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July 9, 2013

Padraig Harrington


Q.テつ Talk about playing in the Scottish Open with a very, very good field.
Pテδ.RAIG HARRINGTON:テつ When you think of Scotland, you think of links golf, so for me, Scottish own, ideally, would always be played on links courses.テつ Any tourist that comes to Scotland thinks they are coming to a links golf course.テつ That's what we think of Scotland.テつ That's certainly what I want to come and play on.テつ We don't get enough opportunities to come and play on links golf and this is one of the few opportunities of the year to play on a links course.
It's in superb conditions.テつ The greens, fairways, tees are immaculate out there and a really fun golf course to play.
So, yeah, I would think Aberdeen Asset Management have done a great job here.テつ I would actually say, I stay up the road and it's one of the venues of the year I would consider coming back on a holiday to.テつ Absolutely beautiful spot, and as I said, coming to play this golf course, it's a joy to play.
And links golf courses are not always a joy to play.テつ Sometimes they beat you up, and this one, as I said, has a good mixture of beautiful holes.テつ Gives you a little bit with some of the reachable par 5s.テつ You definitely get a good break here and there, and certainly asks some questions elsewhere, as well.

Q.テつ Important to be competitive the week before?
Pテδ.RAIG HARRINGTON:テつ I believe in being competitive before a Major.テつ That's certainly what helped me with my three Majors, there's no doubt you've got to get out there and get a card in your hand and iron out any kind of mental routine flaws.テつ It's not the same as having one shot or one go at it as it would be in a tournament.テつ It wouldn't be the same playing a parkland golf course the week before an Open.テつ You have to make sure you're on a similar golf course.
For us to come back to these links golf courses, even me growing up on it, the variation of shots, even though I know it, convince myself of a certain club, it's difficult.テつ I played the other night, I played Nairn the other night and I had a shot 130 yards into the wind and I'm trying to hit like a little 8‑iron in there and I'm thinking I have bundles of club.テつ Hit it lovely and hit it 105 yards.テつ It takes a lot of mental getting used to that.
Really, even though I know how to play the shots and what shots are to be played, you've got to trust it, and the more you're going to play links golf and the more you play that under a competitive situation‑‑ I'll give you an example.
I played links golf the week before I won The Open, I think the week before I on my first Open of the two Opens, 2007, at Carnoustie, it was cool and I remember hitting a 7‑iron in the week before and it went like in cold weather 139 yards, and I think‑‑ or 149 yards I think it went.テつ In the first hole of the playoff, as I stood in the fairway, an awful big rain cloud really came in and dropped the temperature down.テつ If you see, Sergio under‑clubbed by at least a club if not more, and I actually took a club more and still hit it hard to get it to pin‑high.テつ I wouldn't have known that if I had not seen similar conditions the week before.テつ And not only did I recognise it, I trusted it.
Even though I grew up as a kid for years learning these things, you kind of need reminders.

Q.テつ Mentioning weather‑‑
Pテδ.RAIG HARRINGTON:テつ Stunning.テつ It was actually too hot yesterday.テつ Ball is going a long way, kind of fiery.テつ Like a links I would have played growing up as a kid in the summer.テつ A lot of people think links golf can be miserable but if you play it in the summer, you're going to take 400‑yard drives at times and then you're going to turn around in the wind and doesn't quite go so far.
I think warm, windy weather on a links golf course allows to you manipulate the golf ball a lot so that the wind is always working for you.テつ I suppose it's a little bit like sailing, isn't it, they want wind so the better sailors would be able to use the wind going into.テつ It we are the same:テつ If you've got a good understanding of links golf, you're always using the wind to your advantage, whether it's into you or not.

Q.テつ Always a fantastic time of the year, and I just wonder what the emotions are as you sort of head into the week before the week here in links circumstances?
Pテδ.RAIG HARRINGTON:テつ I'm focused on The Scottish Open.テつ Any Open Championship is a big deal, and The Scottish Open, just like The Irish Open has a lot of heritage to it in its own right and I think anybody who wins this week is going to be pleased with themselves.
To that extent, I'm not so focused on the Open.テつ Yeah, last week I was thinking about The Open, but from now until Sunday evening, hopefully the only thing on my mind is the Scottish Open.テつ The only reason it will change to the Open is if I feel like I can't win this week.
So if I drift off the lead at some stage, yeah, I'll start hitting shots more with next week in mind but at the moment I'm going to hit the right shot for the right moment to give myself the best chance of winning The Scottish Open.

