doing the eye exercises it was happening regularly and now it's not happening that often at all.ツ I've got to assume that the work I've been doing behind the scenes has been helping with the reading of the greens and stuff like that.ツ I put it down to a tough day on the greens.ツ It was bright all last week‑‑ it was a tough week on the eyes.ツ It was hard and the colour of the greens were really, really difficult to pick up spots and things like that.

Q.ツ Paul was saying that he never sees Rory as somebody that would be a Faldo, a steady performer; that he will have highs and lows in his dynasty forevermore.
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツ You know, it's certainly‑‑ how will I put this.ツ It looks like that.ツ If he embraces that, I think there will be less of the lows and more of the consistent highs.ツ The more he fights that, the more there will be the highs and lows.
But Rory is‑‑ the great thing about Rory, he's only ever one golf shot away from playing great.ツ You know, he's proved that numerous times in his short career.ツ You only have to think back to Wachovia, the one that he won, he was missing the cut and very down about his game and finished eagle, birdie, par to make the cut and went on to win it and obviously never looked back.
But he's had different periods like that, and as long as Rory understands that and accepts that, he actually has‑‑ the more he fights against it, the more he looks for consistency, the harder it is to get it.ツ I know I said it before; consistency is highly overrated in this game.
And if anybody thinks Faldo was consistent, too, he was known as the man for consistency; would probably go look at his career, and he wasn't.ツ He won six Majors in probably '79 to '93, was '93 his last one?ツ I know he played from '75‑‑ so it took him 15 years to win six Majors.ツ So it's not like that was‑‑ people label him as a consistent player and Rory would never be in that category of wanting to be like that; it's the last thing he wants to be is consistent.
All he has to do is embrace that the highs will be very high and not worry about the lows.ツ Yeah, embrace it and accept it.ツ It will make for a lot less stress in between.ツ But in the end of the day, and this is the absolute hundred per cent thing guaranteed, at the end of the year, players only remember how many tournaments you've won.ツ You don't remember how many cuts you've made.ツ And with Rory having won two Majors, he's in no shape or form counting finishing Top‑5 or Top‑10 in a major; it means nothing.ツ
So as much as, I kind of explain it like this:ツ You can have a player who could win 50 tournaments in his career.ツ That would be a lot of tournaments.ツ So some day in his career he would walk off his career, he would be ecstatic.ツ But if he doesn't have a major, he would always feel like there's something wanting.ツ Whereas you some players that have won one major tournament and very few else, he will have less Sundays on his playing career when he feels satisfied.ツ But when he finishes his career, he'll have lifelong satisfaction.
So the short ‑term stuff of not winning on a Sunday, it's a point and we all want to play well and we all like‑‑ again here is another analogy to it.ツ I went out on Sunday last week and I had a vague chance, I could have got to 12‑under par.ツ So I shoot a bad score.ツ I leave dejected.
Another guy goes out there and he shoots 5‑ or 6‑under par to finish Top‑10 and he's elated.ツ That guy never had a chance of winning the tournament.ツ So he's leaving the tournament feeling‑‑ he's satisfied and the other guy has lost‑‑ maybe the guy finished 10‑under, like almost feeling terrible, he had a winning but in the end of the day it almost was a better week.
Rory has to accept that; just wait for the good weeks.ツ How many people would love to be able to say that, if I play well, I'm going to win.ツ Most people think I've got to play well and get the breaks to win.ツ But Rory has to be in the situation, all he has to do is play well, not get any bad breaks and he'll win.
Certainly that comes obviously with maturity and he's pretty experienced as it is at the moment, because over time, I think he knows already; I don't think we need to be telling him anything.ツ I'm certainly not telling him anything in what I'm saying here.ツ I do believe he realises that he's not mediocre in any shape or form and that's why he never plays mediocre.ツ He either plays great or he doesn't.

Q.ツ Your thoughts about Kevin Phelan.
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツ I played with him when he qualified for the U.S. Open‑‑ saw him there last U.S. Open, played a practice round in Ireland before and played a few holes with him today.ツ He's a lovely player and he understands who he is and what he does.
He's got a very good head on his shoulders and he's not a power player, which most of the guys coming out these days are power players who can really hit the golf ball but don't know how to play the game where Kevin seems to have his head screwed on and knows how to play his game, what suits him and who he is and not get distracted by other people.
Probably if you went straight down professional golfer, there are 80 per cent of professional golfers who play successfully as pros know what they are doing and 20per cent are just exceptionally talented and don't know what they are doing, but they are just really talented.ツ I put Kevin into the group that has it well figured out who he is and those are the sort of guys that get out on Tour and sustain themselves on Tour.
We see so many young guys coming out on Tour, who I've seen them for years and come out and go, wow, love to hit the golf ball like that; look at that guy, what a swing, and six months later, they are gone.ツ The Tour tends to eat these guys up, burn them out and they get really churned out on professional golfer, where the guys who can survive on Tour have self‑belief in what they are doing.
From what I've seen from Kevin, I believe he's quietly confident in what he does.ツ He understands how he plays the game.ツ He's not trying to be anybody else, and that's all the hallmarks of somebody who will have a successful career.ツ He certainly isn't‑‑ it's not all show.ツ He certainly performs, and making the cut in the U.S. Open as an amateur, he will tell you it does‑‑ maybe because he had a go before and he realised how badly wrong he got it; five years ago he qualified?ツ So how badly wrong he got it there, he realised and he got it right this time around.ツ Definitely a player, it's great to understand who you are and that's probably the most important thing to being a professional golfer.

Q.ツ (Inaudible.)
Pテ.RAIG HARRINGTON:ツ Look, in perfect world, I want to be consistent.ツ I guaranteed if I got consistency, I would hate it, because I'm not consistently going to win every week.ツ That's been proved; it's impossible.ツ I practice to have consistency.ツ I practice to have the capability.ツ It really is not what we want.
We want to have greatness, erratic‑‑ well, as often as possible, but to have that greatness; to have a peak, that's essentially what we're looking for.ツ We are not looking for steady.ツ If you want to look at that, look at the guys who lead greens in regulation and fairways in regulation over the last ten years.ツ They are not the elite players in the game.ツ So you want a little bit of the erratic genius in your game and a little bit of peaks and troughs and hopefully it evens out over time.
But, we have to work on trying to make our game more consistent for whatever reason, but in order that the peaks do happen more often.ツ It is a strange one, because you want consistency in maybe your goal keeper or defender but not when you have 156 guys, because you've got to be special to win.
You've got to have a special week to win on Tour and that doesn't come with‑‑ yeah, Top‑10, making cuts, that's consistent, but my career and Rory's career and many careers won't be marked by, he finished Top‑10.ツ They are nice when you have them but they are long forgotten pretty quickly afterward.
STEVE TODD:ツ Thanks for joining us and best of luck this week.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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