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August 13, 2013

Padraig Harrington


MARK STEVENS:  I'd like to welcome Padraig Harrington.  Padraig, you just got done playing, I think, nine holes.  If you want to kind of talk about the course conditions and then we'll have some questions.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON:  The golf course is in great condition.  It's beautifully set up.  The greens are quite fast, to be honest, and undulating, so a lot of the difficulty is getting yourself in position on the greens, and by necessity then you have to be in position on the fairway to get into position on the greens.  So it's a lot about strategy, what pins to go at, making sure you don't short side yourself because of the speed of the greens and the undulation.
So yeah, it's really a testing golf course, you know, mentally.
MARK STEVENS:  Also, you're number 129 on the FedExCup points.  You've never missed a PLAYOFF.  You want to kind of talk about your thoughts coming into the week?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON:  Yeah.  Let's see.  I think I need to have a good week.  In my head I'm certainly ‑‑ I'm thinking Top‑25 should be good enough, without leaving it up to anybody else should have much of an effect of me.  So that's the goal.  Well, the goal is to go out there and win, and if I can't win obviously finish in Top‑25 and give myself a chance of playing in the first FedExCup event and trying to move on from there.
MARK STEVENS:  Questions.

Q.  Is it kind of irritating that you're not already in the mix or how do you feel about that?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON:  Well, you know, it's been a strange year for me.  That's the way I look at it.  I'm quite happy with my game now, where it's at, where it's going, and I've got a lot of expectations to manage actually, which is strange when you haven't had a ‑‑ you know, when you are outside the sort of cut line.
And so yeah, it's just been an odd year.  I haven't really scored very well.  You know, I can't put everything together in a given week.  So you kind of have to have patience and accept that this is going to happen every so often and try and be patient to wait for it to turn around, and hopefully, as I said, hopefully turns around this week and we move on from there.
But to be honest, I'm very happy with the state of my game at the moment and where it's going, and if it doesn't happen this week, I'm sure it will happen over the next number of weeks.

Q.  You've returned here to Sedgefield Country Club several times now in the past.  I know you've talked about making this sort of a family vacation for the rest of your family while dad's working.  Is that sort of the case this year, and if so, where do you like to go?  What does your family like to do while they're in the area?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON:  Yeah.  As you said, my family are here.  They've gone ‑‑ they mostly go, my two young kids, so it's the water park, to be honest.  I'm being heavily pressurized by the five‑year‑old to go to the water park after my early tee time this week, so doesn't quite tie in very well with trying to perform well this week, so there might have to be some tradeoff during the week.
But no, my family do enjoy it here.  They find both Carolinas very nice.  We've always enjoyed coming down here and we like the weather hot.  So we've no problem with the heat, and as I said, we just seem to have a good time and enjoy the general area.

Q.  A couple of years ago when you came here trying to advance in the PLAYOFFS, did you learn anything?  Was it less pressure, more pressure than you thought it would be?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON:  I have to say, though, it's not really a pressure.  It's certainly ‑‑ there's certainly a distraction in it.  There's a lot of thinking and talking and what's this, what you need to do, and you know, if anything, you kind of prepare for this week very much as an isolated week.
So all the work I do this week, it really isn't to be playing well next Monday.  It's to be playing well this week, whereas at most regular events as much as you're trying to play that well that week you're always trying to get your game ready going forward, whereas this week has a finite end to it.  If I don't play well this week, it's the end of the season for me over here.
So yeah, there is a different sort of feel to it in that sense, and your preparation is different.  And yeah, it's definitely a distraction in it, and yeah, maybe on Sunday if I'm right in the bubble coming down the stretch, yeah ‑‑ and you wouldn't want to be ‑‑ you know, starting off as well on Thursday you could be a little bit cautious because you're trying not to play your way out of anything at the start.
So those are two points in the week that things will differ, the very start of the tournament and maybe on Sunday if, you know, hopefully you've got a lead on Sunday and you're not worried about finishing Top‑25 and you've got other problems.
But if you are kind of on that bubble, yes, you will be looking around you and it will bring a little bit of caution into your game and you will question the odd decision out on the golf course for sure.

Q.  You remain the last golfer to win back‑to‑back majors.  I'm sure a lot of people were expecting Rory McIlroy might pick up that slack not too long ago when he sort of burst onto the scene.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON:  He's done pretty well now.  He's won two majors before he's 23 years of age.  That's a pretty hot pace he's keeping there.

Q.  Can you just sort of talk about where the sport stands right now with respect to its superstars?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON:  You want to talk about me?  You know, we're all delighted to see Tiger back on one side and looking forward to playing well so you can compete with him.  And there's no doubt Tiger is a world superstar in sport, which is great that he's playing golf because you know, probably got the most recognized figure in sport playing our game.  So that's very important that he's in top form.
You know, Phil, it's great to see him playing great.  They're the two biggest draws in golf, no question about it.  And then you've got lots of young guns, Rory being the stand out figure having won two majors, you know, he's right there at the top of the pile and has a great future ahead of him, has a great career already in two majors, but you know, being so young, there's obviously going to be plenty more majors in him.
So you really have a very healthy sport in terms of the players.  And lots of good players behind them and lots of young kids getting into the game, so yeah, I see ‑‑ in terms of playing ability, yeah, the game is very healthy, for sure.

Q.  Do you know much about Jordan Spieth's game?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON:  I haven't played with him yet.  I only know from what I've seen at events.  And obviously there's a lot of class players who come out of college golf.  There's a lot of class players who come to the U. S. tour from around the world.  The hardest thing is to get out on TOUR and become comfortable, and Jordan Spieth has done that exceptionally well.  He now knows he belongs out here and because of that he will have a great career because of it.
I've seen a lot of good players come out here on the TOUR, really, really does ‑‑ it eats them up.  As good as they are, and we see them on the range and we go, I'd love to hit the golf ball like that guy or that kid or whatever, and six months later he's struggling for his card and he's gone off the TOUR.  The TOUR kind of does that to talented young players.  It's not a great place to learn your trade.
On the other hand, though, if you can get out here and get comfortable like Jordan Spieth, it's the place you want to be, and by him doing that, you know, he feels like he belongs and he will have a long, sterling career because of that.

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