Q.テつ Of course, the point is we are on a links course this week, so you know, with The Open around the corner, that probably explains why you're here and why you weren't in places like Loch Lomond in the past?
Pテδ.RAIG HARRINGTON:テつ Well, I wouldn't be here unless it was on a links golf course.テつ There's no doubt, as much as I grew up playing links golf as a kid, you do need to re‑familiarise yourself with it.テつ I do know how to hit the shots on a links golf course, standing there with a 6‑iron from 139 yards.
Yeah, you're saying that's right, but you have to trust it, as well, and the best way to trust it is play links golf.テつ And then on top of that, play links golf in a competitive environment where you only get one go at it.テつ So there will be shots hit this week, you'll see it on TV, guys will pick the right shot; they just won't trust it and they will be kicking themselves afterwards.テつ I'd rather make that mistake this week than next week.

Q.テつ What's your feeling about the status of The Scottish Open, obviously there were comments from Graeme McDowell last week with regard to that, and there are players who aren't here that might be here.
Pテδ.RAIG HARRINGTON:テつ I would go the opposite way.テつ You know, I think anybody who thinks about playing golf in Scotland is going to think about links golf.テつ That's what Scottish golf is famous for is its links golf courses.テつ We can play‑‑ and Loch Lomond was a great event.テつ I wouldn't take anything away from that and I wouldn't take anything away from Barclays who run a great event, as well.
I think Aberdeen Asset Management are doing a tremendous job for golf in Scotland and they do a great job for this event.テつ Golf in Scotland, every country in the world is the envy of the Scottish Golf Union with the support they are getting from Aberdeen Asset Management.テつ Every pro in the world is wishing that they had a company like that in their country that would blanketly support golf the way they do.
So I think Aberdeen Asset Management, they are committed for the long run at grass roots all the way to the top end and they do a great job here, and at this event in particular.テつ You've got a great golf course here.テつ It's one of the few places I stay up in the lodge here up beside Loch Ness, and I'd actually come back on holiday here, that's how much I like it here.テつ Great place and town, Inverness.テつ What's not to like about the event here?テつ And it's unique.
No matter what you say, this is unique now that it's on a links golf course.テつ It's the only European Tour event on a links course.テつ You can see The Open every year, but this is the only regular event on a links golf courses and as much as I would never take away from parkland golf courses, because I particularly like them, still, we are familiar with that.テつ This is completely different.テつ It's a great warm‑up for next week, yes, but in its own right, it's a great tournament.

Q.テつ Is there scope for almost a links festival on The European Tour, say, having The Irish Open a week before on a links course, and offer the players who like to take a week off before the week off a bit of that; would it bring more big names to the Tour if you did that kind of scheduling?
Pテδ.RAIG HARRINGTON:テつ All players are different.テつ I can't understand why anybody wouldn't want to play a links tournament before they go and play The Open if they want to try and win The Open.テつ Outside of that, can we always play a links event, like, say, at The Irish Open?テつ Well, you need the commitment of a great sponsor.
Aberdeen Asset Management are the one who are saying, yeah, we are going to play on a links golf course.テつ They are the ones who are financially supporting it so that we don't have to go to a parkland golf course who is prepared to put something into the purse.テつ Essentially they are covering it.
So, yeah, if there was an unlimited support in Ireland, the purse, we probably would be playing links every time, but we go to a parkland golf course every so often, purely based on a financial‑‑ to make it work.テつ We don't have the luxury The Scottish Open has with a great sponsor like Aberdeen Asset Management.

Q.テつ Know what it takes to win an Open Championship.テつ At what point in the build up or during an Open do you get a realisation that you can contend that you can challenge and potentially win?
Pテδ.RAIG HARRINGTON:テつ Sunday night here.テつ If I finish up here Sunday night, content with my game, I know I can win next week.テつ The last thing I want to be doing is walking away from this tournament trying to find something on Monday morning.
You don't want to go through a Major trying to find it.テつ It has been done, but it's very rare that you go turn up at a Major tournament and find it.テつ You're all about getting your preparation done and be content leading the tournament the week before.テつ And as I said, for me, playing a competitive tournament is the only way I can get a good indicator of the state of my game.

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